AGUA DE VALENCIA – A sunny cocktail

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Agua de Valencia will forever be synonymous with sunny warm weather, the sea, a burlesque café in the laid back beautiful old town of Valencia and sweet sunriped Valencian oranges! It is the perfect cocktail to drink in the late afternoon to cool down the heat and start a romantic evening. It is the signature cocktail of Valencia, invented in café Madrid, a café already shut down when we visited.

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Valencia seemed an unlikely choice for a city trip to Spain. Many prefer Madrid or Barcelona, but those last two where already off our bucket list. Many who had visited Valencia praised it as a beautiful city, with a very lively atmosphere, not too touristy yet, great food, drinks and parties, and with all the advantages of Madrid and Barcelona, but without the tourists!

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We first tasted agua de Valencia in Café de las Horas in Calle de conde Almodovar, a small street that comes on to the square with the Basilica. The café is decorated in a great burlesque boudoir style, which gives the place a warm atmosphere.

The agua de Valencia in cafe de las Horas is ‘to die for’. We tried other places, but this is by far the best place to drink Valencia’s famous cocktail. Freshly squeezed orange juice is a must, so please only drink it only if they use fresh juice, in all other cases keep your money in your wallet!

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Once home we decided we should try to make it ourselves, since it would be the perfect cocktail to drink on a on a sunny day in our garden.

After looking up the recipe, and trying it out, we adapted it a bit. The oranges in Belgium or not as sweet as those in Valencia, so it needs a bit more juice and sugar. The quality of the cava is very important and should be rather sweet than dry.

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Ingredients:

300ml freshly pressed orange juice

50ml Gin

50ml Vodka

700ml Cava (or Champagne)

Sugar (or liquid sugar)

crushed ice

 

Method:

Into a pitcher jug, pour the orange juice – best if it is freshly squeezed orange juice.

Add the semi-dry Cava (or Champagne if you do not have Cava).

Add the vodka and gin.

Add the sugar according to taste.

Refrigerate before serving.

Serve in the jug, and then pour into glasses onto the crushed ice to drink.

You can decorate the glass with a fine slice of lemon or a raspberry.

 

No need to use a cocktail shaker, you should mix the drink in the pitcher with a spoon, but when serving the drink, you should try and remove the spoon from the jug without disturbing the mixture too much. Enjoy!

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Le Jardin Bohémien – Ghent

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The best spots are stumbled upon by accident, and they give you the feeling of discovering something unique. We were looking for a coffee around the Gravensteen in Ghent. We had heard many good things about „Julie’s House”, had even tried to have breakfast there, but since it was fully booked at the time, and 11 o’clock sounded more as lunch than breakfast, we decided to keep it in mind for next time.

So this was next time. It was Saturday afternoon and when we arrived the queue for „take away” and the one for „eat in” were both too long. We had just passed a cofeehouse in de Burgstraat and decided to go back on our steps.

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Le Jardin Bohémien” has two huge windows (that go with the elevated ceilings of the beautiful old building), and when we stepped through the entrance door we immediately felt welcome. We found a table for two, just next to the glass fridge full of mouth watering, decidedly home made „gateau’s”. The place is quite big, with small as well as big tables (where you just join others), and some corners with sofas. There is a homy counter where you order and pay, and a beautiful wooden winding stairway that leads to a b&b which I am sure has to be good. The place is decorated quite eclectic, and it seems from the website there is a interior designer on the team. We chose from the menu and ultimately went for the home made ginger chai (de GingerLove you find in most places is far too sweet for my taste). We couldn’t resist the pastries, I went for the lemon meringue, Neil for the cheese cake and we made a deal to share.

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The menu serves breakfast (yes, next time for breakfast!), light lunches, coffee, tea and tarts, and healthy drinks. There is free wifi! We just came from a live jazz café performance (café „Het Onverwacht Geluk” just a bit further down the street) and the music here was in the same jazzy style, perfect. The pastries were simply delicious, homemade, and served generously. The home made ginger chai, tasted pure and natural, the sugar can be added to your own taste.

Le Jardin Bohémien” is open every day except on Tuesdays from 8:30 am to 6 pm, and on Thursdays stays open till 10 pm when they serve cocktails, while you can listen to, what I understood from the blackboard, live music.

Conclusions: all the way for authenticity, honesty, originality and homy experience

Address: Burgstraat 19, 9000 Gent

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