AGUA DE VALENCIA – A sunny cocktail


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.


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!


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!


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.



300ml freshly pressed orange juice

50ml Gin

50ml Vodka

700ml Cava (or Champagne)

Sugar (or liquid sugar)

crushed ice



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!



Homemade golden limoncello.


AH Limoncello! When you have ever visited the area of Napels and the Amalfi Coast, you must have tasted it, since most restaurants give  you a little glass of this yellow liquor after your dinner. And when walking around in Sorrento, and the area of Napels, lemon trees are everywhere, lemons are used as decoration, lemons on plates and cups and aprons, lemon ice cream, … You cannot fail to notice the abundance of lemons when on holiday there! Neil had already tasted home-made limoncello on a previous trip, and knows how good it can taste. So when we visited Sorrento on a weekend break in May, we decided to bring some lemons of Sorrento home and try to make our own limoncello. We bought 5 huge lemons, that had not been treated, since you only need the peel, and insecticides are unnecessary for a good tasting limoncello. (the price was ridiculous: only 3 euro!) (maybe we should have bought more, but our luggage was already pretty heavy)


I surfed the Internet to find a decent recipe. I compared some of them, and compared those directions with my own experience making liqueur before. I decided to use pure alcohol (96%) together with vodka, for a tastier softer version. For the 5 huge lemons (equivalent of 10 normal lemons), I bought 1 l of alcohol 96% and 75 cl of vodka, and poured both together in a glass bowl. I let the lemons soak in water for ½ hour, and used a new little dishwashing sponge to clean them, and take away all the dirt from the peel.


I used a potato peeler to thinly slice of the yellow peel from the lemons, taking care not to peel any of the white parts with it. This works quite easily. I put all the peels in the alcohol, and closed the bowl. I stored the bowls away in a dark (not cold) place to make the lemon oil dissolve in the alcohol. This takes about 43 days, and on day 6, 22 and 36 you should stir the mixture and then close it off again. Time to wait….


On day 43 first check if the mixture is ready to be strained, by plying one of the lemon parts. If the part is still pliable, it is still too early and you should wait longer. If the lemon part is stiff and breaks immediately, it is time for the next step.


Filter the liquid by straining it through a coffee filter. You will have about 1,6 liter of alcohol left. Mix 800 ml water and 4,5 cups of white sugar in a pot and bring to a boil to make a syrup. Let the syrup cool down and pour it in the lemon-alcohol. Stir and close the jar and return it to a cool dry and dark place for another 40 days in which the liquid will be mellowed into limoncello. If necessary you can strain the liquid again through a coffee filter after this period, depending on the clarity of the liqueur. Then it is time to pour it in bottles. Make sure the bottles are very clean, rinse them with boiling water.


And there you have your golden drink. If you leave it in the bottles for some months more the taste will become mellower. (great for Xmas and New Year!)


5 big untreated Sorrento  lemons

1l alcohol 96%

75 cl vodka

800 ml water

4,5 cups of sugar