From siestas to Flamenco, Spain is a must-visit spot for culture seekers. Go Ahead Senior Project Manager Amanda discovered this firsthand on her tour of Madrid, where she took a culinary leap with some countrywide trends.
For me, traveling is about being immersed in a different culture. That’s why I decided to check out Madrid’s impressive tapas and gin bar scene to discover why these food and drink trends are all the rage in Spain.
I opted to try an inviting bar on the city’s main road called Mercado de la Reina. It was full of a diverse set of customers, including young people hanging out after work, fellow travelers taking a break and locals enjoying a drink on their own.
I grabbed a seat at the bar—the perfect place to people watch—and was presented with the gin book. I’m not much of a gin drinker and there were so many different options to choose from, so I randomly picked London No. 1 gin and ordered a classic gin and tonic. It was served in a large glass with mint and lemon, and came alongside a tapas menu.
The tapas were reasonably priced, so I thought, “Why not order something I wouldn’t usually eat?” A few people had told me that I should try the octopus while in Spain but I was hesitant—I didn’t want to go that far outside my comfort zone. But, I saw multiple people order it so I figured if the people of Madrid liked it, maybe I would too.
The skewered octopus was served with a fresh vegetable salsa and was actually good! It didn’t taste how I thought it would. To my surprise, I also really liked the gin and tonic. It tasted fresher than any I’d had before.
Maybe it was Madrid’s beautiful weather and the bar’s great atmosphere, but I was really happy I decided to go for things that I wouldn’t normally try at home. That’s what travel is all about!