Tenerife Information For Tourists – Ordering Drinks in Spanish (Part Three)

Tenerife Information For Tourists – Ordering Drinks in Spanish (Part Three)

Finally, here are some tips on how to order alcoholic drinks in Spanish. The rule still applies: they will cost a lot less in native Canarian or Spanish bars than in the out-and-out tourist ones, so it’s worth going in one and trying out your Spanish!

There are, of course, the three categories of glass for gin and tonic alcoholic drinks – beer, wine and spirits. Let’s deal with them in order.


Usually, in a native Canarian or Spanish bar, if you ask for a beer, you will be given a bottle. Unlike some of its other European neighbours, such as France, with biere and Germany, with bier, Tenerife and Spain have a word for “beer” which is nothing like its English equivalent. It is cerveza [sair-VAY-sa, or sair-VAY-tha].

Tenerife has its own brand of beer, called Dorada, so, if you went in a native bar and asked for “una cerveza, por favor”, you’d probably be given a bottle of Dorada Pils, with an accompanying glass.

Bottled Dorada also comes in a stronger variety (Dorada Especial) and alcohol-free (Dorada Sin).

Should you want a draught beer, the expression for a “half” is una caña [can-ya], while a “pint” is una jarra (harra).


Wine is drunk copiously with meals in Tenerife and, rather than peruse an extensive wine list (not always an available option in some of the more basic restaurants), you could do worse than order the house wine.

This will probably be brought to you in either an earthenware jug, or, if the restaurant is a little more downmarket, in an old glass bottle that previously contained water! It’s true! The wine is fine, though.

You can ask for un litro de vino tinto/blanco/rosado – a litre of red/white/rose wine. Lesser volumes available are un medio litro – a half litre, or un cuarto litro – a quarter litre.

If you want just a glass, the expression is una copa de… – a glass of…

To ask for the house wine, just add de la casa on the end of your request.


Fortunately, it is possible to ask for the various spirits by their brand names and the waiter should be able to understand what you are saying. Sometimes, though, the Spanish pronunciation of English words comes into play.

A favourite whisky amongst the Canarian natives is 100 Pipers. They pronounce it as “Cien Peepers”!

You should be fine with the following:

For gin and tonic, despite the fact that the actual Spanish version is ginebra con tonica, you may get away with “gin-tonic”.

Brandy is referred to as coñac, which is pronounced as the English word cognac.

With whisky, the Spanish tend not to pronounce the “s” in the middle of words, so their version of it comes out as “whikky”! You’ll still be understood if you say “whisky”, though.

“Barcardi”, being a brand name, is the same. So is the Spanish word for “vodka”, but remember that the Spanish pronounce “v” as “b”, making it “bodka”.

Regarding mixers, you say con [with] coca-cola [coke], Sprite or Seven Up [lemonade], lima [lime] and zumo de naranja (sumo day na-RAN-ha) [fresh orange juice].

This article wouldn’t be complete without a referral to Spain’s national drink, sherry. It is named after the city of Jerez [herress], where it is produced and is pronounced that way.

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