Aguardiente - "Spanish moonshine" and strong drink from the north of Spain

The growing popularity of health tourism in Spain

Spain is showing strong growth in the health tourism sector. In addition to clinics that are world-renowned in the treatment of oncology, ophthalmology, gynecology, rehabilitation, prevention centers, clinics for proper nutrition and health improvement are gaining popularity.

According to statistics from 2015, Spain's health tourism revenue was € 500 million, an increase of 20% over previous periods. Such a steady growth could bring Spain to 3-4 place in the world ranking in terms of the number of patients served, according to the Spaincares National Treatment and Resort Organization. The country is projected to achieve a turnover of € 1 billion in medical and health tourism by 2020.

Spanish medical clinics serve patients from all over the world

It should be noted that patients from all over Europe come to Spanish doctors for treatment, and in recent years patients from East Asia and Russia have actively joined them. The most popular are the Teknon and IMOR oncology clinics in Barcelona, ​​IVO in Valencia, the Barraquer ophthalmology center, the Instituto Marques obstetrics and genecology clinic, the Guttman Institute, which is known for the rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injuries. Aesthetic surgery takes a special place - Spanish cosmetic clinics are considered one of the best in the world.

Most of the local plastic surgeons are used by the British: compared to prices in the UK, surgery in Spain is 60% cheaper.

Health tourism is driving Spain forward

The Ostelea International Center has conducted research in the field of wellness tourism and has compiled a rating of the most favorable countries for this destination. Spain was ranked 18th on this list, which is already considered a great achievement. More than 540 thousand tourists visited Spain last year for health purposes.

Wellness tourism carries a certain philosophy aimed at achieving harmony in the physical and psychological state of a person. Spain in this respect is an excellent region for prevention and recovery, rehabilitation after stress. There are more than 2000 springs, mineral and thermal springs, which the National Thermal Springs Association assigns a certain status to the resorts: wellness, spa, thalasso.

Most often, tourists go to Catalonia for health improvement - 28% of all trips. The oldest thermal spas in Spain are located in Barcelona and its surroundings: Caldes de Montbui, La Garriga. Their healing waters have been highly valued since the time of the Roman Empire for the treatment of diseases of the skin and joints.

Andalusia is in second place in terms of the influx of tourists who want to improve their health - 24%, and Valencia is in third place with 21%. According to experts, the average cost of a medical tour in 2015 was just over 1,400 euros.

The growing popularity of health tourism in Spain

Like their national cuisines, there are national spirits in almost all countries, and some of these drinks are perceived abroad as one of the symbols of national culture. For Russia, vodka has become such a drink. In the Spanish-speaking world, the most famous "alcoholic" symbols are tequila, which inevitably evokes associations with Mexico, and the "purebred Cuban" - rum.

Spain is known to the world as one of the main "wine" powers. The question arises: does this country have its own strong alcoholic drink? Some foreigners associate Calvados with Spanish culture. However, this drink is French by origin, it comes from Normandy. The Spanish spirits are called aguardiente. This drink has its own characteristics and varieties, which are described in this article.

What is aguardiente?

Some Spanish-Russian dictionaries translate the word into Russian as "vodka". This only confirms that the word applies to any hard alcohol. However, as you know, vodka is a rectified, so it can hardly be called a kind of aguardiente. But cognac, tequila, rum and brandy are listed on some Spanish sites as "world famous" variations of aguardiente.

At the same time, in the Spanish national culture, aguardiente is actually a Spanish alcoholic drink, moonshine, which is made from grapes or other ingredients in Spain. This is how the word “in the narrow sense” is understood. Thus, in Spain "aguardiente" is any drink "a la moonshine", abroad aguardiente is a Spanish alcoholic drink. In the Pyrenees, their native strong alcoholic drink is called "Orujo" or "Aguardiente de Orujo".

Aguardiente de Orujo

True Spanish aguardiente is properly called Orujo. His homeland is Galicia, northern Spain. Spanish orujo and aguardiente can be compared to French cognac and brandy. According to the rules, "cognac" is a drink from the province of the same name, everything else is brandy.

A similar drink from another region of Spain or another Spanish-speaking country will simply be called aguardiente. Having bought an Oruho, carefully examine the bottle. If it contains the letters D. - it means that before you is an original drink, the origin of which is confirmed.

The raw materials for the Galician "grape vodka", which is considered to be genuine orujo, are the remnants of "wine production" - grape cake, as evidenced by the name of the drink "orujo", i.e. pomace, husk, cake.

Aguardiente Features

Aguardiente and Orujo received all kinds of conventional names from foreigners: both "grape vodka" and "Spanish brandy", but the most correct thing would probably be to compare aguardiente with moonshine. In addition to the history of origin, Spanish aguardiente is associated with two main characteristics with this "homemade" drink.

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