Spring Break: In Memoriam

Eat Drink: Siderit Gin & Tonic, w/ juniper berries, cinnamon stick, & orange

Friends, Spring Break has come and gone at Arizona State University, and I find myself spending my long American work days in a dreary little cubicle, running student conferences about— of all things— travel writing. Needless to say, I find myself day-dreaming of cocktail hour(s) in Spain. Thanks to some generous friends in the Basque country, we returned home with a beautiful bottle of Siderit Gin, and we were able to share this complex, floraly-citrusy-peppery concoction with some friends back home.


A Siderit G&T is not the sad, lime-y mixed drink of your college years. A good Spanish G&T isn’t served in any regular ol’ cup, either. No: The Spaniards have developed, as my friend Lee said, “a  G&T art form.” Just as a southern whiskey connoisseur might stare aghast at you if you put ice or, god forbid, soda water in a bourbon, in Spain, any respectable establishment will serve a G&T’s with specific fixings, appropriate to the particular herbal background of the brand. And they serve it in a goblet. Stirred & chilled.

mmmmmmmmmmm (from Destileria Siderit)

Siderit is a Spanish gin distilled in the beautiful, lush, northern region of Cantabria. A sip-full tastes a little bit like what looking at these rolling hills will make you feel:

Countryside in Cantabria, Spain

Ahhh. A London-style dry gin, Siderit is distilled from rye and offers a Picasso painting of flavors, thanks to the herbs that are added in the process—many of which are local to the region: flor de jamaica (hibiscus), mandarin, bitter orange, iris, almond, coriander, rock tea, cardamom, pink pepper, angelica, and, of course, juniper. The effect is a really robust taste that evolves subtly on the tongue, changing from slightly sweet to forest-tasting and back to slightly sweet again. We didn’t have true goblets in our Phoenix apartment, but we found these G&T’s almost as delightful as the ones our friends ordered for us at their local San Sebastián haunts.



Read Look at the photographs in Barcelona, blanc i negre, by Xavier Miserachs

(Photo from Amazon, where you can purchase this for $1,400).

Something I didn’t realize until we spoke with some locals in Barcelona is that the Barcelona I thought I knew— cosmopolitan beach-side, salt spray culture capital—that Barcelona is relatively new. The city looked very different before the Olympics were held there in 1992; in fact, before the games brought international attention, Barcelona had no city beach at all. For the occasion, a stretch of industrial buildings were demolished and the beach was, well, built (so much for sous les pavés la plage).

It was hard for me to visualize. Even harder for me to visualize? Barcelona in 1964. The MACBA exhibit featuring the Catalán photographer’s work was extraordinary for this reason, putting the spotlight on the city and the Barcelonés whose local history seems completely overshadowed by the frenzy at tour-guide hotspots. The exhibit’s design, too, catapulted my imagination backward, as it aimed to interweave museum-goers with the people and scenes from Miserach‘s iconic black and white photos:

The exhibit is worth a visit (it’s there until March 28, so hurry!). I’m currently looking for, er, a more affordable option for the photography book, as it seems like somewhat of a collectors’ item. In the mean time, this Flickr page should do– & I’ve shared some of my favorites below. I think you’ll find evidence that Miserachs met his self-proclaimed goal to seek:

“the pleasure of wandering around trying to represent what to me seemed distinctive and significant about the place.”

Festes de Gracia, Barcelona, 1964
from Barcelona, blanc i negre Micherach Flickr page (shared from toies.wordpress.com)




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