You would be surprised to learn that the most popular traditional drink of the island is actually gin, and a wonderfully refreshing gin cocktail called pomada.
History of Menorcan Gin
Why is it that the Menorcans have a taste for gin, you may ask? During the eighteenth century, following the War of the Spanish Succession, the island was frequently controlled by Great Britain. Soldiers and sailors from the British armed forces who were stationed there longed for a taste of their favourite drink from home: gin.
It wasn’t long before the locals recognised this gap in the market and imported juniper berries, which weren’t native to the island, in order to make their own kind of gin. More similar to the Dutch spirit genever than the British version, this local gin was distilled from Mediterranean wine rather than from grain.
The leading brand of gin today is the family-run Xoriguer (pronounced sho-ri-gair), which has been distilling gin for almost a century. It is one of the few gins with protected geographic indication, meaning that it can only be made on the island. The delightfully vintage bottle label features a picture of the Xoriguer windmill, built in 1784.
The Island’s Favourite Cocktail
Pomada is a cocktail made with Menorcan gin and bitter lemon or lemonade, mixed to create a golden liquid that is refreshing and surprisingly strong! It is typically drunk during the local festes honouring the patron saints of the towns.
If you fancy sitting back and relaxing with a classic pomada cocktail while enjoying the island’s spectacular coastal views, you could pop into Cova d’en Xoroi for a drink. If you would like to purchase a bottle of Xoriguer gin to enjoy from the comfort of your own villa, you can buy a litre bottle in Mahon for just €12.