Saturday, March 2, 2013

My favorite Camino beverage

After hours of huffing and puffing over snow-laden trails we reached the albergue Monte Irago in Foncebadon on January 23, 2013. We were going to stay in Rabanal but decided to push on to Foncebadon to make the next day's walk a bit easier, knowing the descent to Ponferrada would be long and hard. We were very happy to see Philipe (the owner and the hospitalero) 2 years after we first met him. After dinner, he asked us if we'd like some after dinner drinks and I happily opted for a glass of pacharan while J and James from NY both opted for a glass of orujo, a typical but very strong Spanish liquor. We talked about our discovery of the carajillo, an espresso drink mixed with (a liberal amount of) cognac or orujo, and how much we've enjoyed it, especially on cold (and wet!) days. Philipe then decided to show us how to modify orujo with fruits and sugar to either drink it as is or make carajillo with it, instead of with just cognac or straight Orujo. Apparently, this is very common in Spain and many people in rural villages make their own versions. It was fun to watch Philipe adding apples, lemons, and coffee beans to the orujo, and then setting the whole thing on fire. The excess alcohol burned away as Philipe enlightened us on this small part of Spanish culture. We all shared a warm, and fun filled evening in front of the fireplace (with lots of laughter) knowing our soaked clothing and boots were being dried for the next day's walk, as we sipped Filipe's magical elixir.


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