Mosto? What’s Mosto?

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There are three acceptable drink options when going out for pinxtos in northern Spain, especially in Logroño. Only three. Wine, beer, and mosto.
What is mosto? you are probably asking yourselves. Don’t worry, I was doing the same thing in September, and I had been living in Spain for 2 years before I figured it out. I don’t know if they drink mosto in the rest of Spain as much as they do up here in the north; either way I didn’t become aware of it until I moved to Logroño. Mosto is a kind of grape juice, made from pressed grapes before the wine process; I think it usually still has the seeds and pulpy stuff which is filtered out, but it’s not fermented and put in barrels. Living in La Rioja, wine country, I shouldn’t have been surprised at this since, wine and grapes are pretty much inescapable here.
Mosto looks and tastes surprisingly like apple juice, and it’s usually served chilled in pinxto bars here with a slice of orange and an olive. No idea why, but the combo works. You will almost always only here these three drink choices in pinxto bars. Spain adheres to tight social drinking laws. Only beer and wine during the day, (and only red wine in La Rioja) and then after midnight you can start drinking the cubatas (mixed drinks) and not a minute sooner. Start drinking hard booze sooner, and you’ll get stared at, like whoa, someone’s starting the party early, watch out (drunkie).
But if you aren’t in the mood for wine or beer when out for pintxos, go ahead and order a mosto. It’s nice and refreshing, especially after some of the hot, salty food.
Have you ever tried mosto before? What’s the local drink where you live?

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12 Comments on “Mosto? What’s Mosto?

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  1. I am a Dutch girl living in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz), Andalusia and here we also know mosto wine. Jerez is THE sherry area, and here mosto is the young wine before it is processed to become sherry. The best quality mosto wine is sold as mosto because like that you can taste already the quality of the palomino fino grape and imagine how the sherry will be.

    Originally this was so companies and private persons could check if they would like to buy the sherry later that year. Nowadays it is just a nice custom. You can order it in the tipical MOSTO bars (like ventas, but a bit simpler) and have great local dishes with it.

  2. Your main article says that the ‘mosto’ he had in LogroNo-La Rioja (Spain), while made from pressed, but not fermented white grapes, tastes “sort of like Apple juice;” and I can’t disagree with it more. It has a distint, refreshing, delightful taste of its own as all in my group agreed. We had in Pamplona with ‘pintxos’ (never called ‘tapas’ there!), again very cold -without ice!- with a slice of lemon and an olive, but we also had it in Barcelona and Leon and know it is available all over Spain (and as someone else also says, in Holland!
    It is amazing and perfect when you don’t want (or need) booze. And while it is, yes, just grape juice, the white grape juice available in the US in supermarkets (like Welch’s), somehow it does not taste like it or nearly as superb with ‘pintxos’ (or tapas or apetizers).

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