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Ratafia: the traditional liqueur of the Catalan territory

Ratafia: the traditional liqueur of the Catalan territory

27.10.2022 Adults only Local festivities

Ratafia is one of the most traditional drinks in Catalonia. This liquor is especially popular during the last months of the year, when it is taken as an aperitif or with dessert at Christmas meals. Discover what ingredients does it have, how it is made and, if you want to know more or try it, don't miss the Ratafia Festival in Santa Coloma de Farners.


What is ratafia?

Ratafia is the traditional liquor obtained by macerating ingredients such as fruits, medicinal herbs, roots, bones and spices in brandy. There are generally two types of ratafies, those made with mistelas and those made with fruit juices. It has an alcohol content of between 24% and 30% by volume and 100 to 400 grams per liter of sugar.

Ratafia does not have a specific color; the range of colors is between dark brown, reddish or orange. Its flavor is sweet and intense, while the texture shows differences in thickness depending on the manufacturer. Its aroma provides us with information about its ingredients, its maceration and its aging process.

Traditionally, ratafia is made in the vicinity of San Juan and also for All Saints Day, consuming it at Christmas. It is usually taken as an aperitif or after meals, with dessert.



Ratafia’s ingredients

The ingredients needed to make ratafia are brandy, green walnuts, herbs (such as mint, lemon verbena, thyme, basil, lavender...) and spices (such as nutmeg, carnations, star anise, cumin or cinnamon).

As material, a carafe is needed, if possible, made of glass, with some type of protection and a wide neck, which can hold more space than the liters of brandy that we want to make; a funnel; gloves and a knife to cut, and a pot and a stove to make syrup in case you need to reduce the brandy.


How is ratafia made?

The herbs and spices are macerated in liquor for about forty days in the sun in a well-stoppered glass jar that is stirred from time to time. Strain through filter paper or a linen cloth and, if necessary to reduce the brandy, cold syrup is added to achieve the desired sweetness and graduation.

It is aged for a couple of months in an oak barrel and finally filtered again before bottling. It can be kept for a long time, both in the manufacturer's facilities and at home.

ratafia glass jug


The Catalan ratafia

The ratafia is a deeply rooted drink in different Catalan regions. The oldest recipe in Catalonia is from Francesc Rosquellas from 1842. Catalan ratafia is made with liquor seasoned with a piece of lemon peel, four or five carnations, a nutmeg, a green walnut peel cut into pieces and a piece of cinnamon from Holland, to which you can add a sprig of mint and lemon verbena.

Currently, its preparation is mostly homemade, although there are companies that make it by hand for majority consumption. In the European Union, the Catalan ratafia is recognized as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).

Various fairs related to this alcoholic beverage are held throughout the Catalan territory, highlighting the Ratafia Festival in Santa Coloma de Farners, the Besalú Fair and the Ratafia Festival in Centelles.


Ratafia Festival in Santa Coloma de Farners

If you want to try this liqueur, you cannot miss the 41st edition of the Ratafia Festival in Santa Coloma de Farners, which will take place from Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 November. This celebration takes place annually during the second weekend of November in the town of Santa Coloma de Farners, capital of the region of La Selva, in the province of Girona.

The festival, where you can find ratafies from the country, in addition to a large sample of artisan products, has established itself as a meeting point for the producers of this liquor. It is organized by the Confraria de la Ratafia, a non-profit cultural entity that promotes the Fiesta de la Ratafia and the city of Santa Coloma de Farners as the capital of this liquor.


Hotels in the province of Girona

Stay at Rosamar Hotels, in Lloret de Mar, and come and try one of the most traditional drinks in the region of La Selva, in the province of Girona.

Hotel Rosamar Garden Resort is an all-inclusive 4-star resort located 300m from Lloret de Mar beach. It has four swimming pools with slides and water attractions, entertainment activities and shows, and a sports area.

Hotel Rosamar & Spa is a 4-star superior hotel located on the beachfront. It has a spa for adults only (free for those who have made the reservation directly from the website), a chill out area with hammocks and parasols and a wide variety of restaurant proposals.

Come and taste one of the most popular drinks in Catalonia with Rosamar Hotels!

Hotel Rosamar Garden Resort Lloret de Mar
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