Your guide on how to order drinks in Spanish
Have you ever found yourself in a Spanish speaking country looking for a drink? Spain, Mexico, Columbia, Puerto Rico and The Dominican Republic are all on the list of foreign countries most visited by Americans. If you haven’t yet, chances are one day you will.
Maybe you took Spanish class in high school and you think that equips you for the task. It’s possible but unlikely because if you’re old enough to be at a bar, then 9th and 10th grade were probably a long time ago. Another reason is that the kind of Spanish taught to teenagers in American schools isn’t the kind local speakers use in relaxed and informal settings.
Teenagers taking High School Spanish are often taught the phrase “Yo Quisiera un refresco, por favour,” which translates to “I would like a soft drink please,” but you will never hear that phrase in Spain or Latin America. It’s just too formal and polite for someone just ordering a drink at a bar. The person is more likely to use the specific type of drink or brand name when ordering something. For example, a person in Madrid is very likely to walk into a bar and say, “Una Coca-Cola,” which means “A Coca-Cola.”
Basically, it’s better to keep things short and simple. Below is a list of sentences and phrases you can use in a Spanish speaking country to order various kinds of refreshments.
Una Coca-Cola/Una Fanta/Una Dr. Pepper etc. – It is most common for someone to use the brand name of the product if they are ordering a soft drink.
Un Café – This is the commonly used phrase when asking for coffee but you will have to be more specific if you are ordering a particular kind of coffee.
Un Cafe Solo – This is used to order an espresso. It literally means “just coffee.”
Un Americano – A long espresso with more water. This is the kind of coffee most Americans prefer.
Un Cafe con leche – An espresso with a lot of milk.
Un Cartado – An espresso ‘cut’ with just a bit of milk.
If you want to order fruit juice, then you should learn the phrases Un zumo de (Spain) and Un jugo de (Latin America) which mean “a juice of.” Read on to understand how to say the names of some fruits that are normally juiced in Spanish: Naranja means orange, manzana means apple, melocoton means peach and pina means pineapple.
If you want to order a beer and don’t have any particular brand in mind, you can ask for it by saying “Una cerveza.” Similarly, you can order it by stating the size of the beer you want.
Una Cerveza – This means you’re ordering a small draft beer, which is the most common way to drink beer.
Una Agua – This means that you are ordering a third of a liter bottle.
Una bottelin/ Una quinto means you’re ordering a fifth of a liter bottle.
Una clara is a beer mixed with lemonade. It is a refreshing beverage for a hot day.
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