Discover a passion for pacharan
Pacharan, also known as patxaran or paxaran, depending on the region, is a familiar liqueur throughout northern Spain. It is made to an ancient recipe from aniseed spirit, coloured and flavoured by sloe berries. Its sweet and refreshing flavour makes it the Spanish equivalent of Pernod, ideal as the base for a long summer cocktail.
Zoco is the brand most often seen in Spanish supermarkets and likely to be available in specialist Spanish grocers and delicatessens in the UK. In the Basque and Navarre regions though, small local producers create an infinite variety of pacharans, and a bottle can usually be picked up at local markets for a handful of euros.
A San Fermin is named after the famous festival in Pamplona where foolhardy Australian and American tourists run with the bulls and often end up in the local hospital’s accident and emergency department. It is a simple but powerful cocktail with a shot of pacharan poured into a champagne glass and topped up with chilled cava sparkling wine from nearby Catalonia.
Skilled barmen in the Navarre region can blend pacharan with orange juice and ice in a swirling effect that is the local equivalent of a Tequila Sunrise. Use fresh-squeezed Valencia oranges to ensure the cocktail is not a little too sweet.
For hot days at the beach, a pacharan spritzer can be made by topping up the liqueur in a long glass with sparkling mineral water, plenty of ice and a sprig of mint. Don’t let the pink colour put you off; this is really a very sophisticated summer drink.