Feria de Sevilla – Rebujitos

Well, still no cheese steaks.  But I have a good reason!  Feria sneaked up on me.

I love the Feria de Abril of Sevilla.  It is one of the best times of the year.  It has its origins like most fairs – to sell livestock.  But being Andalusia, it quickly became a week-long celebration of food, drink, dancing, and song.  One must dress in a traje de gitana, parade the horses around, bask in the light of the farolillos (the little paper lanterns above) and dance to sevillanas bragging about just  how awesome Sevilla is.

This will be my third and probably last Feria in Sevilla.  In two weeks, I’ll go to my friends’ town’s Feria – every town and city in the South has their own Feria, usually between the months of April and October.  Sevilla has one of the largest and most famous, but they are all wonderful.  This Feria is two weeks after Holy Week, and the people gather in semi-permanent tents to dance, visit, and generally suck the marrow out of life.

This being a food blog, let’s look at that aspect.  There are lots of raptures out there about the Feria, so please, go explore!  And think about visiting.  But I try to keep this blog within its own internal political lines, so let’s go there: food.  Mostly it’s tapas.  The first night, when they light up the portada, or main entry gate, it is traditional to eat fried fish.  From then on, it’s jamón,  marinated chicken skewers, cheese, croquetas, and various other tapas.  Oh, and of course, after you have danced and eaten all day and night, it’s then time for churros.  But since I’ve talked about those, and their gluten-free friends, let’s talk about the other super important flavor of Feria: rebujitos.

These photos are blurry because you do NOT take a good camera to Feria if you are there to party. The ground is yellow sand that quickly turns to mud, and there’s lots of arms flung and drinks showering everywhere. How it should be.

There they are in their natural setting, in a caseta last year. Casetas are those semi-permanent tents I just mentioned.  You order a pitcher and drink them out of those small, delicate glasses.  Rebujitos are a relatively recent invention for the Feria, just a few decades old.  What you traditionally drank was manzanilla, a dry sherry from Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Cádiz.  Manzanilla is also chamomile tea, and shares its name with this wine supposedly because of its color and flavor.  Color, I agree with.  Flavor, not so much.

Manzanilla will kick you in the pants.  It’s very strong, the flavor is equally strong, and if you don’t drink it cold, it can have a smell reminiscent of wet dog. Sold you on it yet?  Don’t worry. April in Sevilla is often very hot, and so cold manzanilla went down smooth.  People ended up getting absolutely trashed before the sun went down.  And so, the rebujito was born.

Feria goers began to mix their manzanilla with lemon-lime soda (brand really doesn’t matter) in order to slow down the drunkening.*  Unfortunately, or rather for me, fortunately, they created a monster.  These are so popular, and such a part of Feria that Sprite actually markets special glass pitchers with the measurement lines for the perfect rebujito painted on the outside.

La Gitana is a well-known, inexpensive sherry. Remember, crisis. You can tell when the Feria has arrived, because these both go on immediate sale.

I love rebujitos.  I do not care for manzanilla, but the mixture of the dry sherry with the sometimes overly sweet soda makes a match made in Sevilla and goes down way, way too easy.   FYI – there is an official name for the day after Feria finally ends: Hangover Monday. No joke.  So be careful.  So worth it.  So, please drink with me this week!


1 part Manzanilla or other dry sherry

2 parts Lemon-lime soda


Fill a pitcher with ice.  Pour sherry over ice.  Add soda.  Serve from teeny tiny cups.  Start singing in Spanish and share around.

I’m going to go drink my model, now.  Buen provecho!

*EDIT: I just spoke with a coworker from Sanlúcar and she says that rebujitos came about in order to seduce new drinkers to the party.  Manzanilla was falling out of fashion amongst the younger set, and this was a way to bring more people in to spend money.


4 Responses to “Feria de Sevilla – Rebujitos”

  1. 1 Singer April 24, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Well, I have only one thing to ad: aaaaaaaaay campaneraaaaaa

    • 2 Singer April 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm


      • 3 desasdishes April 24, 2012 at 10:33 pm

        Por qué seráaaaaaaaaaaaa…
        For those of you who are not in on this joke, it comes from this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVIen1pYNvM

  2. 4 msc7620 May 15, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Rebujitos always remind me of what I believe was the true birth of our friendship: that party at your house when everyone else was 3 hours late and I was the only guest there. So we drank quite a few glasses while looking at pictures from your time in Spain. I’m pretty sure that we became good friends over those 3 hours. Now come back soon and I’ll make you a pitcher!

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Hey, I'm Desa. I've been bouncing between the Pacific Northwest and Sevilla, Spain in the last few years and from tiny apartment to tiny apartment. I cook mainly for one, which means some potentially boring meals, but here I'll be sharing the food that excites me. Feel free to offer suggestions, commiseration, or desires. And thanks for coming by!


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