Spain in the News

From Time Out New York: August 28, 2007
By Jordana Rothman

"Group Chug"

The porrón is a popular Catalonian drinking vessel that’s sort of like a highbrow beer bong. Evolved from the traditional bota bags, or horn-shaped leather wine sacks, the watering-can-like bottles are designed to direct a thin stream of wine (usually white or rosé) from a pointed beak directly into one’s mouth. Not only is it impressive to witness when done correctly, the technique opens up the wine, and makes for a raucous communal outing. I visited West Village tapas bar Las Ramblas (170 W 4th St between Cornelia and Jones Sts, 646-415-7924), to master the sloppy novelty (from $8 to $30).

First Try: Las Ramblas owner Natalie Sanz demonstrates: She brings the spout close to her lips, tilts the carafe forward to start the pour, then slowly pulls her arm away from her mouth, receiving the neat stream with nary a wayward drop. My turn! I lift the spout to my mouth and tilt it forward. What follows is disturbingly similar to the final shot of a most unsavory skin flick.

Second Try: I lost plenty of volume on my first round, so my second attempt is notably easier. I point the beak toward my mouth, pour a tidy little spurt of wine and snap my wrist back to halt the flow. Natalie proudly refills my bottle; a gaggle of after-work drunkards whoop.

Third Try: Emboldened by the wine I finally managed to ingest, I’ve improved my aim and am ready to have a go at really pulling the beak away from my mouth. I approach it with swagger and am surprised at how easily I nail it. The challenge, I quickly learn, is swallowing the wine with a wide-open mouth without stopping the pour. Natalie coaches me through an embarrassing throat exercise, and soon I’m swallowing wine, and a fair amount of air, like a pro.

Fourth and Beyond: Once I’m drenched and jolly enough to not care, the real fun begins. Natalie stands on a stool and pours into my mouth, she kneels and summons other servers to do a double decant (pouring two into your mouth at the same time). I returned a week later for a late-night demo with friends who oohed and ahhed at my bacchanalian talents, snapping photos even less flattering than the one seen here. “Jordana,” they asked, “do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”