“This had better be worth it.” He said to me as we followed our hosts through a myriad of lane ways in old town Valencia. It was late... well late for us.

We had left Barcelona earlier in the day, having hired a car, a sweet little Mercedes 180 the colour of molten chocolate and taken to the roads of Spain for the first time. It wasn’t as scary as we’d thought.

At the delightful sea-side town of Peñíscola, we had lunched on Galician Gambas and the mandatory Patatas Bravas, washed down with goblet or two of chilled Sangria. Our Valencian friends had met us at our hotel just outside the old city of Valencia and we dined like kings at the elegant  “La Gallineta” restaurant.

Our friends were most insistent that we kicked on to a bar for an after dinner cocktail.  And now at this late hour we were walking the streets of Valencia. Through a maze of streets, around dark corners, under garlands of streets lights, we paused to take photos of the Marqués de Dos Aguas Palace with its magnificent Rococo facade. Then we plunged passed the Catedral de València traversing Plaza de la Virgen and slipped into another quiet lane way.

The entrance to Cafe de las Horas belies the Neo-Baroque opulence that awaits beyond the doors. From the star-studded Persian blue ceiling all the way down to the free-form mosaic floor, the cafe is feast for the eyes.

Fabulous Trompe-l’œil paintings adorn crimson walls and massive Baroque floral arrangements dominate the bar. I gaze at the Chandeliers and golden statues of cherubs as the compelling notes of
17th Century music reaches my ears. Yes, it was worth the walk.

We settle into a dark corner and our friends order the local brew... Agua de Valencia, although there is nothing “agua” about it. Agua de Valencia or Valencian water was invented by a guy called Constante Gil in 1959. Its made from orange juice (it is Valencia after all), sparkling wine, gin, vodka and sugar.

Here is a recipe if you’d like to try it at home, but I think it tastes best within the cozy walls of a 17th Century Baroque Salon...


    200 ml Orange juice
    50 ml Gin
    50 ml Vodka
    700 ml Cava (or Champagne)
    Pinch Sugar

Method of preparation

    Squeeze a glass of orange juice into a large jug or pitcher.
    Add a bottle of semi-dry cava.
    Add a glass of vodka and gin.
    Add sugar according to your taste.
    Place in the refrigerator.

Cafe de las Horas 
Address: Carrer del Comte d'Almodóvar, 1, 46003 València, Spain
Hours: Open from 10am to 2am (Sunday 10am - 11pm)


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