Where to Try a Porron (AKA Where You Can Spill Wine All Over Yourself With Spanish Flair)

By Rina Rapuano  |  June 19, 2014
Credit: Aaron Clamage

While giving Tico a whirl last weekend, we noticed porrones listed on the cocktail menu at 14th Street NW’s newest hot spot. In case you haven’t seen the dramatic Spanish drinking vessel known as a porron, it’s glass with a handle and a spout, and you’re supposed to drink out of it without touching it with your lips — meaning it can get a bit messy for newcomers.

Experts are able to tip their heads back and pour the liquid into their mouths, pulling the porron away (about an arm’s length) while continuing to pour, and then bring it back toward the mouth again. 

When asked if those who order it get a tutorial, Estadio bar director Adam Bernbach cops to not being very good at it, despite the fact that Estadio has had porrones on the menu since the restaurant opened. “Hopefully not me because I’m not the best at it,” he says of who should teach porron newbies. “My coordination is pretty low.” We appreciate the modesty, but we have a feeling that it probably really speaks to how difficult it is rather than his clumsiness.

If you want to practice at home so you can show up your friends the next time you’re out, Planet Wine in Del Ray sells porrones. Neighborhood Restaurant Group wine director Brent Kroll is reportedly a fan and offers regular demonstrations during Saturday tastings at the wine shop. “He promotes it as not only a fun way to enjoy value-driven wine, but it's also great for creating cocktails of acidic and lean wine with other products,” a rep says. “One of his favorite recipes is Domaine Delsol Picpoul de Pinet, San Pellegrino Limonata, Cocchi Americano and hopped grapefruit bitters.”

Whether you’ve mastered it or are more than willing to make a fool of yourself publicly all in the name of good fun, here is a handful places where you can order a porron:

Where: Estadio  
What Goes Into It: Txakoli (a Spanish white wine) and lemon soda ($20); Estrella Damm beer and lemon soda ($14); cachaca, lemongrass, beer, lime ($14)
How Many Are Ordered Per Week: 15-20
Good to Know: Bernbach usually keeps three to four porron options on the menu at any given time, keeping the traditional wine-lemon and beer-lemon combos and swapping out the others seasonally.
1520 14th St. NW; 202-319-1404

Where: Jaleo
What Goes Into It: The Clara cocktail, a blend of Estrella Damm beer, housemade lemonade and Regan’s orange bitters ($22); also beer or cava
How Many Are Ordered Per Week: About 30
Good to Know: These are offered at all three DC-area Jaleo locations.
480 Seventh St. NW, 202-628-7949; 7271 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda, 301-913-0003; 2250 Crystal Dr., Arlington, 703-413-8181

Where: La Tasca
What Goes Into It: The Cádiz, made of Belvedere grapefruit vodka, club soda, sugar, mint and muddled raspberries; the Ibiza, a mix of Leblon cachaça, fresh lime and raw sugar; and the Sevilla, a blend of Belvedere mango, muddled blackberries and lemon-lime soda ($29 each)
How Many Are Ordered Per Week: About 30
Good to Know: The recipes are changed seasonally, and the restaurant serves them with glasses for those who don’t feel comfortable with pouring it straight into their mouths.
722 Seventh St. NW; 202-347-9190 

Where: Ripple
What Goes Into It: Txakoli wine; the one on the menu now is Ameztoi Rubentis ($13 a glass; $39 a bottle)
How Many Are Ordered Per Week: Up to three
Good to Know: They’re not on the menu but wine manager Danny Fisher keeps them around for those who want to try one with the traditional txakoli — a dry, slightly effervescent wine. They will serve it with any other wine at the customer’s request, though.
3417 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-244-7995

Where: Tico
What Goes Into It: Cava ($28); Albarino, bitter lemon soda and orange bitters ($17); lager, grapefruit soda and orange bitters ($14)
How Many Are Ordered Per Week: 25 were ordered in the first week
Good to Know: They cocktail options for the porrones will likely change seasonally.
1926 14th St. NW; 202-319-1400

Where: Vinoteca  
What Goes Into It: Any bottle of wine
How Many Are Ordered Per Week: It's rarely ordered since it's an under-the-radar option. 
Good to Know: They are an off-menu item here, offered at no additional charge for anyone who requests it with the purchase of a bottle of wine. They only have one, though, so you’re out of luck if someone orders it first.
1940 11th St. NW; 202-332-9463