First-Time Cider: Learning about El Escanciado

Cider (sidra) is a way of life in Asturias. Asturians drink cider at all times of the day, wherever they are. On the beach, in their houses, with lunch, with dinner and probably breakfast, before going to bed, when they’re happy, sad or bored. Sidrerías blanket Oviedo, particularly on Calle Gascona, otherwise known as the Boulevard of Cider.

El Escanciado
Witnessing El Escanciado for the first time

Watching a Pro Escanciador at Work

Despite having the energy level of celery on our first full day in Oviedo, we couldn’t resist sampling it. We sat down at a sidrería close to our house, and ordered a bottle. As soon as it was set down on the table, I greedily reached for it, but the waiter snatched the bottle deftly away from my grabby hands, tut-tutting as he did so. And then, he provided our first lesson in the art of El Escanciado.

Drinking cider is not as easy as cracking open a beer. Made from apples, it’s a completely natural beverage and bottled without any gas. So the cider must be poured from a height, aerating it as it splashes into the glass. Our waiter held the bottle high over his head, and the glass down at waist level. Without looking at either bottle or glass, he started pouring, splashing a ton of cider onto the ground, and then pushed the glasses into our hands instead of setting them onto the table.

Good for a Long, Slow, Inexpensive Night Out

The cider was delicious, with an unexpectedly tangy punch. The glasses were only filled the glass to an inch, so we were ready for more in about two seconds. But we had quickly picked up that pouring your own cider is improper ettiquite, so we had to wait until he came back around to our table to perform the ritual again.

The slow drinking is conducive to a long evening out with friends, and the small portions and low alcohol content would make it difficult to get drunk on cider. Plus, it’s cheap (we paid €2,50 per bottle), so there’s no need to worry about ordering another round.

Yep, I think that we’ll be sampling a good percentage of Oviedo’s sidrerías during our time here. And we’ll have to get practicing on our Escanciado skills right away.

-Read how Sidra is being made – we visited the famous Sidrería de El Gaitero

Sidra Bottles cooling in Atlantic
A great way to cool the Sidra
Drinking Asturian Sidra at the beach
Sidra at the beach

This Post Has 9 Comments

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  2. rixar garcia

    Hello, thanks for your great first post about the city where I`m living. When you talk about Cider, in my mind came the “oricios” Now I put a link to wikipedia
    The problem is that you only have this from Jaunary to march.
    I think that asturias smells to cider+oricio. The sea and the field 🙂
    But the best you`ll findd in Asturias is the Hospitality of the People.
    I,ll be watching you 😀
    My email:

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