Welcome to the porró, the traditional Catalan wine carafe that gives you all of the pleasure and convenience of drinking from a squirt gun.
A porró is a little like a glass watering can; there’s an opening in the top where it is filled, and a long snout that tapers to a small opening — when you tip the carafe the wine shoots out. Your goal is to tilt the porró with a quick, sure movement, and to have your mouth pre-positioned exactly at the receiving end the stream of wine. Beginners frequently have difficulty starting and stopping the flow without spilling wine everywhere, which in and of itself makes the porró a delight to trot out at a party. Gentler hosts sometimes offer newbies a bib.
Here are some tips for successful porró use:
- If you’re a novice, start and stop drinking with the tip of the spout as close to your mouth as possible.
- Open your mouth very wide.
- To stop the flow of wine, bring the porró back to level with a quick, sure movement. And (this should seem obvious, but is often strangely problematic) then close your mouth and swallow the wine.
Catalans have a number of other traditional tools for shared consumption:
- If you want to share water instead of wine, you should reach for a càntir (the traditional Catalan water jug).
- While Spaniards have enthusiastically adopted the porró (they call it a porrón), they also have their own traditional device for shared wine drinking: the leather squirt-sack known as the bota. In Catalonia, it is called a bot, and is sometimes used for olive oil as well as wine.
- If you mistakenly ask for the porro instead of the porró (that is, if you stress the first syllable instead of the last), you will be handed a marijuana joint.
TO START DRINKING LIKE A CATALAN: Check out www.tienda.com, a specialist in all sorts of goods from the Iberian peninsula, including reasonably priced porrós (search for “porrón”).