Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Very Spanish Invention....The Garrafonix

The first time I ever opened a bottle of whisky in Spain I wondered about the little paper seal covering the top of the bottle. Maybe I even asked myself whether the bottles could get refilled. After having lived here a bit longer I became familiar with the concept of garrafon, the idea that the drinks you get served in many of Spain's numerous bares de copas are not necessarily the real thing. There are different varieties of the garrafon tale, and it's hard to know whether some are urban legends. Perhaps the most common is the notion that the bottles lined up behind the bar have been refilled with a cheaper brand of the product they are supposed to contain. You think you are buying Johnnie Walker and you get Dyc. Another version is that the manufacturers themselves have different grades of their own products and that the one they supply to the bars is a lower quality variety. In the worst case it is simply that the drink in question has been adulterated, either with water or with something more harmful.

To some extent garrafon can also become the excuse for excess. The reason you feel so bad on Saturday morning is because the bar sold you bad alcohol, not because you drank the best part of a bottle of whisky! Anyway, science has come to the rescue with the invention of the Garrafonix, the inventor claims that dipping this into your drink will reveal whether you have been sold the real thing. Of course the problem is what to do if your Garrafonix displays the skull and crossbones. Take it up with the owner of the bar and the best response you might get is a finger pointing to the sign that says salida. Now all we need is an invention to deal with the 15-20% of Spanish concert audiences who are prepared to pay 20-50 euros to go to a concert where they completely ignore the performance and chat as loudly as possible with their friends the whole time. I'm looking for something similar to the device that is supposed to stop dogs from barking, but which works on a more selective point and click basis. A blowpipe and tranquilizer dart would do the trick but security at these events can be funny about that sort of thing.


Pueblo girl said...

Are you serious? Or is this wishful thinking? I want one immediately. Likewise, have you seen the new invention for "escancianing" cider, like the old soda syphon bottle attachments which were once such a source of fun before I discovered fire extinguishers? Another must have.

Graeme said...

I think if you really want to buy it you should find it over at The cider device I've come across in Asturias for those bars where they obviously don't want people pouring half their cider on the floor.