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3 British legacies that Menorca preserves

During the 18th century Menorca was under British rule for 71 years, and the island still retains this cultural legacy, with old English phrases threaded into its language, architectural and building terms plus a wonderful military heritage. There are still fortresses, watch towers, bridle paths, gastronomy from that period and - that particular liquor that was and remains so popular on the island – gin.

Bini Hotels recommend guests 3 things from the British occupation that you must discover while you are on holiday in Menorca:

1. A long and refreshing glass of gin with lemonade while you watch the Menorcan sunset

The British sailors and soldiers all loved this alcoholic drink. Apparently it was a Dutch doctor in the 14th century that came up with the idea of adding juniper berries to firewater to cure stomach ailments and even the plague.

The troops living in Menorca missed this traditional tavern drink so much that Menorcan artisans decided to make gin themselves. There is currently only one artisan distiller on the island, which is Xoriguer on Mahón Harbour.

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Actualmente es muy popular mezclarla con limonada, una combinación que llamamos “pomada” o, simplemente, “gin con limonada”. En las fiestas de los pueblos de Menorca es la bebida habitual y tomarla bien fresca en una playa, mirando el mar cuando llega el atardecer es un placer. Si estás hospedado en nuestro Hotel S'Estil·let, te la preparemos en la terraza para que la disfrutes con tu pareja.

Here everyone likes to combine it with lemonade, which is called “pomada” or just “gin with lemonade”. It is enjoyed at the fiestas in all of Menorca’s towns, to cool down on the beach or as you watch the sun go down. As guests at our S'Estil·let Hotel , we prepare it for you to sip on the terrace with your partner.

2. A British-style breakfast pastry

200 years on, Menorcan gastronomy is still influenced by traditional English recipes and cooking methods. One example is the British pudding known as “greixera dolça. It’s made with pastry, bread, ricotta, marrow or sweet potato, and makes a delicious dessert or breakfast with your morning coffee. Ask for it at our restaurant S'Engolidor.

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And when we do a meat roast, we make “grevi” as a sauce to go with it. This mix of the juices from the meat and slowly-cooked vegetables is our English “gravy”.

The British also introduced us to lard, used in their traditional recipes instead of oil.

3. A lasting legacy of curious windows

​This architectural feature dates way back, but here there are still many houses with overhanging windows that sit out from the main façade. These are called “boinders” from the English word “bow windows”, a legacy from British times along with sash windows and green shutters, you will see plenty in both Mahón and Ciutadella.

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If you haven’t visited Menorca before, you may well have seen photos of the brightly whitewashed houses in the sunlight, but there are others painted in ochre red which the British favoured.

They say that the high-ranking British officers chose to paint their houses this reddish colour to differentiate them from the humble Menorcan abodes.

The British legacy is still visible, with fairs and artisan markets being held. It’s an important part of life in Menorca which lives on. Which of the British legacies still preserved in Menorca do you like best?

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