The Coolest Flask/Wineskin/Road-Drinking Companion/Picnic Wine Vessel: The Bota!

by  Mose Hayward
LAST UPDATED ON  2023-05-27
PUBLISHED ON  2016-07-07
Botas in a market in Barcelona; photo by Flydime
Botas in a market in Barcelona; photo by Flydime

Your Thirsty Guide

Mose Hayward

Gets Tipsy from Wine-Squirting Goat Bladders

Sure, you could take a bottle of wine on a picnic in Italy, on a flask of vodka on the overnight train from Saint Petersburg to Moscow.

But the best road drinking gear comes from Spain: the bota.

These drink sacks are made from leather with an inside lining of goat bladder, pitch or — nowadays — food-safe latex.

Their chief convenience is that with a bota you do not carry wine glasses, you rather squirt your drink of choice directly into your mouth.

This is also the thrill and danger of drinking from a bota. With just a bit of practice, one squirt wine as flawlessly as the pictured bullfighter and dressed just as flamboyantly without worrying about wine dribbles down one’s tie or tights.

When empty, botas also conveniently take up little space in your carry-on luggage, so you can get through airport security without a hassle, refill with water, and travel hydrated.

If you’re in the sun, you can wet the outer goat skin leather with water; its evaporation naturally cools the bota’s contents.

Traditionally botas are used with wine or water, but cognac, juices and any other liquid can also be carried.

There are various options available on Amazon; one quality brand that comes in different sizes is Rothco; there are one-liter and two-liter versions.

How to Use a Bota, the Ingenious Spanish Leather Wine Sack

  1. Grasp the bota with one hand by its middle; a beginner may want to use two hands, with the helper hand guiding the nozzle.
  2. A novice should also begin with the tip of the bota as close to their mouth as possible.
  3. Tip back your head slightly, open your mouth wide and squirt.
  4. Stop the flow of wine/water/whatever with a quick, sure movement. Also, do remember to close your mouth! Many beginners execute the first three steps flawlessly, only to spill wine out of their still-open mouths when finishing off the move.

2 thoughts on “The Coolest Flask/Wineskin/Road-Drinking Companion/Picnic Wine Vessel: The Bota!”

  1. I bought one of these and it had a little paper that included steps in preparation and conservation of the wineskin.

    My question is, do I need to follow the ‘preparation’ steps before I can actually use the bota?

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