This Old-School Spanish Party Trick Is the Only Way I’m Drinking Red Wine This Summer

published Jul 3, 2024
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I love a nice, crisp glass of wine in the summertime. For me that means a chilled white wine or rosé. Red wine, on the other hand, feels like a fall drink. I associate it with rich, warming fall meals like braised short ribs and roasted root vegetables, which I will heartily tuck into when it’s cold out. 

That said, I was very curious when I came across a popular two-ingredient cocktail from Spain, called kalimotxo (pronounced ca-lee-mocho), which mixes red wine with cola to create a fizzy, refreshing red wine concoction that’s perfect for warm weather. I had to try it.

How to Make a Kalimotxo

It’s rumored that this drink originated in the 1920s in the Basque region of Spain where some wine had gone bad at a festival and needed saving. The story goes that the organizers added cola to the wine to make it more palatable. 

As I didn’t have any open or unsatisfactory bottles of wine lying around, I experimented with what I did have, a bottle of lambrusco. I mixed equal parts wine and classic Coca-Cola in a glass with ice and garnished with a lime wedge. I was pleased to find that adding cola really did turn the red wine into something more summery and light. It reminded me of sangria, but like a shortcut sangria. I highly recommend giving this a try. It’s certainly opened my eyes to the world of summertime red wine.

Tips for Making a Kalimotxo

  • It’s a great way to use up older wine. If you have a bottle that’s maybe been open a bit too long, or you didn’t love the flavor of, this is the perfect way to bring it back to life.
  • Add garnishes. I added a lime wedge, but a wedge of lemon or other citrus would also be good. I’ve even seen recipes call for olives as garnish, which sounds like a lovely contrast.
  • A dash of bitters adds depth. It’s not mandatory, but if you enjoy the flavor of bitters, a few dashes of classic angostura bitters tastes great.