Monday, May 24, 2010


Now doesn’t that look delicious? And refreshing? Notice the lovely purple foam created by me dropping an ice cube in for extra chilled deliciousness. It’s called Calimocho (from the Basque word Kalimotxo) a beverage that I discovered while abroad in Madrid that may sound gross, but may actually be one of the more perfect drink combinations I’ve come across.

It’s the lazy woman’s sangria. It makes cheap red wine into a crisp cool summer drink. Yet, not only does it not require brandy. It does not need fruit. It does not need seltzer. No, all you need to enjoy is a fancy glass (or to-go cup if you are on the run to the park or the movies) a bottle of 3 buck chuck (Trader Joe’s fans, you know what I’m talking about), and a liter of cola.

The typical serving cup in Espana was a liter glass (made of plastic) and filled with ice first. These were called “Mini’s” in Spain, which was mighty confusing to a foreigner who interprets Mini to mean small. Let’s just say I was quite surprised and alarmed when I ordered my first Mini and campaigned to the bartender that it be renamed Maxi. He didn’t get it.

I prefer diet pepsi for low cal delicious, but any store brand or preference will do. I’m pretty sure in Spain Coca-Cola lite was the way to go, but there soda was made with real sugar so there was no chemical or calorie debate when choosing Lite or Regular.

Now, open both bottles. Get your ice tray ready. I pour in the wine first, until the glass is half full. Then fill the glass the rest of the way with your Cola of choice, and drop in 1-3 ice cubes depending on the size of your beverage, and the heat of the day. This is how you achieve the purple foam (if that grosses you out, put the ice in first).

That’s right, it IS that easy. 50% cola, 50% soda and a healthy dose of ice. I know. It does not sound appealing, but I assure you it is SO good. The soda sweetens up the wine a little, and gives you a caffeine boost to counteract the sleepy effect of red wine. AND as a bonus, there is no cheap red wine so disgusting that it doesn’t taste good mixed with soda. Just think of it as a twist on the wine spritzer. See? It IS a perfect summer drink.

Versions of Calimocho are popular across Spain, in Chile, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, and Slovenia among others. Could that many countries really be wrong? All you Oenophiles stop turning your noses up, and don’t knock it till you try it. I guarantee it is not half as bad as you think.


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