Kalimotxo: It’s Basque For Red Wine And Coke

This sounds crazy wrong but trust me: two rights make a right.

The last thing anyone wants to do on a Friday night is shop for obscure cocktail ingredients, especially when the weather is nice. (And depending on where you are, that nice weather may only last another five minutes.) In this position recently, I recalled a Spanish restaurant endorsing some red wine-and-Coke (the soda) combo. I asked my friend Momo, an avid traveler of Basque descent, if this was in my imagination. He emailed:

Yeah, we used to drink that stuff in Spain, we called it calimocho, or kalimotxo (Basque spelling). The mixture was equal parts cheap red wine, from a box mostly always, and Coca-Cola. It’s one of the drinks of choice for the bottelon, a BYOB social gathering that takes place in public spaces.You might say it’s an acquired taste and after the third glass I acquired it.

Momo first tried the drink in Barcelona, where he’d go to free Manu Chao concerts with plastic Coke bottles full of kalimotxo, which sounds like a pretty good time to me. He said it makes a great “road soda” due to its discrete coloring. It’d also be a great beer alternative at a barbeque: refreshing, cheap, and easy. If it’s good enough for hordes of Spanish teenagers, it’s good enough for me. Salud!

Tips for Lazy and Creative Boozers

• First: it’s red wine and Coke — not gonna get much easier, folks.

• I think Coke Zero tastes eerily like the real thing, so I wanted to do a kalimotxo taste test. The bagel shop where I stopped for sodas had no Coke Zero but they did have TAB, which I tried out of sheer disbelief that it still exists. I do not suggest you do the same.

• My boyfriend had an open bottle of Spanish red wine hanging around, so we used that. But boxed wine, as Momo said, might be more traditional.

• Drink this with ice! The boyfriend also had some Maraschino cherries in the fridge (no idea), so I added a couple to my drink. Verdict: “Enhanced Cherry Coke.”

• I asked for straws with the sodas, which gave me the idea that the kalimotxo would also be a great candidate for the movies. Try it with Twizzlers!

Jenni Avins mixes drinks in her New York kitchen, where she also writes about food, fashion, travel, and the arts for various magazines and websites. She makes videos too.

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