I used to work at a bar in Queens where a fellow bartender and I would regularly develop new cocktail menus to highlight the flavors of each season. While testing out recipes for a summer menu one year, we realized we had developed a few too many labor-intensive drinks that could cause backups at the bar on busy nights — it was time for a drink that was quick to mix up, but still tasted great.
A coworker saved the day by suggesting a Basque Country staple: The Kalimotxo (pronounced cali-moh-cho). This simple mix of red wine and Coca-Cola on ice sounds weird, but tastes like a refreshing sangria — without all the work. The combination of flavors brings out the sweetness of the red wine without being overpowering, while the effervescence from the Coke is a bubbly pick-me-up for sweltering afternoons. Plus, this is the perfect time to break out an inexpensive red (you don’t want to be making a mixed drink with a rare wine). The kalimotxo really has it all — it’s cheap, refreshing and totally unexpected!
The recipe is simple:
1. Fill a glass with ice.
2. Fill the glass three-quarters full of red wine (I picked up a bottle of tempranillo for this recipe to keep the Spanish theme going, but you could use any full-bodied red).
3. Top with Coke.
4. Add a straw, stir and enjoy the most surprising drink of the summer!