{cocktail} The Kalimotxo

I was cooking with red wine just now, and had about half an open bottle, so I thought, heck, it’s Friday afternoon, I’m going to make myself a kalimotxo!

Kalimotxo (pronounced kah-lee-MOO-choe)  is a fancy Basque word meaning “1/2 red wine and 1/2 cola”. About 20 years ago we had a Basque exchange student and my family has been drinking them ever since.

A more recent trip to Bilbao and San Sebastian confirmed that this is actually a really popular drink at bars and such, not just some Fernando-specific anomaly as I had previously suspected. In Spain they usually use Rioja, presumably because that’s what they’ve got lying around, but pretty much any hearty red wine will do. Before you start thinking “what the f*** kinda trashy broad mixes coke and wine together?” let me assure you that this is a more tasty and refreshing drink than you might imagine. Some people use ice and some people just use a really cold coke and a room temperature wine. It’s always served in a stemless glass, like a water glass or a highball glass, never ever filled all the way to the top. I don’t know why that is. It just is.

Sure, you can drink these at home, but a kalimotxo is also a great thing to get if you’re at, say, a party where they’re serving only crappy wine and soft drinks, or on a night when maybe you want to take it easy and/or mix uppers and downers without resorting to red bull (iwww). So if you’re in a poor wine situation but really want to get your drink on, you can order a glass of red wine, a coke, and an extra glass, do a little mixy mixy and BOOM you’ve got 2 good drinks! Or, like, if you’re in the Basque country. According to Wikipedia they drink this in other countries too, but of all the places they list the only place I have ever really seen large numbers of people ordering this at a bar is in Spain.

A note about the name: Basque is a crazy-a$$ language with tons of k’s and x’s and z’s. In the rest of Spain you’ll probably see it spelled “calimocho” or “calimucho” or “kalimucho” but it’s all the same thing. And lest you’re not a fan of coke, have no fear: just ask for a tinto de verano and you’ll get red wine and sprite! As the Basque say: ¡Eskerriska!

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9 Responses

  1. Andi says:

    This sounds so gross, but I have to say I’m curious. The next time I have soda in the house, I’ll give it a try. (I always have cheap wine in the house.)

  2. Caroline says:

    Hey! Julie never mentioned this drink over all these years! I must try — wine makes me sleepy so sounds like a perfect combo without the caffeine overdose. Thanks, Karen.

  3. admin says:

    I have to share this: my friend Amir came up with a new name for this, COKE AU VIN. I love it!

  4. Caroline says:

    Just noticed that Humphrey-Slocombe on Harrison has/had “a Coke-and–Côtes du Rhône sorbet memorializing Michael Jackson”!


  5. My son told me to check out your blog and I must say I’m impressed, very helpful.

  6. Sean says:

    So many crappy wine party opportunities wasted. Well, I guess it’s never too late!

  7. Jen says:

    I have a bunch of red wine and cola left over from a party, so I made kalimotxo after finding it somewhere online and yea, it’s oddly amazing. The first sip I tried to make sense of the flavors, but they blend effortlessly. Cheap and doesn’t make me sleepy, not too mention it’s warming.

  8. Perfect for airplane wine and airplane soda.