Screw It: Beyond Sangria

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You enter a bar and find that it has no worthwhile beer, and their wine list consists of red or white. Out of luck? No: the Spanish Calimocho is your odd yet tasty solution.
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Mike Supple: What do you do when you pop that bottle of red wine and it just tastes gross? One word: calimocho.

You're watching "Screw It" on SuppleWine - I'm your host, Mike Supple.

Today I'm tackling the issue of Coca-cola and wine. Sounds pretty odd. I have some friends who went over to China and showed me photographic evidence in the grocery stores: stacks of wine next to stacks of Coke. People would buy these and mix them together.

I've read some interesting online wine boards that show people getting rather uptight about the Chinese mixing wine with Coke, but I don't see what the problem is. There is concern that the Chinese are just mixing expensive bottles of collectible wine with Coca-cola and just slamming them back without appreciating the wine whatsoever. If that's how they enjoy it, then who really cares? But the issue is that most of the wine being mixed is not the stupidly expensive and collectible bottles. The bottles of wine that they are mixing are bottles that cost maybe three dollars in a grocery store. And it's wine that wouldn't taste very good on its own that they're mixing with Coke to give it a little flavor and make it more consumable.

Stop blaming the Chinese. It's not a Chinese phenomenon - in fact, it was started in Basque country in Spain. And it's done all over the world...except for the US. In the United States we seem to be straying away from wine coolers, which are dying a pretty slow death. But this isn't a wine cooler, it's a make-it-yourself Coke, wine, odd, delicious, weirdness, alcohol-y, hmm.... Think if it as Dr. Pepper on steroids, or a Cherry Coke that got a little lift.

Calimocho (Kalimotxo in the original Basque) is a 50/50 blend of Coca-cola and red wine. Why do they do this? In the Basque country they wanted to figure out something to do with their wines that weren't particularly good, and they wanted to make it drinkable. When you're having wine you're not always going to try to evaluate every bottle - sometimes you just want a pleasant drink to help get your buzz going. If you start with a wine that's around 12% alcohol and mix it half and half with Coke, you end up with a drink that's around 6%, which is higher in strength than most domestic beer.

Ice. Red wine (we're using Spanish wine since it's a Spanish thing). Coke. Calimocho.

I can't stop drinking it. Easy to drink and refreshing. It's got some of the fruit from the wine. I'm not really going to bother picking out any specific flavors - it just tastes sweet, fruity and bubbly. It's nice and cold. That's really not bad at all.

Let's say you're looking for a little pick-me-up at a bar. Red Bull and vodka? It's kind of gross. Tastes disgusting. It's gross. Ask for a Rioja Libre. A Cuba Libre is rum and coke. They make rum in Cuba and Libre apparently means Coke ins Spanish [no]. Spanish red wine - Rioja. Mix it with Coke and you have a Rioja Libre.

What if you don't like red wine or Coke? Aside from being a little bit strange, you're not completely out of luck. What we have for you is the Caliguay. Bottle of white wine. Grab some Sprite. Have yourself a caliguay. I'm getting a candied gummi bear quality in there. Probably the sugar from the Sprite with all the citrus from the Sauvignon Blanc. That's nice. We're still talking about five, five and a half percent alcohol so it's stronger than a beer.

So what's the point? Why do this? Let's say you're at your local store and you're buying whatever their bargain bin is for the day. You get the four dollar bottle of wine home and it tastes gross. You still spent that four dollars, so rather than dumping it down the drain, spend another dollar on a bottle of Coke and you're good to go.

Head into your favorite local bar and throw off your bar tender. School him in it. Tell him to take a glass, fill it with ice, half Coke, half red wine. See what you think. Because if every other country's doing it, it can't be wrong.

Mike Supple mixing wine and Coca-cola to make a calimocho.

Mike Supple mixing wine and Coca-cola to make a calimocho.

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