A typical Friday night could involve some cheap red wine. Sure. And maybe some Coke? Of course, for the perfect mixer. Red wine is a classic drink, as is Coke. But, in my opinion, putting the two together sounds like an iffy combination, to say the least. However, the Spanish have been mixing up this concoction for a while now. A crowd favorite that's especially popular amongst Spanish teens, this concoction is called “kalimotxo” (pronounced cal-ee-MO-cho). It consists of a simple 50-50 mix of red wine and Coke, served over lots of ice.

The Origins of Kalimotxo

This red wine and Coke cocktail can be traced back to Spain in the 1970s, when it was originally called “roja libre.” In 1972, it was renamed to kalimotxo by a group of servers at a festival who noticed that the wine they were serving wasn't good. They mixed the red wine with the only thing they had on hand (good ‘ole Coca-Cola) and decided the combination was drinkable. 

Surprisingly, Coke easily masked the sour taste of cheap red wine. After that, the cocktail took off and became widely popular throughout the Basque region. Since then, this drink not only spread across Spain, it became quite a hit in nations across Europe. Fun fact: Romanians actually refer to the drink as motorina, aka diesel fuel. Watch out!

How does it taste?

If you’re skeptical as to the taste, red wine and Coke mixed together is just as refreshing a beverage as the two drinks are separately. The taste is described by Marie Claire's Samantha Leal as, "a lot of coke with a little bit of a wine aftertaste." The caffeine from the Coke makes the cocktail an ideal afternoon pick-me-up to prepare for that long night ahead. Some of the most common types of wine used in kalimotxo include chianti, rioja, or tempranillo.

It’s such a popular drink throughout Europe that there must be a reason people keep coming back to it. In Spain, the cocktail is often served with tapas or other savory foods. Count me in! 

Why should you try it?

The inexpensive price tag and lack of bartender skills required are the real selling points of this cocktail. Cheap red wine is a staple among young adults and Coke is just as popular, hence why the drink is nicknamed a 'poor man's sangria.' Those two ingredients, ice, and maybe a red solo cup are all that you need to become a kalimotxo mixologist.

If these points haven't sold you yet, give the drink a try to embrace the Spanish culture. Trying this concoction of bubbly goodness might just transport you to a breezy, summer afternoon in Spain. 

Even if you’re hesitant, ordering a kalimotxo at the next bar you go to is sure to strike up a conversation. If you’re really feeling adventurous, mix up your own 50-50 red wine and Coke cocktail for the next tailgate and see what your friends think of this tried and true Spanish drink.