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How to Make Spanish Cocktails: Wine Cooler Recipes

Lena is a foodie and home cook from the SF Bay Area with a passion for Spanish flavors and traditional cooking with a modern touch.

Cocktail Recipes From Spain

When most people think of a Spanish wine cocktail, they immediately think of sangria. But actually, in Spain, sangria is considered a tourist drink. Instead, the locals opt for wine spritzers made with flavored sparkling water or soda pop.

It might sound strange, but one of the most popular drinks across Spain is tinto de verano (or "summer red wine"), which is equal parts red wine and a lightly sweetened lemon-lime beverage called "gaseola." It isn't easy to find the traditional brand, La Casera, here in the United States, so in my recipe, I have used half unsweetened sparkling water and half pop to emulate the authentic flavors.

But Wait, There's More!

There is also a similar cocktail with white wine. This spritzer is sometimes called blanca de verano, or more often, pitlingorri. You can substitute orange soda for the lemon-lime, as you can in the red wine version.

The kalimotxo (now often written "calimocho" for ease of pronunciation) is a combination of wine and coca-cola. Before the 1970s, it was known as a "rioja libre," but the name by which this cocktail is now known was reportedly invented in the 1970s in Spanish Basque Country. According to the story, a server at the Puerto Viejo festival noticed the wine was less than fantastic and began adding coke for sweetness. It is now a pretty universal drink consumed across Europe and South America, known by many different names.

Other Names for Wine and Cola

NameMeaningCountries

Bambus

"bamboo"

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia

Houba

"mushroom"

Czech Republic

Jote

"black vulture"

Chile

Jesus Juice

Argentina

Kalte Muschi

"cold pussy"

Germany

Katemba/Catemba/Ktembe

South Africa

Motorină

"diesel fuel"

Romania

Musolini

reference to Benito Mussolini

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia

Vadász

"hunter"

Hungary

Vörösboros Kóla/VBK

"wine and cola"

Hungary

Especially popular in Andalusia, the rebujito is another variation on the same theme, but this time with sherry. Manzanilla or Fino sherry wine is mixed with lemon-lime soda, sometimes served with fresh mint.

If you want a stronger cocktail, try agua de Valencia, which is very similar to the familiar mimosa but packing a punch of hard liquor as well. If you order this cocktail in Spain, it is made with cava. When making it at home, you can substitute any dry sparkling white or rosé wine. But wherever you drink it, it's dangerous; be sure you sip slowly and mind your tolerance. Enjoy responsibly, as they say!

Where Are These Drinks From?

How to Make Spanish Wine Spritzers at Home

Prep timeReady inYields

2 min

2 min

1 quart (four 8-oz servings)

Try these basic recipes as-is to get an idea of the flavor, then adjust as you see fit, making them more or less sweet by altering the amount of soda and wine.

Basic Instructions

  1. Mix ingredients.
  2. Serve over ice.

Tinto de Verano Recipe

This drink is also called "tinto verano" or "tinto con limón."

  • 1 cup lemon-lime soda
  • 1 cup lemon-lime sparkling water
  • 2 cups red wine

Garnish with lemon or lime wedge.

Pitlingorri Recipe

This drink is also known as "naranjocho" (with orange soda, specifically) or "caliguay," sometimes spelled "pitlin gorri."

  • 2 cups lemon lime or orange soda
  • 2 cups white wine

Garnish with a citrus slice.

Make a Single Serving

Calimocho Recipe

This drink is also known as "calimotxo" or "rioja libre." (See more regional names for this cocktail in the table earlier on the page.)

  • 2 cups cola
  • 2 cups red wine

Optional: Add a splash of blackberry liqueur.

A rebujito cocktail with mint

A rebujito cocktail with mint

Rebujito Recipe

  • 2 cups lemon-lime soda
  • 2 cups Fino or Manzanilla sherry

Garnish with lemon and mint.

Agua de Valencia

Agua de Valencia

Agua de Valencia Recipe

  • 1 3/4 cups orange juice
  • 1 3/4 cups sparkling white wine
  • 2 oz gin
  • 2 oz vodka

Garnish with orange.

These spritzers are quick and easy to make and extremely refreshing on a hot summer day. But even though I know it brands me as a tourist, I still enjoy a good glass of sangria, too. I have written several different sangria recipes for every season, but they require a little more time and effort and taste best when left to infuse overnight. If you want an authentic Spanish cocktail with minimal effort, these wine coolers are the way to go.

© 2017 Lena Durante