Make the Best of Cheap Wine With This 2-Ingredient Spanish Cocktail

March 21, 2017

This article is brought to you by Clarkson Potter. Head here to learn more about the new cookbook Joy the Baker Over Easy by Joy Wilson.

Where's that one spot in your home where you like to linger during slow mornings, either in solitude or with a few friends on the weekend? Maybe it's those chairs in that sun-drenched corner, the butcher-block kitchen counter, or just settled in at your dining table.

For me, it's outside, and there are actually two nooks: Under a pergola with an overgrown wisteria vine (I'm waiting patiently for you to bloom, wisteria!) and next to a makeshift fire pit in big Adirondack chairs. Coffee and eggs are necessary when it's just me, but I like to have something more substantial, plus boozy drinks, when there are other humans present before noon.

Long, lazy mornings (like the one I'm conjuring in my head now), and what to eat and drink during them, is the subject of writer and baker Joy Wilson's new cookbook Joy the Baker Over Easy. And it, as if after my heart out of the gates, kicks off with a whole chapter dedicated to cocktails. Tucked in among the micheladas, sangrias, and mimosas is a drink with Spanish origins, the Kalimotxo. Made by mixing red table wine with cola, the Kalimotxo hails from Spain's Basque region and, as Joy notes, should have a place at your next extended brunch session:

A Kalimotxo (pronounced cal-ee-MO-cho) elicits one of two reactions: a raised eyebrow in suspicion at both the pronunciation and ingredient list, or a knowing nod of the head in remembrance of post-college backpacking trips through Spain. One part red wine. One part cane-sugar cola. A lot of crushed ice. A good squeeze of lime. Opt for a cheap red wine, like a Spanish Rioja or Italian table wine from Trader Joe’s. Set your suspicions aside for this delicious afternoon brunch accompaniment.

And, while it may not be traditional, I like to think you can make the Kalimotxo your own by tweaking here and there.

  • Add herbs like basil (for lime) and rosemary or thyme (if you are using more lemons) as a garnish.

  • Muddle the spent limes, or fresh lemon rounds, in the bottom of your glasses before topping them off with the drink for extra citrus.

  • Slip in a little something extra, like a shot of amaro or vermouth.

  • Scale up and serve in a punch bowl for bigger crowds, and float lots of citrus rounds on top.

  • Experiment with flavored colas to mimic or balance the flavors of your favorite table wine.

This article is brought to you by Clarkson Potter. Head here to learn more about the new cookbook Joy the Baker Over Easy by Joy Wilson.

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I love oysters and unfussy sandwiches.


Cathy W. April 4, 2017
In South Africa we call it a Katemba - Portuguese origins. I have it with Sprite - and call it a Katemba Blonde !
Allison C. March 22, 2017
I did my study abroad in Madrid and as a broke college student, this drink and clara con limón (light beer mixed with fanta) were my go-tos!
Kaite March 21, 2017
I remember the first time a Spaniard made this for me. I thought they were nuts. Turns out it actually wasn't all that bad!