How To Make Spanish Wine Cocktails

Just add soda

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Rum and Coke, vodka and Sprite, Jameson and ginger ale: In the cocktail world, spirits and soda go together like Fred and Ginger. But what about soda and . . . wine?

Though the idea of mixing wine and soda may seem bizarre stateside, it's a popular way to drink in Spain, especially in summer. Wine-soda pairings come in many different forms, but the basic gist is similar to sangria: Doctor up wine with other flavors until you've achieved an effervescent and guzzle-able drink.

Unlike sangria, there's no prep required—no fruit to slice and dice, no booze to measure, no ingredients to steep. These are casual drinks, day drinks—the kind you Instagram yourself holding at the beach, the kind you pour yourself in a Solo cup by the pool. Nothing fancy, no expensive wine allowed, zero mixology skills required.

"They're unusual flavor combinations for sure," says Rachel Jackson, general manager at NYC's Huertas, which serves upscale versions of the Spanish wine coolers. "Most people in the States would never think of combining red wine and Coke, but it actually makes for a really refreshing drink."

And since it's lower in alcohol, Jackson adds, "You can try out different tastes and flavors without committing to all the liquor in a cocktail."

Below: three Spanish wine-and-soda cocktails to master before summer officially slips away.


What it is: Most popular in the Basque region, the Kalimotxo (that's cal-ee-MO-cho) is a curious combination of red wine and Coke. (No Pepsi, please. Respect tradition.) As far as the wine goes, look for something inexpensive and a little juicy, like Tempranillo.

To make it: Combine equal parts red wine and Coke over ice, and give it a quick stir. A slice of orange or lemon makes a nice garnish. Alternatively, drink down half a bottle or can of Coke and fill up the remainder with wine: a literal road soda.


What it is: It can be beastly hot—as in, April temps in the high 90s—in Jerez, the home of sherry, in the far southwest corner of Spain. Such weather calls for a refreshing cocktail that's low alcohol enough to drink all day; enter the rebujito, a combo of light, dry fino sherry; Sprite; and, critically, a mint garnish.

To make it: Combine two ounces of fino sherry (Tio Pepe is the classic) and four ounces of Sprite in a glass with ice. Garnish with a big, pretty mint sprig.

Tinto de Verano

What it is: Tinto de verano means "red wine of summer," and that's exactly what it is—an ideal day drink consisting of red wine and lemon-lime soda. It's almost sangria-like but much simpler.

To make it: Combine equal parts red wine and Sprite over ice, and give it a quick stir. Squeeze in a lemon wedge.  

Carey Jones is a New York-based food and travel writer and the author of Brooklyn Bartender: A Modern Guide to Cocktails and Spirits. Follow her on Twitter at @careyjones.