A sweet and simple red wine “cocktail” the Kalimotxo has origins rooted in the Basque region of Spain and has been enjoyed since the 1920s. Cringeworthy for wine lovers – but as they say don’t judge something until you have tried it!
The Kalimotxo has been around since the ’20s but it wasn’t until the ’70s that this simple drink really took off. The idea of “wasting” a good bottle of wine by mixing it with cola to most wine drinkers is blasphemous at best.
But just like many things desperation sparks innovation and this cocktail notion was revived by pure “desperation” during one fateful night at an event in Getxo, Spain.
Wine does not like heat so a summer festival storage mishap resulted in case of red wine developing a bit of a funky flavour. Throwing away cases of wine at a festival is money literally down the drain. To save the day they mixed the wine with cola and it sparked the revival of what has since been known as the Kalimotxo.
where did the Cocktail name come from?
The drink was named after one of the festival organizers Kalimero who was called by friends Kali. He turns out was not a very handsome man to be polite so they added the word “moxto” meaning “ugly” to the end naming the drink the “Ugly Kali” or Kalimotxo. Not very nice but heh… that’s how the story goes!
how do you prounce Kalimotxo?
The name of this cocktail is pronounced “cali-mocho”.
ingredients you’ll need
- Cola – You can use any cola you like including diet varieties for fewer calories.
- Red wine – A robust wine with higher tannins is preferred like a Garnacha, Tempranillo or Monastrell. The reason is for this is so that the wine flavour is not lost in the sweet effervescence of the cola.
- Lemon – Sliced thinly or as a wedge for a bright spark of citrus and flavour!
how to make a kalimotxo cocktail
- Fill a high ball glass halfway with ice.
- Add two thinly sliced lemon slices to the glass.
- Fill the glass half way or just over the top of the ice with red wine.
- Top up with cola, stir and serve.
What makes this red wine cocktail great?
Beyond the surprisingly refreshing taste of this red wine mixed drink, another reason for its popularity is that it has a relatively low alcohol content compared to other mixed cocktails. This makes it perfect for summer festivals or a day sitting out with friends where you may want to have more than one drink but still be able to get up and feel human in the morning.
Another reason to love this cocktail recipe is that it is made with simple ingredients and a recipe that is as simple as half wine, half cola. Really hard to mess up and just like the original doesn’t require expensive bottles of wine to make a tasty glass!
Another fun alternative is to place all the ingredients including the ice in a blender and blend to make a fun frosty drink perfect for a summer day.
other summer drinks to Try
- Skinny Strawberry Mojito
- Paloma Cocktail
- Skinny Pineapple Smoothie
- Cherry Lime Smoothie
- Frozen Bellini Mocktail
- Blueberry Lemon Iced Tea
Can this spanish cocktail be made with white wine?
Tinto de Verano is the white wine version of this red wine mixed cocktail and is made instead with white wine and pineapple juice or lemon soda.
- Highball glass
- Stir Stick
- 2 parts red wine Granacha, Tempranillo or Monastrell
- 2 parts cola
- 1-2 slices lemon sliced thinly
- Fill a highball glass halfway with ice.
- Add 1 or 2 thin lemon slices to the glass.
- Fill halfway with red wine or until just filled above the ice.
- Top up with equal parts cola. Stir and enjoy!
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Great drink but Careful with the spelling!
It’s “Kalimotxo” (not “Kalimoxto”)
Thanks Stephen, I am so glad you liked it and thanks for catching those typos!
I remember this drink from when I studied abroad in Spain in college and totally forgot about it until seeing this – thank you for jogging my memory! can’t wait to enjoy this again when I’ve got a bottle of wine to finish off!
It will be a great blast from the past!
Anything mixed with cola is perfect for me. Sounds so refreshing. And super easy to mix up. Saving this.
This was so delicious! I curled up with a good book and enjoyed this amazing drink.
What a pretty drink. Perfect for Valentine’s day. I cannot wait to try it.