These days, with the advent of the mixologist, cocktails seem to get more and more esoteric with each season. Smoked this, homemade bitters that…we respect creativity, but sometimes simplicity speaks the loudest.
Enter the classic Spanish cocktail, the Calimocho (or Kalimotxo in its native Basque.) Simple enough, it is equal parts red wine and Coca-Cola. This drink has an unusual and varied backstory that we’ll let you research on your own, but suffice to say, it is generally served and enjoyed by Spanish youths during traditional ‘botellón’ parties, or what American youths might call ‘pre-gaming’: gathering together for a few light drinks before heading out for the evening.
Never been to Spain? Well, once air travel is safe again, we highly recommend it. From its wondrous narrow streets,
to its amazing architecture,
to its picturesque parks and plazas,
and finally, to its cheeky restaurant murals, Spain is like nowhere else on Earth.
So, in the iconoclastic spirit of the Spanish lifestyle, we decided to jazz things up with a shot of Branca Menta (the Fratelli Branca’s mint flavored liqueur.) I recommend trying the classic combination first, and then adding a little something more. If the herbaceous tones of Fernet are not your style, you can also try an orange flavored liqueur such as Cointreau, Combier or Triple Sec, which will also work well.
3 oz. Underwood Pinot Noir
3 oz. (preferably Mexican) Coca-Cola
1 oz. Branca Menta
Start with 2 cups full of ice. Add the red wine. There is an old adage in professional kitchens: Never cook with wine that you wouldn’t want to drink. Well the same goes for wine cocktails. That’s why the Underwood is perfect for the Cali-Macho.
Next add the Coca-Cola. For the uninitiated, you can get Mexican Coke at most Taquerias around town. Besides from having just a bit more spice and depth than American Coke, it is actually still made with pure cane sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. And it comes in a vintage thick-bottomed glass bottle with an old school pop top!
Mix this well and then add an ounce of Branca Menta or your choice of flavored liqueur.
And there you have it. A delicious and refreshingly light cocktail to enjoy throughout the Fall.
From everyone in the Union Family, please stay safe out there and as always, keep those
Photography, Recipes & Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)