AS THE weeks wear on, and the comedown from Memorial Day, Pride Month, and the Fourth of July starts to settle in, there’s no better cure for summer ennui than a movie in the park. Thanks to inflatable screens and digital projectors, you don’t necessarily need to be in a big city to catch a classic with hundreds of your neighbors (although it helps). But you do need something to sip on as the late-evening sun slips below the horizon, and Back to the Future II starts rolling.
Cue up the Kalimotxo (Calimocho).
Everyone has heard of rum and coke. It’s right up there in the pantheon of simple cocktails you don’t need to be a trained bartender to pull off, and it can be surprisingly tasty with a few tweaks. Think of the Kalimotxo as a rum and coke having a semester abroad: It’s equal parts red wine and cola. That’s it. That’s the drink. And it’s exceptionally easy to tote to the park in a bag.
“Some people look down on the drink, but putting on our bar-owner hats, it’s actually well-balanced,” says Brianna Volk, co-owner of Little Giant in Portland, Maine, which has a Kalimoxto on its menu made with Moxie, a gentian-flavored soda. “The tannins in the wine balance out the too-sweet Coca-Cola. It just makes a refreshing and incredibly accessible cocktail.”
Plus, she continues, “It’s just a fun, but kind of weird drink. It makes us want to eat lots of seafood or grill steaks for a picnic. We know when we start making them, we are going to have a great night.”
The Kalimotxo has been around since the 1920s, but it wasn’t until the first Coca-Cola factory opened in Spain in the 1950s that the drink started to gain popularity in Spain’s northern Basque region, where it originated as a way to drink not-so-great red wine.
You might see variations with additional wine or with such garnishes as a lemon or lime wheel, but equal parts offers the right balance of buzz — caffeine and wine — to keep you relaxed but alert, so you can stay film-focused. Here we swap out plain cola for Cherry Coke Zero; its restrained sweetness and fruity flavor are a better match for the tannins in the wine. This drink will be tasty with any red wine you have handy, but big and bold Spanish reds work best.
6 oz. red wine, such as Spanish Rioja or temperanillo
6 oz. Cherry Coke Zero
Combine in a large, park-friendly (unbreakable) cup filled with ice. One standard 750 mL bottle of wine will make four cocktails. — Bloomberg