Red Wine and Coke Might Be Our New Favorite Easy Cocktail—Here’s How to Make This Spanish Concoction

Updated: Dec. 13, 2023

Mixing vino and Coca-Cola may sound weird, but the kalimotxo is a cocktail that's better than the sum of its parts.

If you say Spain to most people, the beverage that jumps to mind is sangria. Sangria conjures images of flamenco and bullfights and Costa del Sol. But the reality is that Spanish people do not drink a lot of sangria. In Spain, sangria is mostly a drink for tourists (Which is totally fine! We’re all tourists somewhere and sangria can be delicious!).  Instead, Spaniards opt for a different type of cocktail made with wine and soda, the most famous of which is the kalimotxo.

What Is a Kalimotxo?

A kalimotxo (or calimocho) is a mix of red wine and Coca-Cola. There is no better use for leftover red wine than this Spanish concoction. You will be amazed by how well a big, bold, oaky red wine blends with cola. Scandalize your wine snob friends!

What Is the History of the Kalimotxo?

A mix of red wine and Coke has existed in Spain since at least the 1920s. But until the mid-century, there was very little Coca-Cola available in the country—the first Coca-Cola plant in Spain didn’t open until 1953. Fast forward to the summer of 1972, during the festival of St. Nicholas festival in Spain’s Basque Country, in the town of Getxo. Festival organizers had bought 2,000 liters of red wine for the event, but when they tasted it… it was a little unpleasant. They suddenly had to find a way to sell the bad wine. Someone had the bright idea to mix the wine with Coca-Cola to mask the taste, and voila! The drink was born.

According to the legend reported by the Instituto Hemingway, one of the drink’s creators was a small man nicknamed “kali” (meaning “short”). Apparently, Kali was not very attractive, so they added the word “motxo” (meaning “ugly” in Basque). Thus the name kalimotxo was born. In the rest of Spain, the drink is often translated from Basque to Spanish, spelled calimocho.

Are There Other Popular Wine-Plus-Soda Cocktails in Spain?

Besides the kalimotxo, there are a number of wine-and-soda drinks that Spaniards love. Among them are the Rebujito (fino sherry mixed with 7-Up or Sprite and garnished with mint) and the Tinto de Verano (red wine mixed with 7-Up or Sprite and a squeeze of citrus). Wine lovers are often skeptical of these drinks, but trust me, they are delicious over ice on a hot day.

How to Make a Kalimotxo Cocktail

Boozy Kalimotxo Red Wine and Cola on a gray backgroundbhofack2/Getty Images

There really is no “recipe” for the classic Kalimotxo. You basically pour 3 to 4 ounces of red wine into an ice-filled glass and an equal amount of Coca-Cola. The drink works best with a bold, oaky wine like cabernet sauvignon or Spanish tempranillo, but any red wine works fine. You can squeeze a slice of lime in if you want to get fancier.

Fancier still is this recipe below for a Kalimotxo Premium, which adds an orange liqueur.

Kalimotxo Premium


  • ½ ounce Grand Marnier
  • 2 ounces red wine, preferably something bold and oaky
  • 3 to 4 ounces of Coca-Cola
  • Dash of Angostura bitters (optional)
  • Orange or lime wedge


In a large wine glass filled with several large ice cubes, pour the Grand Marnier. Then, add the red wine, then the Coca-Cola and finally a dash of bitters. Stir gently, then add citrus wedge. Here are a few tips to make wine taste better.

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