Kalimotxo by Beatriz Garcia Sanchez

Kalimotxo [kal-ee-moht-cho] is a drink consisting of approximately 50% red wine and 50% cola-based soft drink.

Alternative names include Rioja libre, and in Chile the drink is known as jote (Chilean Spanish for the Black Vulture), and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia and other former Yugoslav republics it is known as bambus (meaning bamboo) and musolini (as in Benito Mussolini). In the Czech Republic it is known as houba (meaning mushroom), and in Hungary as Vadász (meaning hunter) or vörösboros kóla or VBK for short. In Mozambique and South Africa it is known as Catemba, and in Germany it is sometimes called Korea.

A common way of serving calimocho is in one liter drinking glasses made of plastic, called minis, cachi, macetas, litros, cubalitros or jarras. The mixture is made directly in this one-liter mini, and often the bottles of cola are reused to make more of the mixture. This is done by emptying half of a two-litre cola bottle and adding one litre of red wine to the bottle. Ice is usually added to the drink. The minis are then shared among the group of drinkers, especially during the botellón drinking street gatherings.

In times of fewer available resources, a common occurrence among Spanish youth, (lack of one liter ‘mini’) drastic measures are taken by young Spaniards in order to save money. One common cheap way of mixing Calimocho involves a plastic bag and the Tetra Brik cartons of cheap red wine (Don Simón is a common brand). An entire two liter bottle of Coca-Cola and two liters of wine are emptied into a plastic shopping bag. Once the concoction is mixed in the bag, the bag is squeezed tightly around the rim of the two liter Coca-Cola bottle and the contents of the bag are poured into the bottle. The now-empty Tetra Brik wine cartons are fully opened and peeled back as to mimic the function of the ‘mini’. The Coca-Cola bottle is then used as a distribution device to fill the makeshift ‘mini.’

Similar concoctions using red wine include pitilingorri or caliguay (50% white wine and 50% lemon-flavored soft drink), (see spritzer); pitilin gorri (50% red wine and 50% orange soda).’Tinto de verano,’ more common outside of the Basque country, is half red wine and half ‘Casera,’ a mildly sweet sparkling water. In another variation, one may add to the 50/50 cola and red wine drink a dash of the Greek apertif Ouzo to create a cocktail called a Pallas.

It is not clear where the name comes from. In early 70s it was called Rioja Libre or Cuba Libre del pobre (poor man’s Cuba Libre) in some Spanish provinces.

2 Comments to “Kalimotxo”

  1. Hi! thanks for sharing my illustration but I admit that I don’t like so much if you changed it…without my name…

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