Kalimotxo with Homemade Cola

I don't know if sangria ever really had it's "moment" like frosé or neon martinis did, but I definitely had a my moment with sangria. I had a lot of moments with sangria. Not the good kind of sangria like we typically make today or like you'll see on the cover of home living magazines either. I'm talking like... street sangria. The kind you either buy pre-made in a big plastic jug or the kind you make by simply combining cheap red wine, cola, and ginger ale.

*cue dream sequence music*

It all started when I was about ten years old and would eat the sangria-soaked little blobs of orange and lime out of the sangria punch bowl at family parties. I was pretty enamored with how they managed to taste both fresh and completely full of sugar at the same time, so I made it a habit of sneaking them whenever no one was looking. If the party was big enough and there was enough food and drinks going around, it was incredibly easy to pull off. Once my pint-sized but still plump fingers had dived tip-first into the sangria bowl, all it took was a quick snatch of citrus and a little twirl and step away for it to look like I was just eating fresh fruit. I was a sneaky little bitch. Not much has changed honestly. 

*end dream sequence music*

Again, this childhood sangria was cheap cheap cheap sugary sweet sangria that responsible adults only would've bought in the late 90s / early 21st century. This was back when Whole Foods and veganism were still weird. Flash-forward to college and you can only imagine how quickly my love of sangria truly blossomed, especially once I met Matt. We mixed all kinds of citrus juices and $8 bottles of wine and ginger syrups and all of the other things in our little college apartment that maybe wasn't actually fit to live in.

Anyhow, now that we've had a good few years of making all of the fancy sangrias in the world, it's time to throw it back to my sangria roots with this cola + red wine duo that isn't actually a sangria but is very similar to what I would've considered sangria back in the day. This drink is actually called a "Kalimoxto" and originally came to be a thing in Spain just recently and according to Wikipedia it's become an icon of Spanish culture which like hey maybe that's not true but I like it!

So yes, this is kind of like my favorite cheap sangria from long ago, just maybe a little more classy. Think of it like the Real Housewives of New York compared to the Real Housewives of New Jersey or McDonald’s compared Burger King: still kinda trashy but maybe not the least classy thing out there. To really up the "craft" level of this beverage, we're making a homemade cola that has beautifully deep flavors of ginger and cinnamon and citrus. It gets topped off with a little pour of red wine and sparkling water before we're filling that glass to the brim with crushed ice and plopping a straw in there to really speed up this whole glass-to-mouth scenario. You can find the full recipe below, cuties! Check out the very end of this post for even more of our favorite guilty pleasure favorites turned kinda fancy! 



(Wine & Cola)

makes 1

  • 1 ½ ounces cola syrup (recipe below)

  • 3 oz. red wine (medium bodied such as Rioja or Cotes du Rhone)

  • 4 oz. club soda

Add the cola syrup and wine to your serving glass followed by the club soda. Give a good stir before adding ice (if desired) and enjoy!


Cola Syrup

makes 5 cups

  • 1 quart filtered water

  • 1 quart sugar

  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 lime, and 2 oranges

  • 3 cinnamon sticks, broken into a few pieces

  • 2 teaspoons coriander seed

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2" nub of fresh ginger, sliced into thin rounds

  • 1/4 cup browning sauce (we used Kitchen Bouquet)

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, whisk together the water, sugar, lemon zest, lime zest, orange zest, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, and ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking until the sugar is dissolved.

  2. Remove the pot from heat and whisk in the citrus juice, browning sauce, and vanilla extract. Let cool before using a wire mesh strainer to strain out the solids. Reserve the syrup for use in your homemade kalimotxo. Syrup can be kept in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.


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