Kalimotxo (But You Didn’t Hear It From Me, I Swear)



Oh, Spain spain spain. El Bulli Basque Blah Chorizo Pimenton Spain Spain Spain. Serrano Croquetas Mahon Zamorano Cava Rioja Morcilla Lomo Spain Spain Spain. Spain Spain Spain.

There, I feel better.

Lest you think I’m being sarcastic, I am not. I love Spain. Let me say it again: I love Spain. It’s where my family’s ancestors come from, genealogically speaking. And I’m proud to sport a crazy long and OLD Basque surname. I love my Spanish friends and I love the way Spanish people welcome me into their homes when I visit their glorious country, sharing long meals with me that go deep into the night.

With that said, I’d like to veer just a little bit off the path of Spain’s culinary hotness and talk about something so trashy, so silly, so Spanish: Kalimotxo.

Kalimotxo (pronounced Calimucho) is one of those things that I secretly love but never admit to drinking outside of my close circle of friends. It’s a concoction of cheap red wine, ice, syrup and Coke and enjoyed in the Basque country. Yes, you read that right. A glorified wine cooler, vulgar and crude. AND I LOVE IT!

Like all regional specialties, what goes into a Kalimoxto changes wherever you are at. Add lemon-lime soda and it becomes Pitilingorri, use orange soda and you have yourself a Txurrimuski. Made with white wine and your Kailmotxo becomes a Kalitxuri! FUN!

The irony in all this is that I am not a soda or Coke drinker at all, and in fact I don’t care for syrupy sweet things too often. I do love a good homemade Sangria, so it stands to reason that I’d dig a Kalimotxo on a long-summer day provided there are no cameras or food purists around.

Skip the fancy-schmancy this Valentine’s Day–I know I am! Serve up a big plastic 2-liter of Kalimotxo, eat some Popeye’s fried chicken and wrap your greasy arms around the one you love. Remember, we can return to high-class eating and drinking tomorrow. Cheers!

This delightful beverage must be made with bad red wine. You wouldn’t mix a bottle of the good stuff with Coca Cola, would you? I didn’t think so. Also, don’t get fancy with the soda here and do NOT shop your generic aisle; YOU MUST USE COKE®! I add a splash of raspberry syrup because I got it like dat. Suck it up, buttercup!

Red Wine
Splash of Raspberry Syrup (if you like)
Lots of ice.

Mix it up to your liking. Serve with aspirin or ibuprofen the next day.

Note to my Wine Pedant friends, including retailers, tasters, importers and vintners: Zip it. Can it. Hush. Silencio, por favor. I know what you’re thinking and you’re right. Just today I ask you to keep your lectures and gasps and fainting spells to yourself. Is that too much to ask for?

This post previously appeared at the old Mattbites site.

Tiny update: This post in no way implies that those who like this drink, including myself, are low brow whatsoever. It’s more of a statement reflecting the fact that we tend to be food snobs entirely too often.


  1. Diana says

    This is so great! xD I couldn´t believe when I saw it, xD

    And it´s true always Coke! no Pepsi or RC, no way without it.

    Greetings from Spain 😉 (between Valencia and Basque Country)

  2. Yazmena says

    Oh Matt this is something that my mom absolutely loves. She made some for herself the other night and we had it with crispy lemon chicken. I can’t wait to tell her about the other variations.


  3. says

    no fair, there are no popeyes in my region.. oh how I miss thee popye biscuits.. can I just say also, off topic, I miss Church’s fried chicken livers *sighs*

  4. says

    Oh. My. God. I have never heard of such a thing. If Laverne & Shirley were reinvented today, would this be Laverne’s signature drink?

  5. says

    delicious. never had it, but i can only imagine that i would fall head over heels in in love with it. (sean, i actually LOVE milk & pepsi!)

    and – OH MY GOD – “eat some Popeye’s fried chicken and wrap your greasy arms around the one you love.”

    please. i laughed so hard i had a coughing fit and almost peed in my panties.

  6. says

    Wow! I lived in Spain and have returned several times but never had this (too much focus on Jumilla, Jerez and Txakoli, I reckon). I don’t usually drink Coca-Cola, but I think I can make an exception for the sake of exploring Basque cuisine. This should go nicely with some aged Manchego and Txistorra. Or better yet, some Velveeta and Owens sausage patties!

  7. says

    Awesome! Sounds like the perfect cocktail to enjoy with some Frito pie. I would like to confess, however, that I want to try a variation using my favourite pop, Dr. Pepper.

  8. Antonio says

    Calimocho! College years! How many parties with our loyal friend! Calimocho! I tried to do here in the States, but it’s never the same….Thanks 4 the post.

  9. says

    Mm, cool. I have a question- the usage of the letter “X” in Spain/Spanish… that’s a Catalon (did I spell that right?) thing, or is it entirely regional and we’re just not taught Spain-Spanish here in the US? Thanks, I was always curious about that; when my friends and I went to Barcelona last year, we wondered about the X and thought it might be because we were in the Catalonia (I think that’s how it’s spelled?) region.

  10. says

    Weird. I just came across your blog for the first time and only a week or two ago, a bartender at a Spanish tapas restaurant, here in Chicago, made one for me…it was my first…and, boy, am I HOOKED.

  11. says

    Oh yes, someone mentioned tinto, which has been our Summer Mascot Beverage for three years running now. That would be Fanta Limon and cheap red wine…here in the States we can’t find Fanta Limon, so we use this Jamaican Lemonade stuff. I bet Fresca might work…maybe…

    Perhaps this summer we’ll switch to this Calixucxhtoscho stuff. Sounds good.

  12. says

    Do you remember when Popeye’s used to serve those amazing spicy onion rings? What happened? One day I was left on the cold gray sidewalk with my nose pressed to the glass, moving only to wipe away the condensation that was obsuring the order board. The beloved order board that was missing the onion ring option. It’s been drizzling in my world ever since that day. It’s soooo cold.

  13. says

    Fortunately I had both on hand. Added a splash of triple sec for good measure (the cheap stuff, not Cointreau). Awesome. Had to limit myself due to prior obligations tomorrow (work). Thanks for the idea!

  14. says

    Sounds good to me. I got hooked on sangria and tintos con limon a long time ago.

    By the way, I could use your Spanish skills on my site! I do believe I am butchering that fair language.

  15. Antonio says

    Querido YVO. The use of X is common in Catalonian and Basque languages. In Spanish language(does not matter if it is Spanish from Spain or from Argentina) is very rare. Kalimotxo=Calimocho…it’s all good. Have you guys tried ‘Rebujito’?? This one is from Andalucia!!