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Calimocho

Calimocho

Calimocho (from the Basque Kalimotxo) is a drink consisting of approximately 50% red wine and 50% cola-based soft drink. Alternative names include Rioja libre (from "Rioja", and "Cuba Libre"), and either kali or motxo.

In Chile the drink is known as jote (Chilean Spanish for the Black Vulture), and in Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia and other former republics of Yugoslavia it is known as bambus (Serbian/Croatian for bamboo). In the Czech Republic it is known as houba, and in Hungary as Vadász (meaning hunter) or vörösboros kóla.

Preparation and serving

In some areas of Spain, calimocho is served in bars in short glass tumblers. Plenty of ice is added, then the red wine and cola. In other areas (such as Cantabria) the cocktail is served in tall glasses.

A common way of serving calimocho is in one liter drinking glasses made of plastic, called minis, katxi, 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 which contains the 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 Bric wine boxes 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.'

One variation of the drink is achieved by adding a dash of blackberry liqueur. 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.

Origin of the name

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.

The current name, "Kalimotxo", is attributed to the "Antzarrak cuadrilla" ("Geese young friends circle"), which supposedly coined it during the 1972 Puerto Viejo festivities (in Algorta, Getxo, Biscay). Legend has it that the servers in one of the "txosnas" (stands in Basque festivals where drinks are served) noticed that the wine they had bought was not in good condition, so they decided to mix it with something to kill the sour taste. The inventors of the mixture were two members of the cuadrilla known as "Kalimero" (after the Calimero chicken character) and "Motxo", hence the name "Kalimotxo". The name caught on and became popular throughout Spain.

Spelling

The spelling kalimotxo has been in use in the Southern Basque Country since the 1970s. The Sandevid corporation, which used to sell prepared kali, used the spelling kalimocho.

In kalimotxo and motxo, the Basque sound tx is pronounced like ch in both English and Spanish. Since the name is now common throughout Spain, however, it is commonly respelled calimocho in accordance with Spanish orthography. In Catalan, the word is usually spelt calimotxo, although kalimotxo is also common.

Further reading

References

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