The country of Spain has gotten a lot of things right. Siestas, incorporating cheese and ham into most foods, eating fresh olives, spending long days at the beach, and of course…. wine.
That’s a pic I snapped in Granada, Spain back in 2009… one of the most interesting and beautiful places I’ve ever been!
Tinto means “red” in Spanish when referring to red wine in particular, and verano is summer, so… red wine of the summer. What makes it so summery? It’s mixed with lemon soda! Stay with me, here – I know that sounds weird to a lot of people in America, but I assure you it’s a refreshing treat.
I first had tinto de verano when I was traveling in Spain a couple summers ago. It was everywhere in the Costa del Sol – every bar and café had it on special for just a euro or two. In the area I was staying, they would take a big wine glass, fill it up with ice, then pour equal parts red table wine and sweet-tart Fanta limon into it. The idea was slightly odd to me at first, too, but with one taste I knew I had found my signature drink for the trip.
(Another thing that Spain does right? Paella. That’s an ultra-blonde me eating a huge amount of fresh paella right on the beach in Malaga. Oh man, I want to go back right now.)
Anyway! No matter where you are, on days when it’s just too hot for red wine, check this out, seriously. Lemon-flavored Fanta isn’t readily available in the US (a travesty!) but you can use fresh lemonade and soda water, or find a similar alternative. You don’t want to use syrupy lemonade from concentrate or Sprite or 7up. You need something more sour, otherwise your drink will be too heavy and sweet. I recommend seeking out San Pellegrino Limonata, or, assuming you’re in Central Texas, check out Central Market’s Organic Sicilian Lemon soda.
I’m really into portable libations in the summer (you just never know when you’re going to need a drink!) and this is the perfect on-the-go cocktail, since all you need is a bottle of soda and a bottle of wine. For ultimate portability, I like using CalNaturale, which I reviewed for Endless Simmer a good while back; it’s boxed, so no worries about dropping a heavy glass bottle, but it doesn’t taste like your old-school cardboard-y, sweet boxed wine. Its cabernet is a great tinto to use in this cocktail – it’s light and pleasant. If you want to be extra authentic, though, feel free to pick up a bottle of affordable Spanish red.
Anyway, here’s the recipe, but you don’t even really need one:
Tinto de Verano
Your favorite lighter red wine (I wouldn’t use anything super deep, smoky, or tannin-y)
Tart lemon soda
Pour into a big wine glass or rocks glass full of ice. Garnish with a wedge of lemon if desired.
That’s it! You’re welcome!
We had a nice batch of tinto de verano on Sunday night alongside some grilled peaches and goat cheese over arugula (recipe coming later this week!). It was the perfect summer dinner.