Red Wine And Cola: The Unlikely Match Made In Alcohol Heaven
Jack and Coke. Gin and tonic. Seven and 7. Merlot and cola?
When you step up to the bar, you probably have a short list of “go-to” mixed drinks you order from, none of which feature a varietal of red wine paired with a soft drink. Wine is typically viewed as a sophisticated beverage; whereas, soft drinks — like cola, for instance — are usually seen as sugary relics from our childhood. To mix the two would be madness, right?
Well, one chef in Brooklyn seems to think otherwise.
Michael Gordon (not to be confused with the bassist in Phish), who runs the kitchen at BKW by Brooklyn Winery, finds that mixing red wine with cola is an easy way to curb some of the wine’s dryness while making the drink more refreshing in the process. Like some prosciutt’ with melon or french fries and a milkshake, the idea of wine paired with cola doesn’t sound particularly tasty. But, as Gordon points out, it has been beloved drink choice among teenagers in Spain for ages.
It’s called the kalimotxo and Chef Gordon serves up his interpretation of the drink at BKW—but it’s simple enough to make at home, too. All you need is equal parts red wine and cola. It’s also not uncommon to add a twist of lemon. Keep in mind, being that this drink only consists of two ingredients, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re buying the right ingredients. As Khushbu Shah points out, for Mic, finding the correct type of wine is crucial.
Because the cola component of the “cocktail” will provides the bulk of the sugar, it’s probably not the best idea to use white wine or a sweet red. Go for a dry red — like merlot, cab sauv or pinot noir — that the cola can enhance with sweetness. Remember, finding a “good wine” doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to burn a hole in your wallet. There are a ton of quality wines you can find at your local liquor store for under $15. Like sangria, Shah writes, “a more expensive wine doesn’t necessarily make the drink better.”
With regard to the cola component, naturally, there is a lot less room for error. Gordon suggests sticking to a cola containing real cane sugar — as opposed to artificial sweeteners and processed stuff — to maintain more control over the sweetness of your drinks. With artificial sweeteners, you never truly know how sweet something will be until you taste it. While the good folks over at BKW use Boylan—which is pretty “trendy,” and perfect for their Brooklyn location—I’m sure Coke or Pepsi will suffice.
If you’re in the New York area, head over to BKW in person and order up a kalimotxo float. Just like the kalimotxo itself, the float makes use of wine and cola, except — like any good float — contains ice cream; usually vanilla. Man, talk about “childhood relics.”
I gotta try this.