On the Kalimotxo

Most of us like to think we’re not easily influenced by others around us. We are clear thinkers. We are strong-minded individuals. The billions spent on advertising every year is aimed at other people, not at us.

I believe this with all my heart. And I know it is not even a little bit true.

Which is meant, by way of introduction, to explain why I have just finished drinking something called a Kalimotxo. I read about it online and decided I was going to have one.

It sounds exotic, right? And it is. It’s from the Basque region of Spain, like FC Barcelona and (thanks, Wikipedia!) Héctor Elizondo.

It was very easy to make. And this is the bit that might make you pause a moment. The Kalimotxo is, very simply, a 50/50 mix of red wine and Coca Cola.

I held an informal vote in my office and it was maybe 60% that sounds disgusting and 40% I’d try it. I was, myself, very much in the 40%. But, full disclosure, I mostly only drink red wine if it’s been diluted with Sprite and has an ice cube in it. My taste is so set in my pre-teen era that grown-up tastes like wine don’t stand a chance.

So, I was a prime candidate for the Kalimotxo. And here I need to add another small but vital piece of information, held until now for dramatic effect. The Basques who apparently like to drink it are teenagers. Remember what you drank as a teenager? Remember what the teenagers in your school who really liked to drink drank? It was not the finest booze that money could buy. It had a cool name, it’s got a high alcohol content, it was cheap…and it tasted like drain cleaner. Or, hopefully, how you imagine drain cleaner would taste.

So these kids, or the Basque versions, were where I was placing my trust with when I mixed my Kalimotxo. Now, I am no naive teenager. I have traveled a little and I know that Coke is not as good as Cherry Coke. So it was Cherry Coke my wife kindly allowed me to mix with a little of the wine from her collection.

And it looked like this.

And it tasted…well, better than I’d imagine drain cleaner to taste. Mostly, it tasted like watered-down wine. Weak wine with a dark wine aftertaste and a little Cherry Cola fizz. It was cold and not hard to drink; it might be good on a hot summer’s day, I guess. But I’ll never know. Like so much of my teenage experiences, it will remain something I mildly regret ever doing and will definitely never do again.

It was, as the Basque teenagers might say if they spoke English, meh.

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