Wednesday, December 1, 2010

calimocho: the remedy for bad wine

On a recent trip to Whole Foods TWSF was surprised to see a display featuring several wines priced at $2.99. Could it be? Had Whole Foods found a cheap wine to compete with Trader Joe's beloved two buck Chuck? Relying on Whole Foods self described reputation of providing the "finest natural and organic foods available and maintaining the strictest quality standards in the industry," we eagerly grabbed 3 bottles of Three Wishes wine: a shiraz, a merlot and a chardonnay. Later that evening we learned that Three Wishes is no Charles Shaw and were stuck with the worst non-bagged wine either of us had tasted.

Had a genie jumped out of the bottle when I popped the cork of Three Wishes Shiraz, my first wish would have been for my $3 back. I have never been to jail, but I imagine prison wine brewed in a toilet up at Shawshank tastes similar to the shiraz we had just opened. Being that it only cost $3 we decided to cut our losses, dump the Shiraz, and try the chardonnay. I felt like an uncool RA on a freshman dorm as I poured almost an entire bottle of wine down the sink. We were still optimistic that the chardonnay would be better, perhaps the shiraz is the weak link in the Three Wishes chain. We were wrong, the chardonnay met the same fate as the shiraz. There is some truth to the saying fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. We did not want to be shamed a second time and decided to store the merlot in our wine rack indefinitely, with the hopes that it would mature with age.

Defeated, we opened up a good bottle of wine and started watching Boardwalk Empire. As the bad taste in our mouths began to fade, one of the bootleggers said something that peaked my interest. They were discussing how to cut low quality liquor with mixers to make it more palatable to the booze starved public. I thought out loud that we should find something to mix with the merlot to salvage some of our investment (my earlier suggestion of selling it to a high schooler was quickly shot down). My well traveled counterpart noted that its common in Europe to mix wine with Coca-Cola.

In Spain the drink is called calimocho and is popular with Spanish youths looking to take the edge off of cheap wine. It is easy to make, half Coke, half cheap red wine and ice. It actually worked. The merlot wasn't much better than the Shiraz, but when mixed with Coke turend into a super sweet concotion which removed the harshness of the cheap wine. The drink was oddly tasty with hints of melted cherry cola lollipop and raspberry gummy bear. The cola's carbonation added a new level of depth to the merlot's body. However the drink was too sweet to have more than a glass or two, unless you have the sweet tooth of an 8 year old. (Note to our college readers, calimocho makes a sutible replacement for the recently banned Four Loko, thou I would use Jolt Cola rather than Coke).

So the next time you buy a bottle of red wine that turns out to be a dud, don't pour it down the sink, pour it into a glass of Coke. I wonder if bad white wine can be salvaged with Sprite? Sounds like I have another post idea, Three Wishes just might get another $3 out of me.....


  1. I love calimocho/kalimotxo! One of my best friends is from Spain and we would often enjoy this drink when we were tired of beer at parties when we were financially challenged.

    For an interesting and more palatable experience, try it with Mexican coke or another cola that is sweetened with sugar and not corn syrup. Less sweet and more tasty.

  2. you can also try tinto de verano (mixed with lemon fanta) or tinto de naranja (mixed with orange fanta). i often enjoyed those classics in spain :)

  3. Thank you both for the suggestions, we'll be sure to try them out next time