Summer’s here and the time is right for sipping and slugging lots and lots of chilled drinks to beat the heat. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be tempting you with some of the best. Kicking off today with the ubiquitous tinto de verano.
A lighter version of sangría, perfect for a summer’s day. Hence the name: red summer wine. If you’re ordering just for yourself, the barperson will throw a slice of lemon and a couple of yogurt pot-sized ice cubes into either a long glass or, better still, a goldfish-bowl on a stem, fill it half way with blackcurranty wine and top it up with gaseosa – a wonderfully just-sweet lemonade ultra-low in calories. If you’re with a group, they’ll bring an ice-filled jug, a bottle of red wine and a bottle of Casera (the most well-known make of gaseosa) and you’ll fix your own brew.
Sometimes you’ll be asked: “Con limón o Casera?” Or in some parts of Andalucía (and elsewhere?) “Con limón o con blanco?” The fizzy lemon is sweeter and, er, fizzier, so it takes longer to drink. Which can be a plus considering that in the heat, a couple of long swigs and it’s gone. Tinto de verano also comes on tap, but like all ready mixes it’s a pale imitation of the real thing – and so unnecessary.
Another fizzy red wine drink is calimocho (from the Basque Kalimotxo), a lethal mix of red wine and coca-cola much favoured among Spanish youf. Too much of this on a hot summer’s day and you’d probably end up in the ICU or the UCI, depending which language you go with.