tinto de verano

Tinto de Verano: The Ultimate Summer Sipper

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.

tinto de verano

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 here 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 just 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.

For 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 if you just so happen to live in Central Texas like I do, I had great success with 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 here on ES a good while back and I’m still loyal to; 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

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Gridiron Grub: Gearing up

This has been an odd year to be a football fan. With college football ending last January and the NFL lockout lasting through the summer, sports fans have heard incessant talk about the sport but seen very little of it until the last few weeks of preseason games. Because of this, I was ecstatic that I was able to spend last Saturday at the home opener for the Penn State Nittany Lions. I am from Northeast Pa. and Saturday pilgrimages to Beaver Stadium are practically a birthright. The early morning wake-up; the drive through pristine mountains and countryside until the stadium appears on the horizon; thousands of tailgaters sharing food, drinks and stories…..there is nothing quite like it.

Tailgating was in full swing at 9am, the university band was blaring, crowds were cheering and even the first kick-off was returned for a touchdown. There was really only one thing missing at last week’s game: fall weather. At kickoff the temperature was peaking at 90 degrees and felt even hotter with 100,000 of my closest friends packed around. Besides an opening day win, the only thing that made the heat easier to bear was the vendors climbing up and down the stadium stairs with water and fresh-squeezed lemonade for sale. Which got me thinking.

Spiked Basil Lemonade

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Cocktail O’Clock: Lemonade for Grownups

Kick off the weekend, and National Lemonade Day (we know, another day-of-day, but come on, it’s August!) with a lemonade you won’t find at any children’s roadside stands.

Prohibition Lemonade

1 part Canadian Club Reserve 10 Year
3 parts Lemonade
Top with Club Soda
Lemon wheel for garnish

Directions: Build in order over ice in a tall glass. Stir. Garnish with lemon wheel.

All of our summer cocktail recipes can be found in Endless Cocktails.

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