As we mentioned earlier, this weekend marks the unofficial start of summer in the United States, and if our unseasonably warm spring acts as an omen of what’s to come we’re all about to be suffering through some sweltering heat. In my experience, the best way to beat a heat wave is to have plenty of cool beverages on hand – bonus points if said drinks are of the alcoholic variety, because you can drink enough to forget that you’re hot. Forget the Mike’s Hard Lemonade, though, because the people of Spain have invented a refreshment called tinto de verano that you can use to regulate your body temperature and alter your mental state all summer long.
Locals in Spain have been sipping on tinto de verano during the warm season for ages. It means “red wine of summer” when translated to English, and in the most basic sense it is just a simple, cheap sangria for people who don’t have time to cut up fruit. It’s so simple, in fact, that it doesn’t even have a real recipe: just take a glass full of ice, pour in some inexpensive red wine, and add your desired amount of gaseosa. For those of you who are unfamiliar, gaseosa is semisweet carbonated lemonade found in Spain, and you can reach a similar taste by mixing 7-Up or Sprite with seltzer.
The best part about tinto de verano is that you mix it yourself in a single portion, so you can control how much of each ingredient goes into your drink to reach your desired taste. Also important: you can regulate how much of the hard stuff you put in, which is nice when you feel like you’re getting inappropriately wasted on a midsummer afternoon and need to calm down.
Or you can take the opposite route and use tinto de verano to fuel those summer Sunday Fundays that seem so good at the time but feel so, so regrettable on Monday. As a friend of mine who’s live in Spain for a while warned me:
Don’t drink three jugs of it with your friend who is visiting from America or you may keep fiending for more and, when left without a corkscrew, start breaking bottles of rioja open with the loose bricks on your balcony.
I guess I’ll see if this is true when I visit him in Madrid this August.
Whether you choose tinto de verano as a refreshment at your backyard barbecue or decide to consume mass quantities with your friends on the playa, make sure to include this taste of Spain among your summertime beverages. Maybe even try to bring the Spanish botellón stateside for some al fresco drinking — then things could get really interesting.