By Laura Levy Shatkin
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AUGUST 30, 2016, 2:54 PM

While red wine is the main beverage in Spanish culture, and oceans of sangria certainly are enjoyed there and around the world, Spaniards are just as apt to whip up batches of the quaffer tinto de verano. Translating as “red wine of summer,” typically it involves wine mixed with a citrus element, such as lemonade, fresh squeezed lemon juice with fizz from carbonated water or lemon-lime soda such as Sprite or 7UP. For hot summer days, its low-alcohol level is welcome, but for a large celebration, rum might be added for extra punch.

Tinto de verano is the sipper of celebrations, most often consumed at festivals and parties. When hot days call for a refreshing, thirst-quenching drink that’s simple to make, tinto de verano’s the answer, even in the last days of summer.

Spanish Square, a Spanish market and restaurant in Chicago, offers variations of the libation that patrons order to suit their taste.

“Some like a tinto con limon with lemon soda and a lemon wedge while others enjoy tinto con naranja, the more traditional version with orange soda and an orange slice,” says Jordan Brash, bartender at the quaint Lakeview spot.

While it’s not always on the menu, Brash says, “when our Spanish customers come in, they request it regularly, and we make it for them.”

Beatriz Romo also serves a version at El Metro Tacos and Tequila (formerly Gaudi Cafe) in Ukrainian Village. She adores the simplicity of the drink and the low-alcohol level. “It’s very refreshing, less sweet than sangria and easy to drink,” she says. “We offer it when there’s a festival nearby.”

In Spain, the beverage comes ready-made in large bottles at the supermarkets, but it’s simple to make at home. You should, however, pay attention to the type of wine you pour. To keep the flavors balanced, Brash recommends using Flaco Tempranillo, an inexpensive, fruity and juicy red wine.

“It has strong enough fruit notes that the orange soda doesn’t overwhelm it,” he says. “You want to stay away from aged Spanish wine, since there’s more earth than fruit, which doesn’t blend well with the soda.”

Wine and soda, over ice, with a citrus garnish — it couldn’t be simpler. And it lends itself easily to batches, if you’re having people over for Labor Day and through to summer’s end.

Laura Levy Shatkin is a freelance writer.

Tinto de verano – From Spanish Square.

Makes: 6-8 servings

  • 3 cups tempranillo red wine, about 1 bottle
  • 1 cup KAS Spanish orange soda or other orange soda
  • Orange wedges

Combine red wine and soda in a pitcher. Pour over crushed ice in a tall glass. Garnish with an orange wedge. If the drink is too sweet, add a splash of seltzer water.