Tinto de Verano: Spanish Wine Cocktail

Tinto de Verano
coupleinthekitchen / Twenty20
Ratings (50)
  • Total: 5 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 serving
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
212 Calories
1g Fat
36g Carbs
3g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The name “tinto de verano” translates into English as “red wine of summer.” It is a refreshing wine cocktail served during the warm months all over Spain. Although similar to sangria, it is easier to make and has less alcohol in it, ideal for sipping on a hot afternoon at a pool party or at the beach.

This Spanish cocktail was originally named "un Vargas" after the man who invented it. In the early 20th century, Federico Vargas came up with the mixture of red wine and lemon soda as a way to offer refreshment to those finding refuge from the hot sun at his establishment, El Brillante, in the town of Cordoba. Artists, guitaristas, and bohemians all found this cooling drink so enjoyable, word quickly spread throughout Spain and tinto de verano became synonymous with feeling relief from Spain's summer heat.


Steps to Make It

  1. Place ice cubes in a tall glass of at least 20 ounces.

  2. Add red wine and soda.

  3. Garnish with a lemon slice.

Tinto de Verano Vs. Sangria

Although most of us associate sangria with Spain's signature wine cocktail, the locals actually consider it a drink for the "tourists." Tinto de verano is what Spaniards sip when the weather is warm. Perhaps this is because it requires just two ingredients compared to the wine, liqueurs, and lots of cut-up fruit needed to make the party beverage known as sangria. In cities such as Madrid and Barcelona restaurants stir up large pitchers of sangria and sell for high prices while those in-the-know enjoy a refreshing glass of tinto de verano without breaking the bank. 

Tinto de verano has become so popular in Spain that it is sold already-made in cans. If you order from a bar when visiting the country, be aware that you may receive this when ordering the drink; it doesn't necessarily taste bad, but it does not taste like the freshly-made version. 

Tips and Variations

It is not important what variety of red wine you use in this cocktail. A good rule to follow when it comes to wine-based punches and cocktails is this: If you wouldn’t want to drink the wine by itself in a glass, then don’t incorporate it in a punch or cocktail. You don’t have to use your best wine, but a decent table wine will prevent you from having a bad hangover.

Although the Spanish use Fanta Limon, what they call a “gaseosa” or “Casera,” you can use any lemon-lime soda. If it is too sweet for your taste, add a splash of soda water or seltzer. You can even use lemonade mixed with soda water if you like. Also, a little splash of vermouth is a nice touch, as are a few slices of fresh citrus fruit. You can serve this drink in individual glasses or increase the recipe and make in a pitcher for all to enjoy.