Tinto de Verano: Spanish Wine Cocktail

Tinto de verano recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
212 Calories
1g Fat
36g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 212
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 21mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Protein 3g
Calcium 67mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(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 city of Córdoba. Artists, guitarists, 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.

Ingredients

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for tinto de verano
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Place ice cubes in a tall glass of at least 20 ounces.

    Place ice cubes in a tall glass
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Add red wine and soda.

    Add red wine and soda
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Garnish with a lemon slice.

    Tinto de verano with a slice of lemon
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Tips

  • You can serve this drink in individual glasses or increase the recipe and make it in a pitcher for all to enjoy. 
  • When choosing a wine for your tinto de verano, you don’t have to use your best wine, but a decent table wine will prevent a bad hangover.
  • As with sangria, it's easy to drink too much tinto de verano because the flavor is so much like a soft drink. Be sure to drink responsibly.

Recipe Variations

  • Consider choosing an Italian soda as a mixer with your wine; there is a wide range of intense citrus flavors available at most grocery stores.
  • Although the Spanish use Fanta Limón, 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.
  • A little splash of vermouth is a nice touch, as are a few slices of fresh citrus fruit.

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 them 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 it from a bar when visiting the country, be aware that you might receive this canned version; it doesn't necessarily taste bad, but it does not taste like the freshly made version. 

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