Sangria is a very popular drink in Spain that spread to the wider Mediterranean cuisine and drinking culture, and later into the West.
Most Americans and Brits know the sweet taste of Sangria, and have likely had many of their summer nights fuelled on the quite easy cocktail recipe.
The drink is relatively cheap to make, can have infinite variations based on separate preferences, and can be served in bulk being pretty easy to scale up when needed.
But once you get bored of Sangria, as non-Spaniards, we may be stuck on what other cocktails from Europe, with similar vibes, we can make.
That’s what we’re here for and today we’re going to tell you about the next best thing since you discovered Sangria, straight from Spain once again, the ideal summer cocktail – Tinto de Verano.
This is your base recipe, the most traditional, and the most simple. But this simple recipe demonstrates all the desirable elements of the drink.
One part red wine brings the rich alcohol kick we all love in Sangria, but balances it with one part soda.
The carbonation is so ideal during the summer months, with this recipe specifically going for a lemon soda, although classic soda might be better for a ‘base recipe’
This recipe goes to demonstrate how you can change the recipe to suit your own flavor preferences. This is essentially the same recipe as the last but uses lime soda instead of lemon, which is perhaps more Spanish in truth.
But the lime brings an extra acidity and reduces the sweetness to something more bitter and sharp which some people may prefer.
Due to the drink’s popularity in the West, one common ingredient these days is Sprite, which achieves that perfect balance between lemon and lime that can bridge both the previous recipes into a sweet but sharp summer delight.
Drinking Tinto de Verano with Sprite is very popular among the modern Spanish sippers who still enjoy the drink today. This recipe goes to show how the cocktail can be a dressed-down version of Sangria, ideal for a casual party.
Our research suggests that many local Spanish drinkers may view this recipe as the most common or authentic version of this cocktail recipe that is most popular in our modern day.
That is to day that if you were to order this drink in a bar it would most likely come with a part Sprite, part San Pellegrino combination, and often with Vermouth.
The Vermouth does well to balance the sweetness of the Sprite with bitterness, but the classic San Pellegrino, or any soda or sparkling water, adds even more effervescence which is ideal in hot weather.
Rather than a Western soda such as Sprite or 7up, the Spaniards love to use San Pellegrino which is more accessible in the European continent.
San Pellegrino is commonly less sweet than Western sodas, it has more bitterness and pronounced fruit taste, while often being a little less carbonated than Western soda.
Lemon San Pellegrino is a fan among many for how it balances bitterness and sweetness, making it ideal for this cocktail.
Alternatively, if you want to go for something sweet, then Fanta Lemon is the ideal choice. Fanta Lemon is often syndicated as the summer or holiday drink, nothing reminds us of vacation than a cold Fanta Lemon, or Límon in Spain.
This recipe specifically goes for some Martini Rosso which provides an alcoholic and bitter twist to the sweetness of the Fanta.
Martini is quite a bitter, yet classy, alcoholic item so it can do well to both style the cocktail up while also bringing more adult flavors to the party, which prioritize bitterness and nuance over sweetness.
The Martini works well here, you could go with blanco or rosso, and the recipe combines it with soda again to get that carbonated refreshment you are looking for.
You can easily garnish with other fruits to still get those fruity flavors going too.
Of course, one obvious way to soup up the cocktail is to change the wine as a variable. While ‘Spanish red wine’ is clearly to push here, you could use any kind of red wine you like.
Shiraz can bring other flavors, like other wines can, which suit different preferences, but there’s not necessarily any need to go Spanish here, unless pushed to be traditional.
The humble lemonade often has its own traditional version in each country that enjoys it, whether it is cloudy, has bits in, or is lemon and lime, making your own lemonade to bring a homemade element to Tinto de Verano, can be a winner with guests.
This recipe chooses to swap red wine for rosé which can be a good idea for something a little more floral and delicate and less bold than the flavors of red wine.
If you are making the recipe for a girls night out why not choose something you know everyone will enjoy!
Theoretically, you could use white wine here too, but you might need more experimenting to get the flavor rights white wine can have different notes.
Why not explore the variety within the citrus family, there are many great sodas that use more tropical citrus fruits, allowing you to take this European cocktail a little East.
Grapefruit, or an American soda like Lilt or Squirt can provide a really zany addition to this traditional cocktail.
Of course, some in the world like to enjoy the fruity taste of a cocktail without the alcohol, hangover, or regrets. A brand like Schloer or some non-alcoholic wine, or even some grape juice could easily achieve the same flavors.
If you are gonna make virgin Tinto de Verano then why not make them into popsicles to truly get that summer refresher vibe. The flavors are still strong and somewhat healthy without the alcohol.
Although of course, with the alcohol you have a messy but fun way to indulge in the sun.
Why not continue a journey West into the Caribbean and take these summer flavors from Spain with a Caribbean twist. Rum is the archetypal summer drink and can drum up a beach vibe in seconds.
Dark rum can provide that vanilla and caramel note to exasperate the sweetness, while spiced rum can bring a world of spice to the cocktail that is more than welcome.
Let’s call this one the ‘bartender’s’ Tinto de Verano as it is a little more removed from the simple and easy recipe, but shows how you can refine and honethis cocktail to your ideals.
The idea here is that making your own lemon syrup gives you more say over the sweetness, sharpness and other variables that the flavor brings, rather than relying on a premade mixer.
As you can see, Tinto de Verano is a Spanish drink that is much like a dressed down Sangria. The drink is still ideal for any get together and can still be a really summery drink that a whole party can enjoy.
At a summer party in the US, this will likely be a cocktail that few have tried, so who knows – you could be showing someone their new favorite drink.
In any case, in the US this drink can be a great way to bring a Mediterranean or Latin vibe to a Latin celebration like Mardi Gras or Dias De La Muertos, but is also a great cocktail to enjoy on your own while getting a sweat on in the sun with family and friends.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Is Tinto de Verano Different From Sangria?
The main difference between Sangria and Tinto de Verano is that the former has orange juice and wine, something that was very expensive back in the day, while Tinto de Verano is usually red wine with some carbonated drink.
Since the advent of carbonated drinks, Tinto de Verano has become much more common in Spain than Sangria.
What Does Tinto de Verano Mean?
The summer drink translates directly to ‘summer wine’ which is everything we want from sangria and more. While it is drunk in the summer, you can make this drink anytime of the year and still enjoy its summery flavors.
The irony is that Sangria, in Spain at least, is actually not so traditionally Spanish as many assume. Sangria isn’t really drunk by the masses, traditionally at least, rather Tinto de Verano is.
Sangria is more of an upper class drink, while Tinto de Verano is considered to be the more accessible and widely available drink in traditional Spanish culture.