On Friends, Travel, and Casual Wine Cultures

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One of the things people don’t know about my job is that it involves travel, culture, history, language, chemistry, viticulture and gastronomy (phew!).

That being said, I can only invest in so much travel, books, classes, bottles of wine, and dinners to be able to wrap my mind around what I do.

Read: Expensive!

This is why I love learning vicariously through friends’ stories (cheaper on my end, and makes for a good conversation with wonderful people).

A friend of mine (now living in Singapore) sent me a message, asking if she could call me… You may remember her from my post on Carlton Hotel Singapore. K was eager to tell me about her trip to Europe and the wines she had.

For the chance to catch up and hear the boozy bits of her European adventure, I said yes.

After telling me endlessly that she thought of me while having wine in Spain (uhm, thanks…? Hahaha), she proceeded to tell me that the wine culture there is so laid back that it should interest me enough to write about it in 2shots.

Personally, the reason why I love drinking wine in Europe is because wine is such a part of their daily lives that they drink it so casually… Much like Pinoys drink crisp bottles of San Miguel on a hot day without thinking about it so much. You know what I mean: No chilled mugs necessary, pilsner glasses optional… Just give us street “grilled” isaw as pulutan and we’re good to drink beer from a recycled peanut butter jar (with ice!).

What I’m saying is, while it is nice to know which food (and glass) goes with certain wines, there’s something wonderful about being with good company, eating cold cuts and cheese (or tapas, if you must), and guzzling wine in a tumbler (or water bottle, which a chef friend of mine brought over from his trip to Italy).

No rituals, no ceremonies.

This is what K eagerly shared with me. She found the informal Spanish way of drinking wine so charming, even saying that “wine snobs will shoot themselves here”.

She especially raved about two cocktails (made with wine) that she had: Calimocho and Hostiazo*.

Calimocho is a popular, easy-to-make cocktail popularized in Spain, and is made by mixing wine with Coca-Cola (or any soda, really). K said she especially loved the version made with Fanta Lemon and red wine.

Hostiazo* is a cocktail made from red wine, blackberry juice, vodka, and soda water.

Anyway, K’s stories were so interesting that I decided to try making the cocktails at home. Granted, I raided Rustan’s and tried making them using what we could find in Manila… They turned out yummy. The Calimocho was beautifully refreshing, and the Hostiazo* made me finish this article the following day (it’s a rather strong drink).

Here’s how I made them:

calimocho collage

Pinoy-style Calimocho

Calimocho:

  • 1 part Sunkist Lemonade (soda)
  • 1 part red wine (preferably a Rioja)
  • Ice cubes

Put ice cubes in a glass (or mug, as I’ve used here). Pour the wine in. Top with the soda.

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What you need to make Hostiazo*

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A carafe of “a slap in the face”, Hostiazo*

Hostiazo*:

  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 ½ parts red wine
  • 2 ½ parts blueberry juice
  • ½ part simple sugar (1 part sugar diluted in 1 part water)
  • Soda water
  • Ice cubes

Put ice cubes in a carafe. Assemble all the ingredients except for the soda water. Stir. Top with soda water.

So, whether or not you appreciate wine with all the pomp and circumstance, or drink it with soda and (gasp!) ice, at the end of the day, it is what it is: an alcoholic beverage.

How do you want to drink your wine? Salud!

*Honestly, I tried to look for Hostiazo online and failed… I had to look for a cocktail that translated to “a slap in the face” in Spanish, and my friends from Barcino’s totally helped me out (gracias, TR and RI!). So, disclaimer: I may be spelling it wrong. Another spelling I got was “Ostiazo”. I based the mix from K’s story but made up my own proportions. 😉

About Gail Sotelo

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One response »

  1. Pingback: The Year That Was (2shots of 2015) | 2 Shots and a Pint

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