Tinto de verano is the perfect summer drink made with red wine and fizzy lemon soda. Meaning "summer red wine" in Spanish, this cocktail will instantly transport you to a warm, sunny seaside terrace in Barcelona.
When you think of Spanish drinks, sangria is probably the first one to come to mind. While sangria is a delicious, fruity cocktail that many tourists enjoy, tinto de verano is more popular among the locals in cities like Barcelona and Madrid.
Tinto de verano is a fizzy, less alcoholic cousin of sangria. It is made with red wine, bubbly lemon soda, and slices of lemons and oranges. It's absolutely delicious to sip outside in the sunshine!
Why You'll Love This
- Cold, sweet, and refreshing- This is the best fizzy summer wine based drink!
- Authentic Spanish cocktail- I learned about tinto de verano when my sister came home after studying abroad in Barcelona. I used her tips and experience to make this recipe as authentic as possible.
- Quick and easy to make- You can whip up a pitcher in 5 minutes or less!
Watch How to Make This Recipe
What is Tinto de Verano?
Tinto de verano, which translates to “summer red wine” in English, is a cold beverage served in the summer across Spain. Created by Frederico Vargas in the early 20th century, it's made with red Spanish wine, a citrusy soft drink, and lemon, orange, or grapefruit slices served over ice. Over the years, it has become one of the staple drinks to beat the Spanish summer heat. They even sell bottled and canned versions at Spanish bars, but they taste nothing like the freshly made version.
Tinto de verano is similar to sangria but has distinct differences. Sangria is made with red wine, fruit, and liquor (typically Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or brandy). It's served after being chilled to allow the fruit and alcohol to infuse. Tinto de verano is made without any additional liquor and is served right after it's made.
I consider tinto de verano to be a lighter version of sangria. It's refreshing, not too boozy, and perfect to serve at pool parties and at the beach.
Here are some notes about the ingredients you'll need. For quantities, see the recipe card below.
- Red wine- Use a younger, fruity red wine. The best options are Spanish red garnacha, tempranillo, or Rioja. Rioja is a wine region in Spain that produces full-bodied wines. If you can't find these, Pinot noir works well. There's no need to use an expensive or fancy wine; just make sure it is drinkable and tastes good!
- Lemon soda- In Spain, Fanta Limón is typically used as the mixer. If you can’t find it in the United States, use Sprite or 7-Up instead. You could even use a combination of lemonade and club soda. Anything sweet, fizzy, and citrusy works!
- Orange- Orange slices balance the tart flavors of the wine and lemon. I used a navel orange, but Valencia, cara cara, and mandarin oranges work too.
- Lemon- Adds extra brightness and tang to the drink. Regular grocery store lemons or Meyer lemons work.
- Ice- Use large ice cubes if possible. Avoid crushed ice since it will melt faster and dilute your drink.
- Red wine: Use non-alcoholic red wine if needed. Don't use white, rosé, or sparkling wine.
- Lemon soda: You can substitute lemon or lime sparkling water, seltzer, or soda water for less sugar and calories. Orange soda or grapefruit soda (like Squirt) are also good options.
Helpful Equipment and Tools
- Pitcher: My favorite way to prepare this is in a pitcher. You can use a glass Pyrex like I did or something bigger and a more decorative.
- Glasses: Serve tinto de verano in high ball or low ball glasses. You can also use wine glasses or goblets.
Step by Step Instructions
Here are the steps to make this recipe. Make to wash and dry the citrus before you begin.
STEP 1: Combine the red wine and soda. First, add ice to a pitcher. Then, pour in the red wine and lemon soda. Stir with a bar spoon until well combined, but not so much that the soda goes flat.
STEP 2: Add the citrus. Slice the lemons and oranges into ⅛-1/4 inch thick rounds or wedges. Then, add them to the pitcher.
STEP 3: Serve! Give everything a good stir, being careful to not lose the carbonation. Pour into glasses filled with additional ice and enjoy immediately.
- Make in a pitcher or individual glasses. To make an individual serving of this recipe, combine ½ cup of red wine with ½ cup of soda in a glass with ice.
- Make a larger pitcher. This tinto de verano recipe will make 2 drinks. If you want to fill a big pitcher for a crowd, you can double, triple, or quadruple the recipe.
- Drink responsibly. This cocktail is delicious and easy to drink, so they can really sneak up on you. Always remember to drink responsibly.
Additions and Variations
- Add a splash of vermouth! Vermouth is a fortified wine that is often drank neat in Spain. Spanish vermouth is much sweeter than what is used in martinis and manhattans. It adds extra spice and kick to wine cocktails.
- Add grapefruit or lime. Add lime slices for more tang or grapefruit slices for a little bitterness.
- Use a different soda. Switch up the flavor by using grapefruit, orange, lime, or even yuzu soda.
Unfortunately, tinto de verano doesn't hold up well after being stored. If you try to make it ahead of time, the lemon soda will go flat. Serve it immediately after preparing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sangria is made with red or white wine, liquor, and fruit. Any kind of fruit can be used in a sangria, like citrus, peaches, apples, or strawberries. It has to chill for a couple of hours or overnight for the wine to infuse with the fruit flavors. You can pour some seltzer on top of a sangria, but it's not traditional and a completely optional step.
On the other hand, tinto de verano is a red wine based cocktail with lemon lime soda. It's prepared on the spot with no chilling required. It has fruit, but only citrus fruit, and doesn’t have additional liquor in it.
In Spain, tinto de verano is often consumed on warm afternoons or evenings. It is also served as an aperitif or to accompany tapas (Spanish small plates).
Nope. Using red wine is most authentic.
More Drinks and Cocktails to Try
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Tinto de Verano
- Pour the red wine into a pitcher filled with ice cubes or split between 2 glasses filled with ice.1 cup red wine, Ice cubes
- Pour in the lemon soda and stir slightly.1 cup lemon soda
- Add the lemon and orange slices. Stir again slightly, careful to not lose the carbonation.2 lemon slices, 2 orange slices
- If made in a pitcher, pour into glasses over ice and serve immediately.