Tinto de Verano – and other Spanish Summer Delights

Marina and I are staying up at the in-laws place in the Sierra above Madrid for a few days, where the skies are blue, the air is sweet with the smell of the pines that grow in everyone’s gardens, lizards bask on paving stones, and the summer heat feels just fine in the light, silent breeze.

We wake up with fresh fruit and bird song, and wifi means I can sit writing this from out on an awning-covered terrace, watching those lazy lizards, and the neighbour’s cats that amble self-righteously across the garden. This is the life.

Last night we wandered down to the local bar and sat outside drinking one of the greatest summer beverages ever invented: tinto de verano (literally, ‘summer red’). You take a big glass, full of ice, then pour cheap red wine up to the half-way line, and fill to the top with lemonade. Add a slice of lemon and there you have it, instant, light-headed summer refreshment:

tinto de verano

Tapas suggestions? Perfect with a plate of ham croquetas or patatas fritas.

(More on Spanish tapas phrases at Notes in Spanish).

25 thoughts on “Tinto de Verano – and other Spanish Summer Delights

  1. Parubin

    It is always made with the cheapest red wine available, indeed. I wonder, thought, it the fanciest of all wines will increase the quality of that summer drink…

  2. faemino

    Ben, you’re my idol, your in-laws have a house in the Sierra!

    Eres un crack, tronco, lo digo sin ironia.

    Personally, I don’t like the tinto de verano, I very much prefer cerveza con limón, another summer classic.

  3. frank

    @Frank – sí­, though fanta limón would do it!

    Yes, my wife prefers the fanta limón. Nice summery drink, here, Magners is very much the drink of choice, especially amongst the youngsters.

  4. Bella

    Sounds nice! When I studied in Spain we used to drink the 1 euro don simon sangrí­a! Wasn’t the best, but was ok.
    Haven’t tried this though.. think I will!

  5. Ray

    Nothing seemed to work batter than a Super Flax (Otter Pop) back on the boardwalk in Arrecife, on Lanzy.
    Mad men and Englishmen… and me.

  6. Shana

    Oh how I miss being in Spain and being a girl…free tinto de veranos every Tuesday in Sevilla. However I don’t recommend Sandevid’s version…it might as well be a liter of juice!

  7. Pepino

    Sounds like an amazing retreat. I’m VERY jealous.

    I might start a campaign to have a Tinto de Verano vending machine fitted in the office 🙂


  8. Lenox

    Down in Almerí­a, a tinto de verano has a squirt of Martini (red) tossed in to give it a bit of pizzazz.
    They even have a draft version. It’s not bad..

  9. Ray

    That is so funny, it’s the exact phrase my Spaniard wife used to reply to me request to move out into the ‘sticks’, at least as far as Torrelodones.
    So instead, we ‘settled’ on Benalmádena.

    …Okay, she loves it, and I settled for it, as it was close enough to the beach to justify living so close to so many people. Madrid was simply too crowded to justify not having a beach, …and we were staying in Boadilla at the time.
    No, I am not used to so many neighbors, and since I will never be able to keep them all straight, I don’t think I’ll bother even trying to get to know any of them. I guess, in certain situations, ‘Americans’ are rude, too.
    Since we can’t afford a place up in the hills, I guess I’m stuck. Settling.

  10. Tom

    Ah, the summer house. Ours is in Tarragona, where the air is… well, rich with petrochemical fumes… but the fish tastes good and the beach is pleasant.

    Tinto de verano – people here drink it all year round to accompany the menu del dí­a (rather than drinking wine ‘neat’, I suppose). It’s great stuff. As for shandy, that’s perfect in a porró… just the thought of it brings back memories of sunburn, bee stings and hot summer nights!

  11. bill

    @Tom – in Madrid many people mix red wine with casera to accompany their menu del dí­a as well, but I don’t think they regard it as a tinto de verano unless it has got ice in it.

  12. ValenciaSon

    Cheers brother. After all the brouhaha, I’m sure the getaway has some therapeutic value!

  13. Brendan

    Ben, nice to see you haven’t lost your touch in making the simple pleasures of Spain sound exotic.

    No more heated debates please, it’s summer, enjoy!!!

  14. Jonk

    I’ve been showing this photo to a lot of people Ben as a way of saying “see where I’m going, suckers!”

    However, having seen that picture I desperately want that drink…

  15. Betsy

    Ben…acabamos de regresar de una vuelta por casi todo de espana…terminando en Rincon de La Victoria… os buscamos pero no os vimos ! Tambien tome mi primer TINTO DE VERANO en Sevilla…fue lo mejor !! Ahora aki en casa en PA, USA…tomamos tinto de verano cada noche..y lo vamos a hacer para todos nuestros amigos….pero lo hacemos con SPRITE y limon – Tambien os tengo que decir k baje todos los podcasts avanzados a mi ipod y los escuche y me ayudo MUCHISIMO…todos me entendieron bien y entendi casi todo yo !! Estoy muy agradecida…sois los mejores profesores que he tenido !! GRACIAS !

  16. Ben Post author

    Hola Betsy, Gracias por tu comentario tan majo, ¡me alegro de que te pudiéramos ayudar, y que disfrutaras tanto de tu viaje!

  17. richardksa

    Generous friends and associates have been kind enough to allow me to build a small collection of bottles of tinto. These have served well duing the winter, (a glass next to the computer really helps the thought processes) but with the onset of the hot weather I found I needed something more refreshing. So thanks for this piece. With the simple addition of some Eroski “Blurs” Lemonade, (less than a euro for 2 litres), my working tipple has been transformed. But it is so refreshing that I fear my consumption is increasing. I might actually have to go and buy some wine. (Friends – all donations welcome!)

  18. Felipe

    Hola!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Te amo!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tengo diez y siete anos y no puedo beber esta bebida pero “yum yum yum”. Gracias para la foto!!!!!!!!!! Eres la leche!!!!!! Llama me!

  19. Simon

    Ahh, they dont call me ‘Don’ Simon for nothing! Where would we be without this and Mercadona Steinbergs, basically thats my hydration regime right there.

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