Traveling to other cultures and bringing home new knowledge and experiences is always one of the highlights of travel. It is interesting to me, then, when and how some of those experiences come back to you.
A few years back, for my thirtieth birthday, some friends and I traveled across the pond to partake in one of the world’s greatest festivals; the annual Festival de San Fermin — better known as the Running of the Bulls. It was the craziest party I have ever been to and a fantastic way to welcome in another decade of living life. The drink of choice, at the Festival de San Fermin, was a calimocho.
Officially, calimocho is a mix of soft drink (like Coca-Cola or Pepsi) and red wine. In most cases it is equal parts wine with soda. So while in Pamplona, we went to a street fair and the drink stand had cola on tap, and also red wine on tap. When we ordered a calimocho, the woman grabbed a giant, clear plastic cup and placed it under the two taps, then with one hand pulled them both towards her, letting the two beverages pour into the cup.
So fast forward several years later and I’m at a local pub with a few friends. At this point in the night we’re several rounds in and all in cocktail mode. The server comes up to us and says there was a mix-up with the drinks, and they have an extra glass of red wine, if anyone wants it.
A hush fell across the table, as no one (smartly, probably) wanted to shift from booze to wine. Then I remembered calimochos. I said, “Sure, I’ll take it. But can you also bring me a half a glass of soda?” The look on her face was a quick, “Huh?” but she set down the wine and walked away. Moments later she returned with a glass of soda and said something like, “I can’t wait to see what happens next.”
When I poured the red wine into the half-full pint glass of soda, I received a number of confused looks from my friends seated at the table, as well. Suddenly the waitress exclaimed, “Calimochos! That’s right!”
I didn’t go to Pamplona, Spain to learn about mixology, nor did I go to physically run with the bulls. I went to learn about one of the world’s greatest celebrations, and all that comes with it. The calimochos are a good example of something I’d never have thought about had I ever been to the Festival de San Fermin.
Now, all of that being said, I’m guessing none of the revelers pictured above are thinking about calimochos at this particular moment in time.
Well, depending on how late they stayed out the night before, maybe their regret for calimochos is fresh on their mind.