It’s not the first thing you’d expect to hear when discussing the melange of exotic flavored-liquor drink possibilities, and maybe not the last, either: cola-flavored wine, as in soda-flavored vino, as in “Surely you jest, monsieur.”
Mais non, it exists, and it sounds pretty not-drinkable, until you hear it described (in French, because that’s where it’s now on sale) as Rouge Sucette, or “red lollipop” — that’s what they’re calling it, ergo lollipop-flavored cola! Okay, still wine-flavored, but you know what they say about a spoonful of sugar.
The Telegraph reports the outré concoction is made from 75% grapes, with the remainder a mix of water, sugar and cola flavoring (alcohol content is a bit lower than usual, at 9%). And what’s cola flavoring made from these days? Citrus oils, cinnamon, vanilla and something designed to add an acidic twist, reports Wikipedia; the acidic bit aside, citrus, cinnamon, vanilla with vino doesn’t sound so bad. Plus, it’s pretty cheap at just €2.95 a bottle (about US$3.80 right now), clearly aimed at the sort of tippler used to knocking back libations of wine cooler vintage.
Weird as it sounds, Rouge Sucette isn’t some visionary avant garde beverage, it’s just a wine producer (Haussmann Famille) capitalizing on a European drink fad: As Digital Journal notes, people have been taking cola with their wine for some time across the pond. It even has a name: kalimotxo (pronounced cal-ee-MO-cho, says the New York Times), a drink apparently traceable to the Basque Country (along the northern border of France and Spain). Haussmann Famille is already in the flavored wine business, too, offering a rosé and white wine with passion-fruit flavoring.
What does wine mixed with cola taste like? Think sangria, says the Times‘ Rosie Schaap, who prefers it with a squeeze of lemon or orange to “dress it up.”