As I stated earlier, the wine was flowing at the Basque Center and it usually is. That is because of the little known drink called the Kalimotxo. The Kalimotxo (or Calimocho, if you don't want to use the original Basque spelling) is a divine drink that consists of fifty percent wine and fifty percent coke. Splash in a little ice, and you have the perfect drink for a warm summer evening. Now, you can adjust the ratio to your palate, but that is usually the recommended dosage of this amazing drink. A lot of people are doubters in the legend of the Kalimotxo and many believe it is a made up drink. That usually happens the first time you hear of it. Most likely, you will think it was developed by a group of frat boys who, at the end of a long night, had run out of beer and started coming up with their own drink concoctions. That can be far from the truth. The Kalimotxo is in fact a real drink and it provides for real fun.
I even had my doubts when first hearing the of the wine and coke mixture. While the drink does take a time or two of drinking to get used to, I eventually found myself enjoying it, especially in L.A., where my friends and I would walk on down to Trader Joe's and buy a two dollar bottle of Charles Shaw wine to ensure a fine evening. Even as I searched Google for this drink and found it really did exist, I was still skeptical. It was not until my first visit to the Basque Center that I discovered its popularity. Too afraid to made a fool of, one of my friends had the gall to order two Kalimotxo's. Sure enough, the bartender did not bat an eye as he quickly produced two glasses of the great, mysterious Kalimotxo. At $3 a glass, it was not a bad price at all.
The Basque Center is a small place, with only five to ten tables sprinkled throughout the small establishment. It does hold an upstairs area and a reception hall next door, but these areas are usually reserved for private parties, wedding receptions, and such. In the summer, the outdoor patio is also open, which leads us to the events of last night.
A group of my friends met Blake and Jason, who were already seated out on the patio. A bottle of wine and a pitcher of coke were already placed in front of them. Now, I'd never seen this before, but to me it was a genius move, as it saved on continually trips to the bar. I must also mention now, before I forget, that the Kalimotxo is best enjoyed with red wine. I made the mistake of explaining the Kalimotxo to someone before and failed to mention not to use white wine. She did, and in turn, the results were not very good. Anyways, back to last night. As it turns out, the cheapest bottle of wine is called Terra Serra. We decided that it was probably a vintage July '09. While it wasn't the greatest red wine in the world, it certainly got the job done. You may be asking how much this wonderful wine is, and I will tell you. It was ten dollars. Throw in four dollars for the pitcher of coke and you get about 7 glasses of fun from the bottle. Of course, like I said, it depends on the ratio of wine to coke you are using. Needless to say, it was cheaper to go this route than buying one glass at $3 a piece.
The beauty of the Basque Center is that when there is a wedding reception going on, you know that the drinks are flowing there as well and soon the party will spill onto the patio. Sure enough it did. Two older women, most likely in their forties or early fifties, joined us at our table. They came bearing drinks and a love of Willy Wonka. Sure, the drinks where for their husbands, but it didn't stop us from secretly moving a Coors Light or two to the collection of empty wine bottles we'd accumulated. As for the Willy Wonka conversation, I believed it stemmed from a discussion on Gene Wilder. For those of you that don't know, there was a version before Tim Burton got his grubby hands on it (and subsequently ruined a priceless childhood memory. Anyways, the topic escalated when their husband's arrived and joined in merrily in screaming, "Good day, sir!", ala Willy Wonka. The next few minutes were spent singing lyrics from the movie, (in which the entire patio joined in, close to 20 people at this point) and quoting lines from the movie (which the patio gallery also added their two cents.) I believe we then spent the next half hour trying to remember what Gene Wilder says after Charlie gives him back the everlasting gobstopper. There was no luck, even with the help of an i-phone. (Thanks to wiki-quote, I found out today that he says "so shines a good deed in a weary world", which is also from The Merchant of Venice by none other than William Shakespeare).
As it was, the night ended up to be a good one. Even a guy named Chris stumbled into group, stole a cigarette, and than explained to us his viewpoints on the existence of heaven and hell. He was a brother of one of the ladies and he felt he could make himself at home. And we welcomed hm with opened arms and sarcasm. All of this is part of the point of going to the Basque Center. A good time will always be had. The wine is always flowing, new friends can be made, and the best drink ever invented was brought to us by the Basque. Long live the Kalimotxo.
"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift."