Sure, “estate grown wine” sounds chic, but once you’ve got a happy buzz going, does it really matter how you got there? An inexpensive bottle (looking at you, Trader Joe’s) can be just as memorable—desirable, even—once it’s spiked with the caramelly complexity of cola, lots of ginger, fresh lemon, and some choice spices to tame any sharp edges and excess acidity. If someone is being a snob, just tell them those in the Basque region call a non-spiced version of this drink kalimotxo/calimocho and drink it by the jugful. It’s like your college hangover but more refined. Choose a fruity, easy-drinking red like Merlot, Malbec, or Pinot Noir.
For more highly craveable recipes that’ll help save you some $$$ along the way, check out Shilpa’s monthly column, What a Steal.