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Snobs be damned, cheap wine is fabulous. We’re not talking about cooking wine or sticky-sweet varieties (ask me about the time in high school when I drank an entire bottle of Manischewitz at a party and got purple puke all over the front lawn). I mean the $3 to $6 bottles you always end up sticking in your grocery basket, figuring they’re not good enough for company, so you sip them alone. Well, with a few little tricks, your $3 wine can taste like $50 bottle of wine. Or at least one in the low- to mid-twenties range.
Decant It. This simply means transfer it to a new container- like a pitcher or another bottle. The act of transferring and moving the wine around helps to introduce oxygen into it, which improves the flavor. Note: don’t try to decant sparkling wine, as it will only make the wine go flat faster, which improves the flavor only for older, more expensive sparkling wines.
Aerate It. When decanting isn’t enough, try aerating your wine, by either pouring it through a wine aerator (look for them in wine stores and cooking supply shops) or simply stirring it. My favorite way to do this without a wine aerator is to pour the wine into a large jar or pitcher and whisk it with a wire whisk for 30 to 60 seconds. Then let it sit for a few minutes. You will most likely find the wine’s flavor to be improved.
Chill It. Even if it’s red. But no ice cubes.
Blend It. This may sound crazy, but I promise you, nobody will ever know. If you mix a bottle of cheap wine with a bottle of slightly less cheap wine in a big pitcher, aerate it well, and put it in front of your friends, do you know what they’ll do?
They’ll smile because you just put a HUGE pitcher of wine in front of them. Then they’ll drink it and comment on how unique it tastes. I promise. Try it.
Mull It. Simmer your wine with a few cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and orange peels. Not only will your house smell amazing, but your crappy wine will mellow into the ultimate stay-warm sipper.
Excerpt from "Hot Mess Kitchen" by Gabi Moskowitz & Miranda Berman. Copyright © 2017 by Gabi Moskowitz & Miranda Berman. Used with permission by Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.