There are few things better than coming home from a stressful day of work, opening a bottle of your favorite wine (or, let’s face it, any kind of wine), and sitting down to drink a glass… or two, or fine, maybe even three. However, there are few things worse than messing up that glass of wine, whether it happens when you break the precious cork or when you realize you forgot to chill your white wine, and you now have to make due with either a lukewarm or watered down version of it. That's where these genius wine hacks come in.
No matter how hard I try, I always seem to do something to waste a glass, or at least part of a bottle of wine. This is pretty sad when you think about it, because regardless of how much money you spent on that bottle of wine, the delicious drink inside shouldn’t be lost because you didn’t know the right way to handle it. I mean, come on people, let’s get it together. This is 2014, and we have the Internet (and Pinterest) to tell us how to make the most of a bottle of wine. If you want to ensure that you’re doing everything you possibly can to take advantage of your favorite vino, read on to check out these 10 wine hacks. You might not need these right at this moment, but one day you’ll thank me. Trust me on this.
1. CHILL A BOTTLE QUICKLY USING ICE AND SALT
Sometimes you forget to chill a bottle of white wine, and then you get sad because you have to make the decision between warm white wine or watered down white wine — neither of those are very appealing. Force yourself to wait 20 extra minutes so that you can quickly chill the bottle. Here’s what you do: fill a bucket with ice, cover that ice with cold water, and add two handfuls of salt. Stick your wine bottle in there, and set the timer for your perfectly chilled glass of wine.
2. OR CHILL IT QUICKLY WITH JUST A DAMP PAPER TOWEL AND YOUR FREEZER
No buckets on hand to chill your wine? No worries! Wrap a damp paper towel or dish towel around your bottle of wine, then stick it in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes. The evaporation will help cool the wine, and you’ll be a happy camper.
3. MAKE CHEAP WINE TASTE BETTER WITH THE HELP OF A BLENDER
It happens to all of us at one point or another: we’re broke or the liquor store is closed, and we’re desperate… so desperate that even that $5 bottle of wine from the convenience store seems appealing. Well, kind of appealing. If you’re stuck with a cheap bottle of wine that just isn’t cutting it, blend it in a blender at high speed for about 30 seconds. This aerates the wine, allowing flavors to come out faster. It won’t work magic, but it will help.
4. CAN'T FIND YOUR CORKSCREW? NO PROBLEM!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck with a bottle of wine and no corkscrew… or just a bottle of wine and my own incompetence at using a corkscrew, despite my seven years of waitressing experience. This video shows 10 — 10! — genius ways to open a bottle of wine without a wine opener. Miracles!
5. USE A COFFEE FILTER AS YOUR WINE-SAVER WHEN YOU BREAK THE CORK
Breaking the cork apart when opening a bottle of wine can be a step below heartbreak. Instead of saying, “eff it, I’ll swallow some cork,” try this trick with a coffee filter. Put a coffee filter bottom side down over your wine glass, leaving room for the wine to collect. Slowly pour your wine into the covered glass, giving it time to filter through. The coffee filter will collect the tiny broken cork pieces, and you’ll be left with wine that won’t possible choke you. Confused? Check out this link for images on what to do.
6. FREEZE GRAPES TO USE AS ICE CUBES
A glass of chilled wine hits the spot, but what doesn’t hit the spot is watered-down wine thanks to ice cubes. To avoid that issue, freeze some grapes to use as ice cubes. They won’t water down your wine, and may even add in a little flavor — you could always put them in your glass for a few minutes, then remove them when they start to melt. Important side note: frozen grapes are also delicious to eat on their own. They taste like a mix of candy and a mini ice pop, and are extremely addictive.
7. STORE YOUR CORKED WINE BOTTLES ON THEIR SIDES
I know this might sound weird, but sometimes people have leftover wine that they like to save for another night. If you are this person, start storing your corked wine bottles on their sides. Storing them on their sides rather than upright helps prevent oxidation. You also avoid moving the bottle around, since the vibrations of movement will mess up the taste.
8. FREEZE LEFTOVER WINE IN ICE CUBE TRAYS
Wine goes bad pretty quickly, but it’s sad to waste it that way. The next time you know you’re not going to finish a bottle, pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze it. You can use the little frozen cubes to add to recipes — it’s perfect for making marinara sauce.
9. USE LEFTOVER WINE FOR ADDED FLAVOR
Even when it’s old, white wine is still a great flavor tool when cooking. Add a splash to a stir-fry or a pasta and vegetable dish. It’s an excellent use for white wine you don’t really like.
10. PROTECT A WINE BOTTLE WITH INFLATABLE POOL FLOATIES OR A THERMAL SOCK
Wine bottles are delicate, especially when you’re carrying them around or traveling. If you’re traveling with a bottle and you have the room, inflate a pool floatie (you know, like the little things kids use), and put the wine in that. It protects the bottle, and you can just stick it in your suitcase. If you’re just taking a bottle to a friend’s house, you can place it in a thermal sock.
Images: Beth Dubber/FOX; Giphy.com (10)