Sometimes in life, things just don’t go as planned – even when you’re about to enjoy a bottle of wine.
Never fear! Wine Cellar is here with five useful wine hacks to get you out of a tight spot if ever you find yourself vino-compromised.
WINE HACK 1: CHILL WINE SUPER QUICK
Don’t have the time to chill that wine?
Start with the obvious – pop your bottle into a wine bucket or cooler with some ice and cold water. If it’s really hot weather, remember to top up the ice.
Wine is not chilling down quickly enough in the cooler?
Add some salt to the water. Salt reduces water’s freezing point and makes the solution colder without turning to ice.
Lastly, try this: Wet a clean dish towel and wrap it around the wine bottle, then pop it into your freezer.
WINE HACK 2: QUICK AND DIRTY DECANTING
Aerating your wine can turn even an ordinary bottle of red into something far more palatable.
But you don’t need an expensive decanter or bottle aerator to get results.
You can achieve much the same effect by pouring your wine from one container to another.
Or, try a bit of ‘hyper-decanting’, by pouring it into your kitchen blender and giving it 30 seconds on high speed.
WINE HACK 3: STUCK WITHOUT A CORKSCREW?
Sure, most wines are sold under screw cap nowadays, but there are few things as frustrating as being stuck without a corkscrew when you really need one.
Try this trick: Insert a key into the cork at an angle, and twist it clockwise around the bottle. When you’ve completely gone around the bottle, pull out the key to remove the cork.
Or, simply take off a shoe, place the base of the bottle in the foot hole, and pound the shoe against a stone wall or tree. It will pop out bit-by-bit, allowing you to pull it out by hand. Clever!
WINE HACK 4: USE YOUR LEFTOVERS!
Not enough wine to save for later, too much left to waste? Make good use of it!
Frozen Wine Cubes
Freeze leftover white wine in cubes for later use in a spritzer.
Or, freeze leftover reds and whites into cubes, to use when a recipe calls for a splash of wine.
Sauces, Jus, Braises and Syrups
Beurre blanc, slow-cooked red meats, white wine sauce … a quick internet search will turn up countless recipes just waiting for your leftover wine.
WINE HACK 5: MAKE WINE COCKTAILS
Stretch out the value of an already-delicious wine with some easy-to-make wine cocktails.
Top up the glass with sparkling mineral water and some dress with a slice of lime/lemon/orange for a refreshing spritzer.
Tart up an average Sparkling by adding some crème de cassis.
Orange juice is a tasty additive to Sparkling at breakfast or brunch.
If it’s a Pinot or Grenache, pour into a jug, add some orange juice, slices of orange, fresh fruit like strawberries, peaches and apple. Finish with a decent splash of brandy and crushed ice.
Heat cloves, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, water, orange rind and apple in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add red wine and simmer for another five minutes. Remove from heat, strain and serve.
Sometimes you just want to take it easy with your wines, and not overthink the drinking.