We’ve all been there. Walking up and down the aisle of the local liquor market, trying to find a new, tasty, decently priced wine. No matter how many questions you ask to the clerk or labels you read while you browse, sometimes you accidentally end up with a bad tasting bottle of wine. Thanks to a simple trick, you have the ability to transform any not-so-great wine into a delicious one with just a pinch.
Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft’s former chief technology officer, recently told The Wall Street Journal his trick to making any wine with “excess fruit, tannin or alcohol” taste better is to add a pinch of salt.
Myhrvold said he first tried out the wine hack a few years ago at a dinner party while seated next to a California winemaker. When she complained about her own Cabernet tasting too fruity, he added salt and it was instantly more savory. “Pretty soon everyone at the table was doing this,” he revealed.
Aside from adding salt, another easy way to improve the flavor of a wine is to pair it with cheese. Though this might seem like common sense to some, a study recently proved cheese’s power to transform your wine just last year. If that doesn’t work, try sacrificing using your wine to make one of these wine based cocktails. Our favorite, is below.
Ina Garten’s Mulled Wine Cider:
4 cups apple cider
1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1/4 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, zested and juiced
4 whole cloves
3 star anise
4 oranges, peeled, for garnish
Combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve.
Another useful trick is blending wine, which is an old art form. You can generally make your crappy wine taste better by mixing it with a less crappy wine. Sarah Knapton from The Guardian suggests, “First-time blenders should start by mixing wines that are similar in character. For example, blend heavy reds with heavy reds. Or try a little peach wine with some Reisling.”
This handy guide from Wine Folly will tell you everything you need to know about which grapes appear in the most common blends, but the nice thing about this hack is that you can’t really go wrong. If you’re already stuck with a bad bottle, just have fun with it. It couldn’t get any worse!