7 Wine Hacks Every Home Chef Needs to Know
Nothing adds a bit of sparkle to entertaining like a glass of wine. Pop open a bottle and you’ve got instant je ne sais quoi. Entertaining friends and family is crazy enough, so don’t panic if you accidentally drop bits of cork into the wine bottle — this list of easy wine hacks will save your sanity, save you money and add some spice to simple food dishes.
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Home chefs are constantly looking for new ways to maximize their time in the kitchen while still being able to mix a drink and mingle.
Wine is a great way to add complex flavor to food and serving that same wine four different ways to guests — well, that’s just genius. Get more bang for your buck with Spiced Wine, a delicious red wine that can be prepared over ice, in a cocktail, warmed or at room temperature. Your friends will appreciate the variety, and you’ll enjoy cooking with aromatic flavors like clove, ginger and honey. Spicy Vines from Napa Valley sells an excellent quality bottle at a reasonable price.
Spice Things Up
Yes, we’ve all done it, and tried a medley of methods for getting those stubborn bits of cork out of our glasses or bottle.
It’s embarrassing. No need to panic, though! This hack is so easy you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it first, before you tried using the pasta strainer — which, for the record, does not work! Instead, grab a clean coffee filter and pour the wine into a decanter through the filter. Goodbye, cork bits, and hello, clean wine. It’s just that simple.
Breathe to Life
Let’s face it: sometimes a cheap bottle of wine ends up on your kitchen counter. Nobody’s asking how it got there, but here’s an easy trick to make the most of this situation.
Simply pour the entire bottle into a blender and mix it up for 30 seconds to aerate the wine. The air will improve the taste and bouquet enough to mask strong acid or vinegar flavors.
No Decanter? No Problem
Cube the Leftovers
It’s common to discover a number of open wine bottles after a party, each with random amounts of leftover liquid. Remember, wine adds lots of flavor to food, so instead of tossing out the leftovers, freeze what you have in ice cube trays.
Pop a few out when you’re making marinara sauce or melt a few down, add olive oil and you’ve got yourself a nice salad vinaigrette! Create instant food delight without having to open an entire bottle of wine.
Don’t Waste a Drop
The guests will be arriving any minute, the appetizers aren’t out of the oven and you forgot to chill the wine — don’t panic! If you’re crunched for time and need a bottle on ice in a pinch, here are two ways to get your chill on.
Place your bottle in a bucket; add ice, a little bit of water and a handful of salt. Wait five minutes before serving. Or soak a kitchen towel with cool water and wrap it around the bottle. Set the bottle inside the freezer and wait 15 minutes. Presto — you’ve got chilled wine!
Easy On Ice
Leave a Mark
With a house full of guests and just as many wine glasses floating around, it’s a good idea to tag the glasses so guests don’t get confused. Wine glass charms can be pricy and, honestly, easily forgotten while preparing for a party.
Instead, use colored rubber bands, hair ties, rubber bracelets or ribbon. For particularly forgetful company, use coordinated colored ribbon wristbands with matching glass tags. No need to make a fuss, just get creative and your guests are sure to compliment your style and solution.
Don’t Forget Dessert!
Just a few cups of leftover wine can be the secret ingredient in many simple wine-inspired desserts. Cherry winesicles are elegant and fun.
In a blender, combine 2 ½ cups of red wine, 1 ½ cups of fresh, pitted cherries and 6 ounces of simple syrup. Blend thoroughly, pour the mixture into molds and freeze for 6 hours.
For a super simple Spiced Wine sorbet, just blend 2 ice cube trays of Spiced Wine with 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt or crème fraîche. Serve immediately with biscotti. Doesn’t that sound delicious?
Take on party challenges like a champion and try to remember these tips at your next soiree.