We’ve all made that decision—the one that feels adventurous in your mind or good on the wallet, but ultimately terrible on the palette.
The law of averages and large numbers and something or another that I’d rather not remember dictates that we’re all eventually going to run into a bottle of wine we just don’t like.
Fear not; your discriminating taste buds are part of what makes you, you.
Nevertheless, the sting of an undrinkable bottle of wine is felt most in your wallet. It’s not an easy task to watch that adult grape juice get guzzled up by the drain and pitch a glass bottle into the trashcan.
In answer to this tragic and inevitable occurrence, we’ve got a few great suggestions for using it.
Cook with it.
Wine you don’t dig drinking does not a bad kitchen companion make. There are countless amazing dishes out there that rely more on the general richness that wine adds, as well as some of the chemical properties of cooking with alcohol.
Two sturdy stand-bys that I will dump some wine on are sautéed mushrooms and onions (they can handle a sturdy red), while citrus and chicken always pairs well with a splash of white. The alcohol picks up all those yummy bits that you’d spend needless energy scrubbing up later, and the sugar in the wines speeds up the carmelization process.
I have even ventured into the territory of a beurre blanc sauce, especially when mom comes over and I want to make her feel like I paid attention to all that work she put in making dinners when I was a kid. Some butter, some wine and some close attention makes for a rich sauce that will have your friends talking about your behind your back in a good way.
Clean with it.
I was helping a friend move the other day, and we pulled out the drawers from his desk. Some of that nameless goo on the tracks got on my gray shirt, and now there’s an indelible oily, greasy goo-mark.
Oh, but wait! I have a boozy bottle of unwanted sauvignon blanc.
Enter chemistry (don’t worry, I paid attention in this class): dissolution is all about molecular polarity. “Like dissolves like,” and since alcohol and oil are close in polarity, a little watered down white wine could helps get those grease stains out if you get to them in time.
Become an artist with it.
It’s no secret that red wine stains everything from your teeth to your clothes (and your couch, thanks to that one friend).
While this may on occasion be an inconvenient property of the darker varieties of our good friend, you can use it to your advantage if you’re not feeling the taste.
Remember when you were a kid (or an adult, we don’t judge), and you’d tap into your inner Renoir with a 99-cent pallet of Crayola watercolor? If you’re looking for a monochromatic masterpiece, undrinkable wine might be the way to go.
Make a few different dilutions of red hues by adding varying amounts of wine to about a quarter-cup of water. Grab a few brushes or sponges, and begin creating an ink-wash style image on a porous paper or canvas.
Decorate with it.
The wine aesthetic brings in elements of California, France and Italy with the rich colors, refreshing taste and cozy, coastal vibe. Wine bottles, glasses and casks have been incorporated into still life or vanitas painting for centuries now, and we don’t think it’s a dying classic.
You may just be set on dumping out a bottle you can’t drink, and that’s something I can understand. But before you go chucking out that glass bottle, see if it wouldn’t just make a nice vase for your vintage hipster workspace, or a hefty bookend for all those classics. Save the cork for a future project (or a pincushion), and start incorporating leftover pieces of each wine adventure into your abode to show everyone the nuanced identity of your inner wine love.