Let’s be honest, there’s something classy about wine, something sophisticated in the dainty way you clasp the stem between your fingers and swirl it. It’s probably why a recent study found that millennials drank the most wine in 2015 compared to other groups.
Personally, I’ve never cared for wine. To me, it’s a vile pungent taste that leaves a film in my mouth. I’m a gin girl through and through, yet there’s still that inexplicable draw that compels me to keep trying wine, gingerly taking sips and hoping the glass magically empties itself.
Why do I keep doing this to myself? Maybe it’s all the Real Housewives I watch. Maybe it’s that my friends like it and I just have never gotten over my middle school propensity to fit in.
Whatever my reasons, I know I’m not alone out there. To many of us, wine is gross, but there are occasions when bringing a bottle of hard liquor is just déclassé and, frankly, kind of sad. But don’t lose faith, my friends! Here are some tried and true methods that will help you choke down that grape-y elixir.
1. Choose the Right Wine
All wines are not created equal. When you don’t like wine from the start, selecting the right type of wine is important. Noticed I said type of wine and not necessarily the right brand. I’m not versed enough in wine to compare and contrast different labels and if you don’t like wine like me, you probably don’t care about brands either.
When selecting a white wine, your best bet is to stay away from chardonnay and pinot grigio and instead opt for lighter, fruitier varieties like any moscato, cava, or riesling.
Looking for a nice red? Stick with California Zinfandels. This is actually the only type of wine overall that I do kind of enjoy. It basically tastes like adult grape juice with very little alcohol burn or taste. But trust me, there’s still plenty of alcohol in there. It definitely still gets the job done.
White Zinfandels are neither white wines nor reds, but they’re a nice, neutral, and super-fruity choice.
2. Add Fruit
Popping in a couple of strawberries or cherries doesn’t just make your glass look super fancy, it helps sweeten the concoction while cutting some of that harsh fermentation. For the best experience, read the back label and find out what fruits are already in your wine and add those to punch up the existing flavor. If you really want to go all out, you can make a jug of sangria to share.
3. Chill It
A nice cold wine does down very smooth. A lot of people find a chilled wine more palatable than its room temperature counterpart.
The one caveat? Technically, you shouldn’t chill reds, but I know plenty of people who do.
4. Add Ice
I know what you’re thinking: but you just said to chill it. Well, chilling wine and adding ice are completely different. Yes, ice helps chill it for a smoother, more tolerable drink, but it also helps dilute it. Normally, this would be a bad thing, but that extra bit of water helps cut the overwhelming taste. Frozen grapes are a perfectly acceptable alternative.
5. Eat some cheese
Everything tastes better with cheese, right? No need to answer. This is absolutely a rhetorical question. Cheese and wine are a classic combination, but not just because it seems classier than drinking wine on its own. The pairing actually has a reasoning behind it: the sharpness masks an overpowering wine flavor.
6. Pair It Properly
I’m no sommelier and I definitely don’t have a refined palate, but even novices like me can make some rudimentary pairings. White wine? Think white meats like pork, chicken, and fish. Red wine? Think darker meats like beef and lamb.
7. Make it fizzy
A wine spritzer is a great way to dilute tartness and aftertaste. It’s an especially good choice for people who are more used to cocktails than straight wine. Right in their taste bud wheelhouse. Three parts wine to one part club soda does wonders.