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How to Drink Bad Wine

Yeah, yeah, I know. Life’s too short, right? Well, bullshit. There will always be that party where you’re the “wine gal,” so you get the special bottle of Turning Leaf Pinot Noir they’ve been aging on top of the fridge for 5 years, or that gathering where you are forbidden to bring anything and everyone’s drinking Franzia Merlot from plastic cups.

The fact is that there are times when you have no choice: due to social or psychological pressures, everyone eventually is trapped into drinking bad wine.  Fighting it won’t help you.  Quit struggling.  Accept that glass of pukey juice with a smile, confident that you can knock this fucker out with panache.

1. Drink very little.  Accept your glass gracefully and then contrive to lose it somewhere, and then switch to water after a decent interval.  If anyone raises an eyebrow, make some comment about feeling dehydrated.  That shuts everyone up.

2. Keep it cold.  Cold is your best friend when it comes to bad wine.  When given a selection of seemingly identically bad wine choices, choose the cold one: cold mutes a wine’s flavor, you will taste less of the badness.  If your bad wine choices are not refrigerated, ask for some ice.  Even Franzia Merlot is almost palateable over ice; the blueberry flavors almost conquer the bile flavors when it’s cold enough.  Plus, ice will dilute it, and you won’t be too drunk to go get a decent drink after the party.

3. No smellsies.  I know it’s a reflex to swirl and sniff everything, even your coffee cup and water glass, but don’t go sticking your nose in this crap!  It’ll only remind you of the misery of your situation and exaggerate the nastiness of your swill.  Even better, close off your nose when you swallow — you know how you kind of close the back of your throat when you drink?  Like that.  Keep your throat closed for a few seconds before and after your swallow, and you’ll minimize the amount of flavor you can perceive.  (This also works when you have to down nasty-tasting medicine, and Jagermeister.)

4. No sipping.  Take big gulps, using the throat-closing technique, and soon you’ll be buzzed enough that the ick won’t bother you as much.  This will invalidate your ability to go find a glass of something bearable later on unless you have a driver, I’m just warning you.

5. Mix it.  If you’re given bad champagne, splash some Kir or cranberry juice into it. Bad white wine can also be fruited up or made into a (more) drinkable spritzer.  If you’re really desperately staring down the barrel (no pun intended) of 4 bottles of rotten red and no way out, cheerily suggest Sangria.  If your hosts have no fruit, just throw some ice and OJ into your glass. Colder, dilute, and the juice will mask some of the skank.

Do you have another secret way to withstand bad wine?  A good story about learning that life’s not too short after all?  Pull up a comments box and tell us all about it!

6 replies on “How to Drink Bad Wine”

Nobody likes hearing the wine the served is bad. I become particularly clumsy and oafish. Pretty soon, I don’t get any more pours for the host’s fear of my breaking something or staining something of value.

Crying pregnant is a bad idea… you have to produce on that one! I have always gone with the chilling theory.. But then I grew up with commercials for Great Niagara Wine that went “The colder it gets… the better it tastes… Great Niagara Wine…” Of course I thought that they were talking about the weather initially.. when I was old enough to know better I realized it was a truth in advertising statement.

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