No cold beer or chilled wine to serve unexpected guests? Or misplaced your trusty corkscrew? Here are some tricks for those conundrums. By Anjali Raguraman and Kenneth Goh
Make cheap wine taste better by blending it. Photo: Valentyn Volkov / 123rf.com
1. Make cheap wine taste better
What: If you are looking to make a cheap red wine taste better than it actually does, it helps to aerate it by blitzing it in a blender.
Similarly, instead of taking up to an hour to decant a heavy, full- bodied red wine, run it through a blender to aerate it.
How: Pour the desired amount of wine in a kitchen blender and blitz it at medium-high speed for 30 seconds.
Tips: Do not worry if the wine is frothy when poured out of the blender because it settles fairly quickly. This method works best with full-bodied red wines such as a Malbec or Shiraz, which typically need to be left to “breathe” or decant for a bit before drinking.
Verdict: Wine that has been “hyper decanted” or had a lot of oxygen pumped through it after being in a blender, tastes better.
In a blind taste test, sommelier Ian Lim, 34, of wine bar Wine RVLT in Killiney Road, could tell the difference between the same $25 bottle of Argentinian Malbec poured straight out of the bottle and the wine that was passed through the blender.
The wine straight out of the bottle was far heavier and more alcoholic. On the other hand, the wine out of the blender was “balanced” and he could taste the nuances of crushed berries, and vibrant fruit flavours.
2. Keep bottles chilled for longer
Socks as bottle chillers. Photo: Desmond Wee
What: Heading to a party with chilled bottles of beer and don’t have a cooler bag or box? Clean socks can double as coolers on the go.
How: Insert a chilled bottle into a clean sock, which insulates it from heat. If the sock is too long, fold it so that the bottle fits snugly. Putting the chilled bottle in a sock also makes it easier to hold in your hand or carry in a bag.
3. Chill wine or beer quickly
Wrap the wet towel around the bottle. Photo: Feline Lim
What: Do not panic if you have last-minute guests arriving and need to chill some beer or a white or sparkling wine quickly.
1. Soak a paper towel or linen cloth.
2. Wrap the wet towel around the bottle and place it in the fridge.
•The smaller the bottle, the faster it will chill. Beer cans and bottles can be chilled in five minutes, while a bottle of wine could take 15 to 20 minutes.
•For bigger bottles, use more layers of wet paper towel to speed up the chilling.
4. Use a mason jar as a cocktail shaker
Mason jar lime daiquiri. Photo: Feline Lim
What: If you do not have a cocktail shaker in the house, use a mason or jam jar instead.
Recipe for a mason jar lime daiquiri
•2 parts lime juice (Each part is the equivalent of 1 jigger or 1 shot glass)
•2 parts white rum
•1 part syrup (made of equal parts sugar and water)
•Mason jar with screw cap
1. Pour all the ingredients (including ice) into the mason jar, screw on the cap and shake for about 15 seconds till everything is thoroughly mixed.
2. Unscrew cap and garnish with a lime wheel or an umbrella.
3. Stick in a straw and enjoy.
•Add lime juice or rum to taste. Pretty much any shaken cocktail (including a margarita, Tom Collins or a sidecar) can be made in a mason jar.
•If you do not have a strainer at home, you can drill holes in another mason jar cover and screw that on before pouring cocktail into your desired glassware.
5. Open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew
Pivot the back of a hammer against the bottle to pull the cork out gently. Photo: Feline Lim
What: If you do not have a corkscrew, use household tools to remove the cork instead.
1. Remove protective seal from wine bottle.
2. Push a screw of 5 to 8cm long into the cork and use a screwdriver to tighten it, leaving about 1cm of the screw sticking out.
3. Pivot the back of a hammer against the bottle to pull the cork out gently. When the cork is three-quarters of the way out, pull it out by hand.
Tip: Use a screw that is long enough to penetrate most of the length of the cork or you may end up breaking the cork. If it breaks, some bits of cork may end up in your wine.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 19, 2017, with the headline ‘Booze’.