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April 29, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Bacchus Knows Best: When Life Gives You Cheap Wine…

Cheap wine, cheap wine everywhere but not a drop to drink? Turn the foul into the fabulous with sangria or mulled wine. If you are having people around to yours, this is a perfect way to turn a couple of $8 bottles of wine into something a little bit special. WARNING: This will require some extra work.

Sangria: I attempted to make a white-wine sangria for a few people on Saturday so I could share with you a recipe that is a little bit different. Unfortunately my cheap, nasty Chardonnay still tasted like… well… cheap, nasty Chardonnay. Even though everyone forced a smile and did the polite “Ummm, it’s nice…”, it was an unmitigated disaster. So, lesson one: stick to red, which is much more forgiving.

Start with a bottle of straight Cabernet Sauvignon—this is going to form the backbone of your tipple with its more pronounced tannins and structure. Add to that a bottle of Shiraz, which brings a bit of warmth and roundness; then add two chopped oranges (sliced or wedges, your choice); any stonefruit you can find, and throw in a lash of cinnamon depending on your taste. The key is to keep tasting the concoction as you go—it makes you look like you know what you are doing! Leave this to soak for a few hours, then add a bottle of sparkling wine and it’s party time! Alternatively you can top it off with lemonade instead as it may be too full on for some of your more delicate guests.

Mulled wine: With the days getting shorter and cooler, I’m sure this makes it all that little bit easier for you lot to focus a little less on drinking, and concentrate on those all-important studies. That being said, the ancient Greek philosophers made sure they had their amphoras constantly filled with wine to help expand their thoughts and approach problems in a new light (not suggesting anything, just saying…)

So, in this sprint, let’s rock and roll with a winter warmer. Mulled wine is pretty similar to the sangria: You’ll need a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, two oranges and cinnamon, but this time put all that in the biggest pot you have and add some cloves, nutmeg, brandy and honey. Put the brew on a low heat for an hour. (I haven’t given measurements as not only does tasting look cool, but it actually gets you to start thinking about flavours, so when you’re no longer living off a student budget you can buy nice wine and actually appreciate it.) Let it sit for another 30 minutes and then heat as required—I suggest serving it in coffee mugs for the full effect.

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