Happy Hour: Wait, Don’t Throw Out That Unfinished Wine!

by Diana Vilibert

Perhaps the saddest thing about drinking, aside from that guy at the bar who tries to get a drink by snapping his fingers and calling the bartender “buddy” (or, god no, realizing you’ve been flirting with that guy all night), is when you order another glass at the exact moment you reach that dangerous point between pleasantly drunk and texting ALL the exes.

Not much can be done when you’re out. You are forced to choose between abandoning a perfectly good glass of wine or, if you’re broke or cheap or a former member of the Clean Plate Club, deciding you can’t waste the alcohol and powering through, waking up the next morning with a cheeseburger in your purse and finger-snapping guy’s number Sharpied on your boob.

But what to do if you’re at home and in the possession of a half-full (or half-empty, if you’re a pessimist) bottle of wine you just can’t finish? Wine connoisseurs recommend just sealing it and popping it in the fridge to slow oxidation — don’t waste your cash on fancy vacuum pumps; they lose their vacuums literally overnight — though, depending on the bottle, you may still lose quite a bit of flavor. But I’m no wine connoisseur, so instead, let’s just decide to deal with it tomorrow and go to sleep and then make something yummy (and sort of trashy) with it the next day instead, yes? Yes!

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When life hands you bad wine, make kalimotxo! Also spelled calimocho, it hails from Algorta, Spain, circa 1972, when a group of servers at a festival realized that the wine they were about to serve tasted like feet. They decided to mask the flavor by adding Coke and ice … and surprisingly, it was a hit.

The original recipe just calls for half wine and half Coke, but there are variations all over the world that include everything from Ouzo to blackberry liquor, so I decided to experiment a little with what leftover wine I had on hand: half a bottle of rose, and half a bottle of white. Here are my two favorite recipes that I came up with:

3 parts rose wine
2 parts Coke
2 parts pineapple juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions: Build rose wine, Coke, and pineapple juice over a glass of ice. Add lemon juice and give it a good stir.

1 part white wine
1 part Coke
Creme de Cassis
Lemon juice

Directions: Build white wine, seltzer, and Coke over a glass of ice. Add a splash of lemon juice, stir, and then float about a tablespoon of creme de cassis (or more, to taste — but I would cap it off at 2 tablespoons), over the mixture.

Believe me, if these sound bad, you should see the experiments I left out. I stand by the yumminess of these two, however — though I’m standing by them a little wobbly, as they pack a surprising punch.

Have some alcohol in your bar/fridge/under the bed that you don’t know what to do with? Let me know in the comments and we’ll see what we can come up with next week!

Previously: The Backyard BBQ Michelada.

Diana Vilibert is a freelance drinker and writer.