Uncommon Pairings: Anything in a Wine Glass Tastes Better

feature image photo by Stefania Pelfini, La Waziya Photography via Getty Images

Welcome back to Uncommon Pairings, a series (mostly) about wine!

I’m trying to drink less, and as a surprise to (probably) absolutely no one, it’s really hard. I’m not doing Dry January this year, but I am trying to be more mindful about my alcohol consumption. When I say it’s hard, I mean it’s hard socially. I went to a big state school where drinking was the norm, and my circle still reflects that. Separately, I live in a pretty consumption-heavy city, and I like to go out! Not all restaurants and bars have mocktails or nonalcoholic beers, and even when they do, it’s rare that they’ll have more than a few. (Oddly Enough, a queer bar in Bed-Stuy, is a notable exception, but they are a. closing at the end of the month and b. well, I’ll let you decide.)

The mocktail world is definitely better than it used to be, no doubt due (at least in part) to the fact that young adults are drinking less than in previous decades. From a more wine-specific lens — this is a wine column, after all — wine consumption is down, especially among Gen Z. As a result, we’re seeing new, booze-free takes on centuries-old drinks. Seedlip and St. Agrestis’s Phony Negroni immediately come to mind, but there are dozens more. It seems like bars are slowly catching on, but it might be a few more years before a bar’s mocktail list is as equally lengthy as the cocktail list.

But you know where the mocktail list can be lengthy, right now? At home! Drinking less is hard(er) socially for me, but when I’m at home, it’s a breeze. I’ve been creating drinks that remind me a lot of the cocktails and wine that my palate craves, and when I have them in stemware, they taste fantastic.

Honestly, I think anything in stemware tastes better. I did some very important scientific research: With my eyes closed, I drank the same beverage out of two glasses (one wine glass, one mason jar) with the same reusable straw, and I could tell the difference!!!! Well, I guess I had a 50/50 chance of getting it right anyway, so it could just be probability working in my favor, but we’ll never know! I am a Gay in STEM!

Here are some things I have been drinking out of wine glasses that I think are Very Good!!

Sleepy Girl Mocktails

I found these on TikTok, and honestly, I love them. It’s tart cherry juice and sparkling water (the TikTok crowd loves to top theirs with Poppi, but I’m team San Pel) over ice, and if you’re going the traditional route, with a little magnesium powder stirred in. Apparently, tart cherry juice has tryptophan and melatonin, so that’s probably how these drinks got their name. They don’t make ME sleepy, but they might make you sleepy!! I like them because they look (and taste) a lot like sparkling red wine (especially if you’re doing this sans ice). To make it feel even more like a cocktail, highly recommend garnishing with a sprig of rosemary — that’s winter in a glass!

A Dirty Martini-ish Fizzy Thing

I wish I had a better name for these, but Dirty Martini-ish Fizzy Thing is what we’re sticking with for now! I’ve decided that 2024 is the year I stop pretending I like martinis. I only ever like them when they’re extremely dirty, which leads me to believe that maybe I just like olive juice. I came up with the Dirty Martini Fizzy-ish Thing when I wanted olive juice in a drinkable format. And yes, I could just stick a straw in the olive container, but I wanted something a touch more complex. So, DMFT: a splash of apple cider vinegar, a lot of olive juice, something sparkling (ideally the Casamara botanical soda for some gin-like elements, but sparkling water will suffice). Lots of olives, naturally. It’s not exactly like a martini, but considered as a wholly separate drink, I think it’s very good!

Literally Everything Else

I’m not kidding! There’s something about stemware that gives it the ability to make even the simplest soda ten times more fun. I’ve discovered that ginger ale in a fluted glass looks a lot like sparkling wine, and that cane sugar Coca-Cola in a big wide-bottomed wine glass is more fun than drinking it out of the bottle. None of these things are substitutes for wine, but if you treat them as though they’re just as special, they become infinitely more enjoyable.

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Ashni is a writer, comedian, and farmer's market enthusiast. When they're not writing, they can be found soaking up the sun, trying to make a container garden happen, or reading queer YA.

ashni has written 51 articles for us.


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