Ask Adam: How Do I Get Away With Bringing Cheap Wine to a Party?


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Ask Adam Cheap

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I’m really cheap but I don’t want anyone to know. What is a wine I can bring to a party that SEEMS expensive and tastes good but is ACTUALLY really cheap, but is obscure enough that no one will know how cheap it is (no Two Buck Chuck please)?

Unfortunately, thanks to websites like Wine Searcher and apps like Vivino, it’s pretty difficult to buy a bottle of wine these days that people can’t uncover the price of. Technology makes that searching really easy. All it takes is typing the name of the bottle into your browser or scanning the label to pull up accurate price data from across the country for almost any bottle of wine.

So since it’s pretty likely you’re not going to get away with passing off a cheap bottle as an expensive one, I’d recommend bringing wine from a region of the world that punches above its weight. For wines that often deliver higher quality than their prices would convey, I love to start in Portugal and Spain. Both of these regions deliver stunning wines for well below the price you’d expect to pay for the quality, and though you may not recognize the grapes listed on the bottle, trust me, they’re good.

If traditional grapes like Cabernet, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc are more your thing, look instead to Chile, a region that often flies under the radar when compared to its neighbor Argentina. With any of these regions, you can be a bit of a cheapskate while still bringing your friends a good bottle of wine.

That said, it’s one thing if you’re broke, and another if you’re cheap. If you’re really short on cash, we have all been there, and we sympathize. But if it’s the latter, I have news for you: Your friends already know you’re cheap. Why not surprise them and bring a damn good bottle of wine?

What kind of beer should I order when buying a round of drinks?

Unless you know everyone in your party is a hop-head, stay away from IPA. It’s more likely than not that at least one person in the group isn’t a fan of bitter flavors. In these situations, I like to go with a brown ale if it’s available. I find this style of beer is pleasing to almost everyone in the group. It’s malty and a little sweet, without the bite you get from a hoppy IPA.

Why are so many small batch distillers focusing on rye whiskey?

Rye whiskey is having a bit of a renaissance, though I wouldn’t say it is reaching anywhere near the popularity of bourbon. That said, there is a growing consumer base that’s looking for a bit more spice in their whiskey, as opposed to the sweetness found in bourbon, which comes from its corn base. But the main reason you’re seeing more rye has to do with the spread of cocktail culture.

Many of the classic whiskey cocktails that are now all the rage again, like the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan, originally called for rye as the main ingredient. That’s because these drinks contain other sweet ingredients, so using a spicy rye brings the drink balance, whereas a bourbon can make it too sweet.

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