Rule number one: do not cook with wine that you can buy in the vinegar aisle at the supermarket. You know what we are talking about, this stuff. It’s usually just labeled cooking wine with the word white or red plastered on the bottle. This stuff is not wine and you should never ever use it.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s break down how you decide what wine to cook with when your next recipe calls for the ever important ingredient.
Cooking with wine is actually very simple; the rule is, if you enjoy drinking the wine, you should cook with the wine.
Cooking with wine is actually very simple; the rule is, if you enjoy drinking the wine, you should cook with the wine. This does not mean the wine you cook with has to be expensive, but it should be a wine you would drink and serve to your guests. If you think it tastes good, it will taste good in your dish. Think about it, would you ever serve or drink a glass of supermarket cooking wine? We didn’t think so.
If the recipe you’re cooking calls for a cup or two of red or white wine, simply go out and buy a bottle of wine that you’d enjoy sipping while you are also preparing the meal. Following this rule also allows for the added bonus of getting to drink a glass or two while you are slaving away in the hot kitchen.
When we cook with wine, we often like to buy two bottles of the same wine. We then use one of the bottles to cook with and reward ourselves with glasses in the kitchen, and then serve the second bottle to our guests during the meal. There is something fun about having the same wine both in the dish and also in your glass.
If you’re not someone who cooks with wine often, or you don’t want to open an entire bottle of white wine when you are making a dish like risotto, a trick we often use is replacing white wine with dry vermouth. A bottle of dry vermouth, the beverage most famous for its inclusion in dry martinis, will last for a few months in your fridge, and is a great substitute for dry white wine. We love using it as a base for risottos and dishes like shrimp scampi. However, while vermouth is great to use and will avoid you opening an entire bottle, you must keep it in the fridge. Vermouth, just like wine, is derived from grapes, and the second it is open it can begin to go bad; keeping it in the fridge will prevent this for a while.