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Wine and Corked Beverages

Have you ever wondered why wine racks are built so the bottles can be laid on their sides? There are a couple of good reasons. First, if you don't store corked beverages lying down, the cork dries up and won't fit properly when you try to recork the bottle. Second (and more important), if wine is to be stored for a long time with a dry cork, air can get to the wine and ruin the flavor. This is also true of other corked drinks. (Alcoholic beverages without a cork can be stored standing up.)

Have you lost your corkscrew and don't know how to open your bottle? Try using a large screw hook or eye hook instead, and use a mixing spoon or sturdy stick to pull a cork out. You can also drive a plain screw into the cork and grip the head of the screw firmly with a pair of pliers. (This technique is not advisable with a good, rare wine, however.)

To ease out a stubborn cork, dip a cloth in very hot water and wrap it around the neck of the bottle; it will expand the glass and free the cork.

If a large piece of cork falls into your bottle of wine, your best option is to transfer the wine into a decanter or a spare bottle. If this is not possible, use the following method to remove the piece of cork:

  1. Cut three pieces of stiff wire longer than the height of your wine bottle.
  2. Twist the pieces of wire together at one end and make hooks at the other ends (like a claw).
  3. Push the claw into the bottle and grasp the cork with it.
  4. Tighten the grip by slipping a ring or nut down the wires, then draw out the cork.

If you're not much of a drinker, you might be tempted to throw out wine left over from a dinner party. But don't waste it! Just freeze it in an ice cube tray, instead. You can use it later for casseroles and sauces that call for a little wine.

If you're having trouble filling ice cube trays, you can also slip a freezer bag inside a large plastic cup. Fill the bag with wine and pop it into the freezer. When the wine has frozen (overnight) you can reclaim your cup.

 

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