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It’s bound to happen. You’re out to dinner with some friends or family and you go to order a glass of wine and…the list of wines by the glass seriously leaves you questioning why you’re even at this particular restaurant. Is there nothing else? Do you just close your eyes and point? Choosing a glass of wine to go with your dinner shouldn’t be so stressful! When you’re faced with a wine list that only has the cheapest and least exciting options, never fear – all is not lost.
What to Order when the Wines by the Glass are all Kendall Jackson
Wine is about more than just the drink, wine is also about an experience. There are a few ideas you should consider before you completely say no to ordering wine.
Try a House Wine
You might be leery to try a house wine because it’s the cheapest on the menu. However, they may still be better than you think. In most decent restaurants, the house wines do pair nicely with a majority of the dishes at that particular restaurant. Just because it’s the house wine doesn’t mean it’s bad or not worth a try. You may also hit the jackpot – sometimes those house wines are high quality bottles that didn’t sell well and the staff is just trying to move it out before the next shipment arrives.
Related: Most Popular Types of White Wines
Ask for Help
Seriously. While you may think the brand name listed is a terrible option, there may be a reason it’s on the menu. Ask your server, or the sommelier if you’re in a fancier establishment, for recommendations. What are their favorite wines by the glass? They may also be able to guide you to food pairings that make the unbearable wine list a little easier to deal with. Maybe you can even try a sample before you commit to a glass.
Try Another Cocktail
If you’re into rich, red wines, there are some cocktails you could order that will still get you the flavors you crave. An Old Fashioned with rye whiskey, splash of club soda, and an orange peel will give you the dry, bold taste and the orange zest to give you the fruity notes. Red wine lovers may also enjoy a Negroni with gin, campari, and sweet vermouth for the dry aromatics. Finally, consider a Manhattan. A Manhattan with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters is another way to get the same flavor profiles that you’d find in your dry red wines. Or, just order your favorite martini and call it a day!
Related: Most Popular Types of Red Wines
Examine the Beer Menu
I get it, it sounds like we’re going a totally different direction. We are, but not entirely. If the restaurant’s wine list is still leaving you less than thrilled, there may be some hidden gems on the beer list. Sour beers are a great way to transition from wine to beer. Many wine lovers like the dry notes in some sour beer styles. Funky beers, beer brewed with Brettanomyces, often develop very complex flavors that wine lovers often appreciate. Barrel-aged beer is another one to consider, especially for those who are lovers of a hearty Zinfandel. Barleywine is also something to check out if you’re stuck. Try a rose’ ale if they have one! There are a plethora of choices!
Mix It Up
Even if the wine list is lacking, you may be able to blend a few items together to enhance the flavors of your food. Ask for a white wine spritzer – ¾ chilled white wine, ¼ chilled club soda or Sprite, and a hearty squeeze of lime. Or make a Black Velvet – a combination of a stout (like Guinness) with champagne or a hard cider. If you can’t find a wine that pleases you, get creative with what they have!
You Could Order a Bottle
When the wines by the glass are Kendall Jackson, more often than not, it’s more cost effective to order a bottle. Wines by the glass have the highest markup on the menu most of the time and you can typically get only 4 glasses out of a bottle. If you’re with other guests, it might be best to by the nicer bottle and split the cost between you. Or, buy the bottle for just yourself – usually you can take what’s left home with you after your meal.
While it’s not the most ideal, many restaurants are moving away from the wine by the glass model. They do offer it, but they’re saving the good stuff from being poured one glass at a time. Do a little research and read the beer, wine, and spirit menu closely, you may be able to find a little something that suits you better than that glass of wine you were about to imbibe.
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