The holidays are upon us, and HOLIDAYS mean PARTIES, and PARTIES mean COCKTAILS, and COCKTAILS mean WINE, for the wimpy and delusional.
I say "wimpy" and "delusional" to cover the sad fact that I do not understand wine at all. I allow that there must be something very special about wine to warrant all the attention that is paid to it, but I, myself, am clueless. Wine tastes like wine to me. I can tell the difference between a very bad wine and a very good one, and I can tell the difference between a very sweet wine and a very dry one, but that is the entire range of my palette and knowledge. I think wine trashes the taste of food, that's how bad I am. And, besides, it has a pitifully small alcohol content, resulting in one making a serious investment in catching a buzz, or reducing one to settle for sour grape juice and a bad hangover. Wine also has this suspiciously self-serving (to the winee) reputation for being a healthy (in moderation, ho-hum) beverage of choice, which tends to make me not want to be associated with it in any way...
...and it is hard to open.
On the positive side, wine is a pretty color, will eventually lead you to a quite lovely high, and is sometimes effervescent, one of my favorite things. Since the doctors approve, there is no reason for anyone not to enjoy some wine during the holidays, so many a bottle will be opened, and in many different ways.
Learning to open a bottle of wine is a requirement for being an adult, even if you are going to be a Mormon adult. Being somewhere with a bottle of wine, and no means to open it, is a rite of passage, a test of one's courage and intelligence. Thus, in spite of my overall ignorance, I have dutifully learned how to open a bottle of wine.
And I will now share what I have learned.
Pick up a bottle of wine. Hand it to your husband. Say, "Here, honey, open this," and leave the room. The wine bottle will magically open. This is what you got married for.
Unscrew the cap. I'm so, so sorry.
This method involves one of the things that can be found on Swiss Army knives. It is basically a coil and a handle and bills itself as a "corkscrew", although it lacks the Archimedean ingenuity of the next method. It is not impossible to use, but it is awkward, and requires a certain angular relationship with the wine bottle which many women find to be difficult to achieve gracefully. I suggest using this method in combination with Method #1.
Use a real corkscrew, the kind with the levers on the side. Screw the coil in until the levers are almost vertical, then push the levers down. This is the easiest method of all, requiring no muscles, intellectual prowess, or husband. Recommended.
Okay, listen up, this is the BEST all-time, stupid party trick. I am going to teach you how to open a bottle of wine with a phonebook.
This is real. I learned it from physicists. What you are essentially doing is equalizing the air pressure inside the bottle with the air pressure outside the bottle. Here's what you do:
- Find a phonebook, or any really thick softcover book;
- Put the phonebook against the wall, about level with your head;
- Remove the foil from the wine bottle, exposing the cork;
- Start rhythmically hitting the bottom of the wine bottle against the phonebook, not too hard;
- After a few moments, you will notice that the cork is slowly emerging;
- Keep hitting until the cork is far enough out for you to grab, then just pull it out;
- Enjoy your wine and your new status as the coolest person on earth.
The 5 Piece Easy Lift Corkscrew set. I have one of these, thanks to a wonderful friend who comes to my holiday gatherings. But I have never opened it due to its resemblance to a medieval torture device, and due to the fact that it has five (count 'em, five!) pieces, some of them quite large and which do not fit into any drawer in my kitchen. Still, one never knows when one will be without a husband, corkscrew, or phonebook. So I have found an honored space for this device in my pantry, and am ready for such an eventuality.
That's it, enjoy. If you weren't before, you are now officially all grown up. Now, if you really want to play in the big leagues, work on learning to open a bottle of champagne by New Year's Eve.
And have a glass for me.