how to drink

How to Drink Canned Wine

On the one hand, this article is nonsense. Pop the top and start sipping, right? We’ve known how to drink from cans for most of our lives. If that’s your style, cool, see you in the next article.

On the other hand, canned wine is still wine. Some of it is bad wine. Some of it, as you’ll see from the other articles in this issue, is quite good wine, wine good enough to seek out and enjoy. In all cases, you can choose to drink canned wine the same way you drink bottled wine, and get more out of it as a result.

In our last issue, we talked about our approach to tasting wine, which is:

  1. Swirl the wine
  2. Sniff the wine
  3. Taste the wine for acid and alcohol
  4. Taste the wine for it’s palate and texture on your tongue 
  5. Taste the wine for it’s finish and any other characteristics
  6. Color — check it, try to categorize it
  7. Enjoy the rest of the glass (or don’t!)

All these steps still apply to canned wine, with some slight changes. First, let’s talk about temperature. There is absolutely nothing wrong with putting a six pack of canned white or rosé wines in a cooler, filling that cooler with ice, taking it to the beach or the park, popping the top, and drinking deep. We filled a cooler with ice to chill all our whites and rosés for our big canned wine tasting day.

But canned wine is still wine, so you can do better if you want to get more out of it. You can start by pouring that wine into a glass, which will let you observe the pale straw or Instagrammable pink color of the wine. Once it’s in a glass, you can clink that glass with a friend’s glass and follow our tasting guide above, to really see what the wine has to offer.
Now that the wine is in the glass, you can use your hands to warm it up a bit from the ice cold cooler, and wake up the compounds in the wine that produce more of the aroma and flavor. Ice-cold is cooler than whites and rosés want to be, so a little bit of hand warming will help the wine “open up”. You probably only want a little bit of warmth, here, and alternatively you could chill the cans in the fridge instead of an ice bath.

You might notice I’ve only talked about whites and rosés so far. That’s because while you could fridge-chill your reds a little bit if you really wanted, most reds, especially canned reds, want to be closer to cellar temperature or room temperature. You’re going to miss some of the flavors in the wine if you get it ice-cold, and you’re going to freeze your hands waiting for it to open up. I especially recommend pouring red wines into a glass, for two reasons. 1) I always find it easier to drink from a glass than a can, and red wine spills aren’t my definition of fun. 2) Red wines are fun to look at in the glass. Sitting on your patio in the summer, having a glass of red wine in your hand to catch the light from the setting sun, turning the opaque garnet into crystal ruby in the fading rays — at Adult Juice Box we call that a hell of a good time.

Enjoy drinking your can at your own pace, and remember to recycle.