Got A Bottle Of Lackluster Wine? A Splash Of The Right Soda Can Help

Retailers and liquor stores are breeding grounds for cheap, yet delicious, bottles of wine. But sometimes taking a chance on that budget-friendly bottle on the bottom shelf doesn't always pay off. Your options are to throw it out or try to salvage it, and if you happen to have the right soda on hand, you can turn your subpar bottle into something a lot more drinkable.

Unexpected wine pairings aren't uncommon — take wine with salt and lemon, for example — and adding soda to wine isn't new, either. Celebrities like Tom Hanks have gone viral for their wine and soda combinations; his champagne and coke mixture was dubbed as "diet cokagne" by the internet. As long as you're matching up the flavor profile of the wine to the flavors of the soda, adding the sugary bubbles could elevate a less-than-delicious glass of wine.

What flavors would pair well together?

For the casual wine-drinker, you can ditch your fancy wine vocabulary and group the drink into three pretty large and basic categories: white, red, and rosé. Each of these has a million different subcategories that the more intense connoisseurs would know by heart. But for the purposes of deciding which soda to add, these broad labels should do.

The first thing you should do is look at the flavors that appear on your bottle of wine's label — or if there aren't any, look up the bottle and see what people are saying about it. Then, try to match those flavors up with the right kind of soda. Sweeter rosé wines could work well with sweet and fruity sodas; think strawberry or citrus flavors. 

For red wines, you could follow Spain's lead and pair a dry red with cola to create the Kalimotxo cocktail. Cola-adjacent sodas including Dr. Pepper could also elevate a supbar bottle of red. White wines have notes of citrus fruits and honey, and could also be paired well with citrus sodas. Along with pairing flavors to the best of your ability, you should also make sure to add your soda sparingly. Like any experimental combination, adding too much soda at once can be risky and end up overpowering the wine. 

Grape soda might not always be the best choice

There is one caveat to this combo though. Even though wine is made with grapes, grape-flavored soda might not be the way to go. Most don't actually have grapes in them, so the flavor can be overpowering and doesn't pair very well with wine. For example, Fanta Grape, a popular option, doesn't list the actual fruit as one of its ingredients.

What could work are grape-flavored sodas that actually have traces of the fruit in them. Brands like Olipop have a Classic Grape flavor that lists Concord grape juice concentrate as one of its ingredients. Poppi is another line of sodas to offer a drink that has real grape juice in it. 

Another option is to craft your own grape soda at home. Some recipes are simpler and utilize pre-made grape juice that you can buy in a grocery store. Others are more labor intensive and start with real grapes that you'd cook down, smash, and extract the liquid from before adding bubbles like sparkling water or club soda.