How to choose great wine at a hotel bar no matter where you’re traveling | The Knowledge Dynasty

How to choose great wine at a hotel bar no matter where you’re traveling

The economics of hotel bars don’t lend themselves to many thoughtful selections but there are ways maximize your drinking pleasure.

If you’ve ever spent time traveling or entertaining friends and family who have traveled to your city or town you’ve probably spent time in a hotel bar or restaurant. And, if you’ve spent time in a hotel bar, you’ve probably noticed the wine sucks: the red gives you headaches or makes your cheeks flush immediately; the white has a subtle aroma of battery acid or is sweet enough that it ought to be kept away from children.

Sadly, the economics of hotel bars don’t lend themselves to many thoughtful selections: they’re often purchased in bulk by the corporate overlords (of either the hotel chain or the chain restaurant sited at the hotel); management is rarely concerned about customer loyalty based on their wine selections; and hotel bars are catering to either a clientele concerned about price point or not concerned with wine at all.

If the hotel at which youre drinking has crappy wine in a place such as New York City or San Francisco, it probably doesn’t matter: walk outside, throw a pebble, and youll undoubtedly find another place to drink. But if your hotel is the only option in walking distance like, say, an airport hotel along a rather desolate stretch of highway access road or your drinking companions refuse to explore, there are some tips to maximize your drinking pleasure in a field of almost assuredly mediocre options.

1. Drink by the bottle rather than the glass. Not only is this generally more economical in groups, but usually there are more and better options by the bottle than there are by the glass. And, in many states, the law allows restaurants to re-cork bottles for diners to take with them it reduces drunk driving by reducing the financial incentive to finish the bottle so, even if you’re not going to finish the bottle, it might still be worth taking it to go.

2. Be creative in your selection. I know, you always drink the pinot noir. Bar managers know that, too: they’ll tend to stock the wines most likely to get ordered, and usually at the lowest price point. It’s to your benefit to branch out, even a little: order the zinfandel instead of the cabernet sauvignon, or the sauvignon blanc instead of a chardonnay.

3. Ask for a taste. Nobody wants to be that picky wine drinker, but dont set yourself to drink something you hate: the bartender doesn’t want to discard a full glass that you wont drink, and you dont want to drink something you wont like. Be polite, remember that you tasted a couple when you tip (ie, put down nothing less than 20% and notch it up for each moment you get picky) and pick a couple things you think might be drinkable rather than asking for a taste of everything on the menu.

4. Be prepared to drink a beer or nothing at all. Wine is meant to be enjoyed, not endured. If youre stuck in a hotel with nothing on the menu but a bunch of one-year-old, corporate-made schlock, tonights sobriety might well be better than tomorrows terrible wine-infused hangover. (But if you don’t drink it, perhaps find one of those comment cards and leave a nice note about why you didn’t spend your money perhaps the person who comes in after you will find the selections differ.)

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