Charles Shaw, Trader Joe’s line of affordable wines, is a godsend for cash-strapped oenophiles. These wines (better known as Two Buck Chuck—or Three Buck Chuck if you live in NYC), may not be life-changing like a decades-old Grand Cru Bordeaux, or as intriguingly nuanced as a delicate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, but that’s okay. In fact, these wines’ straight-forward, easy-going nature makes them even more valuable. Not only are they gulpable and beginner-friendly, but they’re also perfect for mixing into cocktails—can’t do that with a $250 bottle of Barolo.
While Sangria is the go-to wine-tail (and nothing to turn your nose up at, if made correctly), there are other ways to put your Two Buck Chuck to work behind the bar. Here, three cocktails to make with three bottles of Charles Shaw: Cabernet, White Zinfandel and Pinot Grigio. Paired with some of TJ’s signature frozen appetizers (try the Burrata, Prosciutto & Arugula flatbread and never order out again), these Two Buck Chuck-tails are the perfect fodder for a budget-friendly cocktail party.