Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Entertaining
Two Buck Chuck Cocktails Even Wine Snobs Will Love

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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.

Matthew Kelly / Supercall
A brightly fruity take on a classic Siesta, this wine-based cocktail swaps in Charles Shaw Pinot Grigio for the majority of the tequila, leaving just a half-ounce of the agave spirit in the mix for kick and zest. Made with fresh grapefruit juice and bracingly bittersweet Campari, it’s perfect at brunch or just before dinner. It’s incredibly easy-drinking, but don’t worry, its low ABV means you can whip up a guilt-free second right after you finish your first.

The Essentials

Pinot Grigio
tequila
Campari
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
On its own, White Zinfandel can sometimes be a little sweet. But in this Mojito, it’s perfect. Mixed with white rum, fresh pineapple and mint, the rosy wine comes through with its ripe strawberry flavors and hint of acidity. Make one for yourself or scale up the recipe and make a big pitcherful for a crowd of wine snobs—then, after they’ve poured themselves seconds, break it to them that they’ve been drinking Charles Shaw White Zinfandel this whole time. It’s trickery at its most delicious.

The Essentials

pineapple
mint
white zinfandel
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
This round and rich take on a Black Manhattan splits the usual whiskey with Cabernet Sauvignon for a drink that’s lighter in ABV but certainly not in flavor. TJ’s Cab packs a lot of vanilla-tinged oak, which melds beautifully with the sweet-spiced bourbon and lightly vegetal Cynar. A couple of dashes of pimento bitters bring it all together for a cocktail that screams, “Serve me with cheese!”

The Essentials

cabernet sauvignon
Cynar
bourbon

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