Photo: Claire Lower

My dumbest warm weather habit is buying super cheap rosé, telling myself and others that “I’m not picky,” only to discover that I actually am kind of picky, and that a five-dollar bottle of wine gives me an almost instant headache. And yet I persist, filling my fridge with half-finished bottles of crappy pink wine.

The only thing terrible pink wine has going for it is its pretty color, so it seems a shame to use it as a deglazing liquid, though you certainly could. To preserve its hue—and its ABV—I prefer to gently heat it with an equal amount of table sugar to make a gorgeous cocktail syrup with an alcohol content all its own. The sugar obscures the wine’s less savory qualities, and the wine provides a little acidity, and a lot of alcohol. It’s particularly nice with a botanical-heavy gin, especially when topped with a (good-tasting) sparkling wine, or seltzer, if you have to.

Just add a cup of sugar to a cup of wine in a small sauce pan, and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a glass bottle or jar, let cool, and use to sweeten and pinken your favorite clear-spirit cocktails.