Wine Down and Chill: Expecto Patronum

By Loralyn Mears PhD Loralyn Mears PhD has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on August 30, 2019

Wine Down and Chill – the Weekend is Finally Here

Ready to wine down and chill? Do you want to see your photo featured in our column? If yes, then send it to me! While you’re at it, send me your favorite wine, recipe or suggest a theme for a future article.

If you’re ready to wine down and chill, then you’ve come to the right place. Return here each Friday to find a food & wine column that’s fun to read and suggests terrific wine-movie pairings that go with the theme. You never know what’s next for our  “Wine Down for the Weekend” column. Read on for an easy-to-prepare-at-home no-need-for-a-recipe fabulous dinner paired with an affordable wine and a viewing suggestion. We’re here to help you sit back, wine down and chill.

Wave your wand: accio!

Are you a Potterhead? Admittedly, I am not.  I’m more of a Neo and Matrix kinda gal. That said, I am a fan and do possess a few of the 450,000,000 Harry Potter books currently in print. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 22 years since J.K. Rowling published the first of seven books in the series. Even more unimaginable is that the world, with the collective attention span of a gnat, voraciously consumed a whopping 3,407 pages of reading! For those of you that can’t resist a good quote, check these out.

You don’t need any magical powers here to figure out today’s theme. Given that it’s a bestie’s birthday and two of Jillian’s favorite things are bubbly and Harry Potter, the theme just stitched itself together.


Today’s drink is, of course, The Gryffindor

Bubbles alone just didn’t seem festive enough. So, in honor of the birthday girl, I’ve lifted a recipe from another bestie (Thank-you, RVA Sue!) and named it The Gryffindor in celebration of today’s theme for wine down and chill. This enchanting cocktail is sure to cast a spell on your guests.

Yup. I went there. Did you roll your eyes?

Like any good drink that I make, everything begins with some bubbly. Today, I’ve selected Lunetta Prosecco, not only because of it’s mysterious moonlight vibe on its label and namesake (translated from Italian = little moon) but also because it’s an enjoyable Italian sparkling wine. In fact, it has received ratings as high as 92 points. Hailing from the Veneto region of Italy, distributed under the Cavit label and priced at only $12/bottle, this bubbler gets it done. It’s apple and peachy fruitiness and tiny bubbles pair well with the other ingredients required to make the Gryffindor.

Next, combine about one-third Il Tramonto Limoncello to two-thirds Prosecco. Take a couple of frozen raspberries and gently macerate them. In plain terms, smash them up a bit then drop them into your drink. Doing so creates an effervescent and slightly pinkish trail which brings a touch of magic to this cocktail. It’s not quite at the level of artistry on display at The Cauldron in NYC, but it will do.

This requires a special glass

Naturally, you can elect to use an elongated champagne flute to maximize the journey of the bubbles up through the glass and into your nose. The distinctively tall and narrow shape first emerged in the early 1700s as artisans evolved away from ceramic vessels to glass and crystal stemware. By limiting the surface area exposed to the air, the drink stays bubbly for longer.

But, rules were made to be broken! An occasion like this calls for a special glass. Here are a couple of fun options offered at Total Wine. Either one would perfectly complement a wine down and chill event.

Pasta Alohomora

Harry and his pals at Hogwarts routinely dined on a typical English breakfast of sausage, porridge, fried tomatoes, toast with marmalade and kippers. All in all, not bad, there are a few options there. Dinner was often roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, lamb chops, steak-and-kidney pie, spotted dick and a slew of other things that I would never eat!

So, you’re going to have to allow me a little latitude here as I concoct something quasi-Potter. For grins and giggles, let’s call this Pasta Alohomora. Wink!

Five ingredients and five steps

One, select a funky shape of pasta. Here, Scooby-Doo (aka Cavatappi) are your best bet because they look like snakes.

Two, pick your protein. Go with traditional sausage fare or the divine Beyond Meat version thereof. While summer is still here, get outside and fire up the grill. Cook then slice.

Three, add a can (or two) of Hunt’s stewed tomatoes.

Four, fry up some onions, fresh garlic, and an optional mushroom selection. Hint hint – go with shitake mushrooms here!

Five, shred some fresh basil and liberally sprinkle large flakes (or grated) Parmesan cheese. Add a pinch of sea salt.

Stir everything together with your magic wand. Abracadabra and all that. Pour yourself another cocktail. Finally, it’s time to wine down and chill.

Endless Pottermore

For the nerds amongst us, if you plan to binge-watch all eight of the Harry Potter movies, you’re going to need a lot of bubbly! Count on 19 hours and 39 minutes worth of beverages and food to sustain you through a mega wine down and chill. If you don’t want to spend what’s left of summer (yes, “Summertime Sadness” is already creeping in) indoors, then pick your favorite movie of the series.

Since a sub-theme here is magic, I’m going to share how you can stream the Harry Potter movies from Netflix. You probably knew this, but they’re hidden from US and Canadian audiences. So, raise your wand, and try this spell to get access to them.

 “One can never have enough socks bubbles.” ~Dumbledore


By Loralyn Mears PhD Loralyn Mears PhD has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Journalist verified by Muck Rack verified

Dr. Loralyn Mears is a Columnist at Grit Daily and a podcast host (The Grit Files, which aims to shine the spotlight on female founders). She is a content marketer, founder of the WORKtech startup, STEERus, specializing in personal and professional development to address gaps in soft skills - communication in particular. In her consultancy practice, she helps clients with content and strategy. Loralyn spent over a decade playing with mosquito DNA, got her PhD, decided she would rather market science than be at the bench and has never looked back. Along the way, she’s wined and dined her way around the globe. She's authored two books, including the 2018 Gold Medal Indie Book award-winning, One Sip At a Time: a Memoir and the hard science thriller, "The Battle for Humanity: How Science Saved Us." 

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