Yeah, I know you are supposed to only cook with what you drink, but I don't drink much/at all. What are some reasonable reds and whites I should keep on stock that are affordable in price (no more than 20 USD a bottle) and easily availible in a large city?
Just the cheapest dry red or white. having a bottle of marsala wine and cheap brandy is always handy too!
depends what you're cooking
cheap doesn't matter it's been proven many times that nobody can really tell the difference unless there is something terribly wrong with the wine
read the label .. "pairs well with" should give you a good indication of what will work best with what you're cooking
Pretty much this. I only ever buy wines that are in the $10-15/bottle range and they all work fine for cooking. You can definitely get away with using cheaper wine to cook with too. Just don't use cooking wine, that shit tastes fucking awful and is salty as fuck.
I disagree with the notion that it should be as cheap as possible. I did that when I first started cooking and it took me nearly two years to figure out why my wine-based reductions (especially white) tasted so nasty. I switched to better wine and suddenly problem solved.
I normally use stuff that's about $12-15 and it works very well. IMHO saying to use the cheapest stuff around is bad advice. It doesn't have to be great but it can't be awful.
Yeah, that's why I said I normally stick with wines around $10-15/bottle. It's cheap enough that I don't feel like it's wasted on cooking certain dishes but costs enough that it's still pretty reasonable to drink whatever I don't use in whatever I'm cooking.
That said, there are some pretty decent cheap wines in the sub-$10 price range so cheap wines shouldn't be completely disregarded.
Here's a great $8 dry red.
The guys on America's Test Kitchen talk nonstop about vodka for replacing water. It boils off quicker to make things like pie crust crispier.