Hot Tip: You Can Buy Booze at Costco and Sam’s Club Without a Membership

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Wholesale chains are great places to go for food like hot dogs, rotisserie chickens, and massive cheese wheels. But in many parts of the country, stores like Costco and Sam's Club also offer impressive selections of beer, wine, and liquor. In addition to being cheap and plentiful, the booze sold at bulk stores comes with another perk: They're often some of the only items for sale that you don't need a membership to purchase, according to Lifehacker.

The benefits that come with store memberships—such as access to bulk groceries, water deliveries, and even cheap funeral accessories in Costco's case—are well worth the annual fees for many customers. But even if you aren't willing to pay $45 to $100 upfront to do your grocery shopping, a visit to a bulk outlet may be worth the trip if you're looking to stock up on alcohol.

Thanks to a legal loophole in some states, retailers aren't allowed to require customers to sign up for memberships before buying alcoholic beverages. At Sam's Club, that means you can pick up a 12 pack (or a 30 pack) at any location without proving you're a member first. The way Costco handles booze sales is less clear. Though the chain won't disclose the specifics of its policy, according to Lifehacker, "word on the street is that you don’t need a membership to buy beer, wine or spirits if you shop in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Texas, or Vermont."

So if you find yourself near a wholesale store and want to do all your beverage shopping for the month at once, don't be afraid to walk in without a membership card. The stores carry the same big-name brands as regular outlets, and even the store-brand options are popular with customers. But if you want to take home a robot-prepared pizza to go with your Costco beer, you may need spring for that membership.

[h/t Lifehacker]

The 10 Best Air Fryers on Amazon

Cosori/Amazon
Cosori/Amazon

When it comes to making food that’s delicious, quick, and easy, you can’t go wrong with an air fryer. They require only a fraction of the oil that traditional fryers do, so you get that same delicious, crispy texture of the fried foods you love while avoiding the extra calories and fat you don’t.

But with so many air fryers out there, it can be tough to choose the one that’ll work best for you. To make your life easier—and get you closer to that tasty piece of fried chicken—we’ve put together a list of some of Amazon’s top-rated air frying gadgets. Each of the products below has at least a 4.5-star rating and over 1200 user reviews, so you can stop dreaming about the perfect dinner and start eating it instead.

1. Ultrean Air Fryer; $76

Ultrean/Amazon

Around 84 percent of reviewers awarded the Ultrean Air Fryer five stars on Amazon, making it one of the most popular models on the site. This 4.2-quart oven doesn't just fry, either—it also grills, roasts, and bakes via its innovative rapid air technology heating system. It's available in four different colors (red, light blue, black, and white), making it the perfect accent piece for any kitchen.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Cosori Air Fryer; $120

Cosori/Amazon

This highly celebrated air fryer from Cosori will quickly become your favorite sous chef. With 11 one-touch presets for frying favorites, like bacon, veggies, and fries, you can take the guesswork out of cooking and let the Cosori do the work instead. One reviewer who “absolutely hates cooking” said, after using it, “I'm actually excited to cook for the first time ever.” You’ll feel the same way!

Buy it: Amazon

3. Innsky Air Fryer; $90

Innsky/Amazon

With its streamlined design and the ability to cook with little to no oil, the Innsky air fryer will make you feel like the picture of elegance as you chow down on a piece of fried shrimp. You can set a timer on the fryer so it starts cooking when you want it to, and it automatically shuts off when the cooking time is done (a great safety feature for chefs who get easily distracted).

Buy it: Amazon

4. Secura Air Fryer; $62

Secura/Amazon

This air fryer from Secura uses a combination of heating techniques—hot air and high-speed air circulation—for fast and easy food prep. And, as one reviewer remarked, with an extra-large 4.2-quart basket “[it’s] good for feeding a crowd, which makes it a great option for large families.” This fryer even comes with a toaster rack and skewers, making it a great addition to a neighborhood barbecue or family glamping trip.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Chefman Turbo Fry; $60

Chefman/Amazon

For those of you really looking to cut back, the Chefman Turbo Fry uses 98 percent less oil than traditional fryers, according to the manufacturer. And with its two-in-one tank basket that allows you to cook multiple items at the same time, you can finally stop using so many pots and pans when you’re making dinner.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Ninja Air Fryer; $100

Ninja/Amazon

The Ninja Air Fryer is a multipurpose gadget that allows you to do far more than crisp up your favorite foods. This air fryer’s one-touch control panel lets you air fry, roast, reheat, or even dehydrate meats, fruits, and veggies, whether your ingredients are fresh or frozen. And the simple interface means that you're only a couple buttons away from a homemade dinner.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Instant Pot Air Fryer + Electronic Pressure Cooker; $180

Instant Pot/Amazon

Enjoy all the perks of an Instant Pot—the ability to serve as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, and more—with a lid that turns the whole thing into an air fryer as well. The multi-level fryer basket has a broiling tray to ensure even crisping throughout, and it’s big enough to cook a meal for up to eight. If you’re more into a traditional air fryer, check out Instant Pot’s new Instant Vortex Pro ($140) air fryer, which gives you the ability to bake, proof, toast, and more.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Omorc Habor Air Fryer; $100

Omorc Habor/Amazon

With a 5.8-quart capacity, this air fryer from Omorc Habor is larger than most, giving you the flexibility of cooking dinner for two or a spread for a party. To give you a clearer picture of the size, its square fryer basket, built to maximize cooking capacity, can handle a five-pound chicken (or all the fries you could possibly eat). Plus, with a non-stick coating and dishwasher-safe basket and frying pot, this handy appliance practically cleans itself.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Dash Deluxe Air Fryer; $100

Dash/Amazon

Dash’s air fryer might look retro, but its high-tech cooking ability is anything but. Its generously sized frying basket can fry up to two pounds of French fries or two dozen wings, and its cool touch handle makes it easy (and safe) to use. And if you're still stumped on what to actually cook once you get your Dash fryer, you'll get a free recipe guide in the box filled with tips and tricks to get the most out of your meal.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Bella Air Fryer; $52

Bella/Amazon

This petite air fryer from Bella may be on the smaller side, but it still packs a powerful punch. Its 2.6-quart frying basket makes it an ideal choice for couples or smaller families—all you have to do is set the temperature and timer, and throw your food inside. Once the meal is ready, its indicator light will ding to let you know that it’s time to eat.

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

This Board Game Teaches You to Blind-Taste Your Wine Like a Sommelier

It's OK if you play with boxed wine.
It's OK if you play with boxed wine.
Sommify, YouTube

Reading wine guides and talking to trained sommeliers might help you learn about wine-tasting, but the only real way to hone your skills is to sip a lot of wine. Finally, there’s a board game for that.

Sommify was created by husband-and-wife team Jessica Bush and Conner “Trash Palate” Taylor to give aspiring wine experts an opportunity to blind-taste in a setting that isn’t pretentious or intimidating. First, you and your favorite drinking buddies each bring a different bottle of wine to the table and conceal them in the drawstring bags that come with the game (so each person only knows the identity of the wine they brought). When it’s your turn to be “The Somm,” you pour each player a glass of your wine, and they take turns rolling dice to move through the halls of the wine cellar (i.e. the board). As they advance, they encounter locked doors that they must unlock by guessing qualities about the wine—like sight, acidity, and tannin level—which they keep track of on their scorecards.

There are also “Bottle Shock Cards,” which could help or hinder you on your journey; maybe your vineyard is tainted with smoke from a nearby wildfire, for example, and you have to hop back two spaces. The round ends when a player reaches the end of the board and correctly guesses the grape and country from which the wine came. After that, The Somm reveals the bottle and tallies up the points from all the scorecards.

The $49 game, available on Kickstarter, is expected to ship by November 2020 and even comes with a Zoom wine-tasting hosted by a Master Sommelier. And though you can definitely bring your own wine to your game night, the Sommify creators have partnered with Lifetime Vintage on two wine kits with unlabeled half-bottles of wine that are perfect for blind-tasting. It’s $75 for three half-bottles and $95 for four half-bottles, and you’ll get two $20-off coupons when you purchase the board game.

Learn more about Sommify here.