How can I use Leftover Wine?
Don’t throw out that leftover wine! Use it in gravy, tomato sauce, salad dressing, or as a marinade for steak. You could also make sangria, slushies, syrup, or jelly. It even has non-culinary uses as a de-greaser or (ironically) as a wine stain remover.
Read on to discover some of these leftover wine uses for yourself.
Simply add your wine to a saucepan and reduce it with some sugar. Use about 2-4 parts wine to 1 part sugar. It’s okay to mix wine from different bottles – you can even mix white with red if you want. Simmer it slowly, stirring often, until it reduces to a thick consistency. It will thicken further after it cools, so make sure it’s a little less sticky in the pan than your final desired consistency. Pour this delicious syrup over pancakes, ice cream, ham, or duck.
Combine about three parts sugar with two parts wine on the stove top and simmer, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Then, remove from heat and stir in pectin with a teaspoon of vegetable oil (to reduce foaming on the surface). For a single bottle of wine, use one packet of pectin – about 2-3 oz. Stir to combine the ingredients, pour into glass jars, and allow to cool.
Optional: you can also use some of the wine syrup from the top of the article or a little lemon juice if you want to concentrate the flavor or add tartness.
There are many ways of making Sangria. This method takes longer than some, but it produces amazing results.
Cut up some fruit of your choice. You can make a Spring Sangria with berries, a Fall Sangria with apples and pears, or a Winter Sangria with mixed citrus. Fill a container with 3-5 cups of fruit, pour a bottle of vodka over it, and let it marinate 12-36 hours. The alcohol will pull the flavor and color from the fruit. You can then add your wine (2-5 bottles) and sugar to taste. Once again, the wine syrup from the top of the article would make for a great alternative sweetener.
Making vinegar from leftover wine is simple and yields a great product. All you have to do is pour the wine into a mason jar or something similar, cover it with cheesecloth or a towel, and let it sit in a cool place for one to six months. You’ll know it’s finished when it tastes the way you want it.
Marinade for Steak or Other Meat
The acid and alcohol in wine both help to soften and tenderize meat. Mix your wine with some salt, pepper, herbs, olive oil, and aromatics, like onion or garlic. The combinations are endless and will impart unique flavors. Generally, you should use wine marinades for 2-6 hours, as the acid in the wine can render the meat too soft if left overnight.
You can make a great dressing by substituting wine for vinegar in a traditional vinaigrette recipe. Add 2-3 cups of olive oil, ½ tablespoon of mustard, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 cup of dry wine, and a pinch of salt, pepper, and dried herbs. Mix in a blender until smooth and serve immediately.
If you find yourself making a braised dish like pot roast, you can add some wine to your braising liquid for extra flavor and complexity.
You can use wine in the preparation of sauces after cooking meat. For example, after roasting a chicken, you can remove the chicken from the pan, along with any liquid, and pour wine over the browned bits stuck on the bottom to loosen them. Pour the wine and drippings into a saucepan and simmer while stirring to reduce its volume and add aromatic complexity. You can also add herbs, seasoning, and the cooking liquid if you want, but don’t add salt until you’re finished. When the liquid is reduced, melt some butter into it and serve.
Both red and white wine make a great addition to tomato sauce for pasta or pizza. The key is to cook your sauce for as long as possible before serving. The sugars in the tomato caramelize very slowly over time and add depth and complexity. Add some canned tomatoes, wine, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and mixed herbs to a slow cooker for 6-24 hours, stirring occasionally. It’ll be worth the wait.
Substitute Wine for Water
When a recipe calls for a small amount of water, like in some soup recipes, you can consider using wine instead. A little wine can add an unexpected layer of depth and complexity to a dish, but too much will overpower it, so be careful not to go overboard. Using a combination of wine and water can be a good strategy.
Add a bottle of wine to your ice cream maker with ½ cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and ½ cup of water. After about an hour, you’ll have a delicious, boozy slush that your friends will love. Pour some wine syrup over each glass at the end for some additional flavor and color.
Wine Ice Cubes
One of the best storage options for leftover wine is in an ice cube tray. That way, you can have easily portioned wine for cooking stored in your freezer, which will prevent it from turning into vinegar.
Use White Wine to Clean Red Wine Stains
One way to treat a red wine stain is to add a little white wine to the affected area. The white wine will dilute the red and allow for additional absorption of pigment. This may not remove the stain altogether, but it usually helps.
If you’re planning to dye fabric, you can consider using wine. The final color is tough to predict, ranging from pale amber to pink, ruby, purple, to brown – depending on the wine, but the result is usually very pleasing.
Soaking dirty dishes with leftover wine will remove more grease than soaking with water alone, due to the acid and alcohol. If you’re cleaning up from a party and have too much leftover wine for any other use, you can at least use it to make your dish washing chore easier before dumping it.
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