I know… the first comments to this post will be ‘Leftover wine? We don’t have that problem.” I’m ready for the snarky comments, but sometimes our wine club events feature a lot of wine and inevitably, there is juice left over at the end of the evening. Here’s a 12 step program on how to handle this ‘problem’ should you ever encounter it.
1. Freeze it
Contrary to scientific rules about alcohol not being able to freeze, wine does freeze. Anyone who has put a bottle of champagne into the freeze to get a quick chill knows what happens! Use ice cube trays with lids from Tupperware or use little Ziploc bags so you’ll have small amounts handy to add to sauces and to deglaze pans.
2. Cook with it
When I wrap up a wine evening and see left over wine, I start thinking about what dish can I make with it the next day. Check out my post 12 Most Wine-tastic Meals for some ideas.
3. Make jelly
I can’t remember the last time I purchased jelly in the store. It’s so easy to make wine jelly. If you’ve got at least one bottle of wine (you can blend wines together over a couple of days to get 1 bottle) then you can make a batch of jelly. And you don’t have to use just one varietal. I’ve used a blend of Syrah, Pinot Noir and Malbec and it made the most delicious jelly. Warning Will Robinson: don’t mistakenly make the kids lunches with it!
4. Make vinegar
You’ll need to get a ‘mother’, no, not Your Mother, but the starter culture that will ‘eat’ away at the alcohol in the wine, and help turn it into vinegar. You can purchase the mother from a homebrew shop; there are instructions all over the web. The great thing about making vinegar is that once started, you can add bits and drops of wine to it whenever you have them. The vinegar bin is an evolving creature.
5. Vacuum seal
Get a Vacu-Vin Vacuum Wine Saver for under $30. Oxygen is what will start to kill the wine; these contraptions suck the air out of the bottle and keep the wine fresh for a couple of days. Keep the bottle in the refrigerator to tack on a few more days!
6. Pour into smaller mason jars
If you don’t have a handy vacuum sealer, save small mason jars (like the ones from the jelly #3) and pour the wine into the jar (fill it to the top to keep the oxygen out) it’ll keep in the fridge for a few days.
7. Make mulled wine
Mulled wine is wine, brandy, cloves and cinnamon sticks. You don’t need a full bottle to make a small batch. There are recipes all over the web, but experimenting with your favorite spices is more fun!
8. Make sangria
Most sangria recipes call for a full bottle of wine, but if you are short a few ounces, either blend together from another bottle, or adjust the recipe. Sangria is such a fun use of wine, fruit and brandy.
9. Trap fruit flies
This is probably the most useful and practical use of 2 ounces of wine. Take a bowl, pour in little bit of wine, cover tightly with saran wrap, poke teeny tiny holes in the saran. Leave on counter overnight. Next day, bring bowl outside, and discard the wine and flies. It works better than lemon juice, trust me.
10. Make salad dressings and marinades
Honestly, I don’t know why anyone buys salad dressing; here is a quick and easy recipe for dressings from The Tipsy Cook.
11. Blend it
If you have more than one bottle open, try your hand at blending, then store it air tight (see #5 & #6 above) and drink the next day. While winding down of one of my wine tastings, we blended Napa Cellars Zinfandel and Merlot and it was spectacular!
12. Rehydrate dried fruits
Rehydrate dried fruits in wine and use them in bread and cake recipes. Think of how luscious a buttery pound cake will taste with Chardonnay soaked dried apricots. Yum!
Call me crazy, but I actually look forward to having a bit of left over wine. What are your favorite ways to use bits and drops of left over wine, I’d love to know.