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Party’s over: Creative uses for leftover wine

Party’s over: Creative uses for leftover wine

For many of us the concept of leftover wine is unfamiliar. But just as there are often leftover foods when the party is over, the same is true with wine. If you find yourself with more than you want to enjoy with dinner the next day, there are a variety of ways to save it for future use.

I’ve spent the past few weeks researching and doing hands-on experiments putting these tips for using every last drop to the test.

Ice cubes

It may be the simplest, but I have found it to be the most useful. Save leftover wine or freezing it in standard ice cube trays. The cubes are especially useful in recipes for sauces and stews. Ten to 12 cubes equals one cup.

Homemade vinegar

It isn’t as easy as pouring leftover wine into a container — you’ll need to do a few things to ensure the best quality — but you can make vinegar at home with leftover wine. Pour the wine into an open container and cover with cheesecloth or even a dish towel (anything to keep insects out). Some instructions say to leave the wine to gain its own bacterial culture, known as the “mother,” but it’s best to add vinegar bacteria called Mycoderma aceti. Take one part unpasteurized store-bought vinegar (such as Bragg’s) and combine with three parts leftover wine. Over the next couple of weeks the mixture will get a bit murky, with a film developing on the surface and then sinking to the bottom. When it begins to smell vinegary, start tasting. Over time it will start becoming very acidic. When you like the taste, strain it off, put into a bottle and store in the refrigerator.

Adult popsicles

Yes, it is possible. This recipe calls for blackberries and pinot noir. But you could use any combination of fruit and wine that you like.

Pinot Noir Blackberry Pops

  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 cups blackberries
  • 6 ounces pinot noir

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool.

Puree the berries in a food processor or blender. You should have about 2 cups puree.

Combine the simple syrup, pureed berries and the wine. Pour into molds; insert sticks and freeze until solid, at least 4 to 6 hours.

Makes 10 pops.

Ice cream topping

Combine 2 cups white wine, ¼ cup honey and ½ vanilla bean (split) in a saucepan. Add 4 cups diced dried fruit (apricots, cherries, raisins, medjool dates) and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Let stand for about 10 to 15 minutes. Use warm or chill.

Mulled wine

Keeping separate containers for white and red wine, pour leftover wine into a 1-quart freezer-safe container. Keep adding other leftover wine over time. (Be sure to keep your white and red wines separate.) When the container is full, you have your base for a great classic. Empty the frozen wine into a large pot; add spices such as cinnamon sticks, whole cloves or a few whole star anise. Melt wine over medium heat; sweeten to taste with honey, sugar or apple juice. Simmer for 10 minutes and then serve with a twist of citrus peel.

Salad dressing

Take a teaspoon of red or white leftover wine and combine with 2 tablespoons wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots. Let the shallots soften and flavors infuse for about 10 minutes. Whisk in ½ tablespoon of honey, ¼ teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons of olive oil.