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What Can You Do With Leftover Wine?

By Gina Trippi

October starts the three-month stretch of parties, pot lucks and leftovers, leftovers, leftovers! But it’s not just food, it’s also leftover wine. And it’s not just leftover wine. You might buy a bottle that is just not what you expected. What do you do with it?

The first step is to preserve your bounty. Use a Vacu Vin or any device that removes the air from the wine bottle. Blend all the reds together, same for the whites.

If you are using the wine today or tomorrow, and the heat outside holds, make Sangria! You will find recipes for both red and white wine versions as well as various fruit combinations. Food and Wine Magazine says the essence of this crowd pleaser is simply wine, fruit and soda water.

But as we are headed into the “cozy” time of year, think mulled wine. Nothing says cozy like simmering, spicy red wine. Best with leftovers of a not so dry red wine, a little more fruit presence works as well. Find a recipe for the mechanics of this magical elixir but, according to The New York Times, you will definitely also need oranges, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and brandy.

Let’s say you decide to use your leftover wine to inspire your leftover foods. If not using the wine today, freeze it in ice cube trays. A recipe that calls for a cup of wine for reduction for a soup or sauce will take about 10 to 12 cubes of a standard sized ice tray.

Use leftovers now or cubes later to make a wine syrup. Reduce the wine down, add sugar and, voila, you have a syrup to pour over fruit, waffles or mix into marmalade or salad dressings. And by adding pectin, you can turn the syrup into wine jelly!

Got extra Pinot Noir or another dry red wine? Try this basic recipe for Red Onion Marmalade Crostini. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until they are mostly browned. Reduce a half cup of dry red wine, soy sauce and butter. Spoon the sweet and savory spread to top off a crostini with goat cheese.

sort of like red onions or preserved onions with a spoon

And, if all else fails, you can make vinegar! You can find instructions on the Williams Sonoma Blog. Be aware that making vinegar requires more than leaving wine on the kitchen counter for a few days. The first step to reaching vinegar nirvana is to add vinegar bacteria, that is a raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized vinegar. Remain calm, this is easier than it sounds! Bragg is an easy to brand at your grocery store.

Next, blend one part of the vinegar to three parts wine into a container which can be glass, ceramic or stainless steel but you must cover the opening with cheesecloth. The vinegar will become more acidic over time. Time to completion depends on how much oxygen creeps into the container. When you like it, stop the process, strain it and store it in corked bottles.

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Gina Trippi


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