Aside from hangovers, one of the other great tragedies of wine is that once opened, it doesn’t keep for long. So unless you, like the professionals, have access to a Coravin wine system which lets you pour a glass while keeping the wine preserved, you’re left with two options.
First, you could finish the bottle for the sake of it, but we all know that’s a practice not exactly rooted in responsible drinking. Or, you could keep it “for tomorrow”, which so often leads to forgetting about it and ultimately, the wine ending up poured down the sink.
But wine is surprisingly versatile and can be put to a fair few uses beyond drinking it. So, next time you find yourself with leftover wine, don’t feel like you have to finish it there and then – nor do you have to resign yourself to watching it swirl down the drain. Instead, we’ve teamed up with the experts at Cult Wines to bring you these 5 creative uses for leftover wine.
Here’s one interesting way you can preserve your wine for future use. Pour leftovers into an ice cube tray and once frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container – they’ll be ready to go whenever needed.
Not for regular drinking, mind. Rather, we’re talking about adding them to white wine for quick cooling without the dilution of regular ice, or saving them for recipes that call for small volumes of wine, such as to lend body to saucers or stews. This way, you won’t need to open a whole bottle just to cook (unless you want to, of course).
Yes, as anyone who’s taken an inadvisable slug from a long leftover bottle will tell you, wine that’s been sitting a while will turn into vinegar if left to its own devices. The finished result will be far from palatable, though; this certainly isn’t a quick route to aged balsamic or the like.
That said, it is possible to make a very enjoyable vinegar from leftover wine by following a simple recipe – a great addition to the condiment cupboard of budding chefs, gourmands and budding home cooks alike. Check out the Epicurious guide to making your own vinegar from leftover wine, though be warned, it should take around 3 months before it’s ready!
Alternatively, world famous Danish restaurant Noma’s excellent book ‘The Noma Guide to Fermentation’ has loads of useful information on making your own vinegar, along with some other invaluable insights and recipes. Check it out!
Have more of a sweet tooth? Use your leftover wine to make a tasty syrup that can be used on ice cream, fresh fruit, pancakes and whatever else your cravings command. You can even make it with individual flavourings, such as vanilla bean or fresh ginger. The Kitchn has an easy three-step recipe for leftover wine syrup that takes less than half an hour and tastes bloody great.
If you’ve got a bottle of leftover white that’s realistically passed the point of consumption in any shape or form, it can still be put to good use as a grease stain remover. Stir up a mixture of white wine and baking soda and apply to grubby patches on your garage floor, outdoor pathways or patio. Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe away – good as new!
It turns out that plants like a glass of the good stuff as much as we do – in a different format, of course. Pouring red wine into your compost bin activates the good bacteria already present in the mixture, helping your plants and garden to grow. Just be sure to keep your compost bin’s moisture under control once you add the wine. You may need to add a few more dry ingredients, such as cardboard, to compensate for the added moisture.
Now we’ve got leftovers on the mind, why not check out our tips on the 5 IDEAL things to do with your leftover onions and shallots.