Whatever you do with leftover wine, never throw it away. In fact, when you realize just how versatile those last few mouthfuls of delicious vino can be, you might find yourself hoping for leftovers, whipping bottles from under the noses of friends and guests, with half a glass still remaining! Not that there is any suggestion here that you should be so bad mannered, but look at what marvels of culinary art you can create with that leftover wine.
You can freeze both red and white, separately of course, in ice cube trays and use them to add flavor to casseroles, stews, soups and sauces. Your homemade soups will go further and taste a little more special. Even canned soups will be flavor-enhanced by the addition of one of your wine ice cubes.
For fish and chicken dishes, add white wine to a creamy sauce to give a piquant flavor. You can use white wine as a tenderizing marinade for pork and poultry meats. With steak or beef or lamb, red wine will tenderize and act as a great marinade or sauce base, combined with a little mustard powder and a pinch of your favorite herbs. You might want to make up your wine-based sauces and freeze;there are plenty of recipes out there for such delicious sauces.
What about a “different” salad dressing? Use sweet red wine, a little oil and some herbs or spices of your choice to drizzle over a fresh green salad. With a dry red or white, add a pinch of sugar to the oil and herb mix and taste those different flavors.
Give jello a lift with red wine. Make up a raspberry or strawberry jello as per the package instructions, but substitute half the water with wine. While not quite set, stir in fresh, halved strawberries, canned, drained peaches and some fresh raspberries, or whatever you like, really. Serve with whipped cream. A grown-up treat with childhood nostalgia in every mouthful. White wine would go well with lime or lemon jello, with the tartness cut with sweet, canned, drained pineapple chunks.
If you have a sweet dessert wine left over, think of making a good old-fashioned English trifle. Soak trifle sponges or stale, plain cake in the wine, add a can of drained fruit salad, then top with cool custard sauce. Finally, pipe whipped cream on top and scatter a few toasted almond flakes here and there. Serve with a calorie and alcohol warning.
Add soda or fizzy mineral water, lots of ice and a slice of lemon to your leftover white wine for a refreshingly light spritzer. With red, you can mix it with fresh fruit, fruit juices and chill for a light, Sangria – muy bueno! Or even add it to your punch with other more powerful spirits. Do not waste it.
Fortunately, many wine bottles now come with screw tops, so the wine will keep for a good few days. In which case, have a small glass when you feel like it and finish it off. If you are having a big party, where you expect lots of wine to be enjoyed, it is worth going to a reliable wine merchant. Arrange to buy your wine on a sale or return basis, so that if you have a lot left over, you can take it back and not lose out.
Finally, what about champagne? Not very likely that much of this will be left over, but if you do have some in the bottle, the fizz will go quickly. Who wants flat champagne? Try this to keep those bubbles alive. Hang a small silver spoon, handle down, in the neck of the bottle. Keep it upright in the fridge and it should stay good for another couple of days.
So there you have a few ideas of what to do with leftover wine. There is never any excuse to waste such a delicious and versatile culinary asset. With a little effort and some imagination, that wine could build your reputation as a super-cook. Cheers.