Are you a fan of wining and dining? May we suggest using wine IN your dining? Surely, we have all wondered what to do with that half-bottle of Chianti leftover from Friday night’s dinner party. It’s too good to throw away yet just a little beyond its drinkability period. Both red and white wines should be consumed within about five days, after that they begin to oxidize – and this is when you can still salvage them through cooking! Don’t worry if you are cooking for children either, much of the alcohol in wine burns off throughout the cooking process. Here are some fine ideas for using up leftover wine in the kitchen – let your imagination run wild with wine-based sauces, reductions, cocktails and even desserts. We’ll let you mull them over.


One of the easiest and most obvious ways to use up leftover wine is to incorporate it into a delicious sauce. Both red and white wines make for great additions to a variety of sauces for pasta, meats, fish and vegetables. Reds are best suited to tomato-based sauces or red-meat jus. Whereas white wine goes a treat in any creamy sauce and is also pairs perfectly with lighter sauces for poultry and fish. If frying onions and garlic, splash in the wine as the next step before adding the other ingredients. The wine, onions and garlic will bubble together delightfully, creating delicious flavors, aromas and textures all at once.


If cooking meat, steps things up a notch and deglaze away to make a deliciously unique sauce or gravy once your meat is cooked. Deglazing is a process involving adding liquid to the cooking juices and food particles in pan once the meat has been taken out.  Wine truly is your best friend for deglazing, as it perfectly soaks up the brown sugars, carbohydrates and proteins that may have formed at the bottom of the pan. Keep the pan on a high heat and stir constantly until you have reached your desired consistency. You may add herbs, spices, butter or even a thickening agent such as flour for a more concentrated reduction.


A wonderful plus side to vinaigrette is that it keeps well and can even gain flavor over time. Although it is commonly known to be used as a salad dressing, it is also ideal for basting meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables before cooking and makes for a delicious marinade to tenderize and flavor ingredients. A basic vinaigrette consists of oil, vinegar and seasoning, generally mustard or herbs. Adding a splash of red, white or even rosé will give a unique and elegant touch to any vinaigrette.


This may never have crossed your mind, yet, wine can very simply and effectively be frozen! If you don’t have the time or energy to incorporate your leftover wine into a sauce, vinaigrette or simply don’t have the heart to throw it away, consider filling up an ice tray and popping it in the freezer! This way, your frozen wine will be ready to use in conveniently sized “wine cubes”.  These can then be added to cocktails, such as sangria and spritzers, or can be added to cooking as they’ll melt down quickly and still work just as well as any liquid wine in sauces, reductions and the like. 


If you have a sweet tooth and are looking for a way to incorporate your leftover wine into desserts, there are options aplenty! An old favorite is to poach peeled pears in red wine, for a uniquely flavorsome fruity dessert. The pears will take on a rich ruby-like tint, making is both beautiful in taste and appearance. There are a number of delicious sweet glazes that can be concocted from leftover wine, which are a wonderful match for many types of cakes and puddings. Wine (and sparkling wine) can also be used to make jelly, ice-cream, popsicles and trifle. Cheers to that!

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