We've all been in this predicament: you opened a fresh bottle of wine, poured yourself a glass, then realized weeks later that you wasted tons of vino. This may have been a bummer in the past, but it's time to rethink this age-old problem. Leftover wine does not need to go to waste down the drain; it can be repurposed for sheer culinary delight. Here are three easy ways to make the most of your old wine.
- Make homemade vinegar. Pour your leftover wine into a covered container (make sure it's not airtight!) and set it in a cool, dark location to allow it to ferment. The solution will start off murky, but you'll see it clarify with time. Once you see a white skin at the bottom, a bacterial culture known as the "mother," the homemade vinegar is ready to incorporate into your favorite recipes.
The first time you make wine into vinegar, you'll have to wait several months. But after the initial cultivation, you can whip up new batches of vinegar every few weeks using the original mother.
- Deglaze your pan. Deglazing may seem like an intimidating term, but chances are you're deglazing your pan all the time without even knowing it — that is, adding a bit more liquid and cooking off the goodness at the bottom of the pan. If you're typically adding stock in this process, add some wine instead to bring a whole new richness and complexity of flavors to your dish.
- Enjoy a sweet boozy syrup. If you've opened up a bottle for a glass or two but have a decent amount left over, employ your wine for a sweet treat: boozy syrup. Combine the bottle of wine with a cup of sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat, allowing it to simmer for 35 to 45 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes on the stovetop, then refrigerate it until it thickens up. Top it over ice cream, waffles, or fresh fruit for a special treat. If you're using white wine, a split vanilla bean in the saucepan can bring a new depth of flavor to the syrup, and if you're partial to red, try adding a cinnamon stick to the mix!
What's your favorite way to make the most of leftover wine? Share your thoughts below!