There are a few things I hate in life: people who have no spatial awareness on sidewalks, companies that share my contact information with others and…wasting wine. It’s such a pity to throw out wine. But right now, on lockdown, I find myself at risk of doing so. It’s just me and my boyfriend and my dog, and my boyfriend doesn’t drink wine. I can really only handle one glass of wine a night if I don’t want a headache the next day. And, at that rate, I find myself with a glass or two left in a bottle when the bottle turns sour.
This is not a time to be wasting anything though. I’ve been to the stores. I see how people are wiping out the shelves and how the good but affordable wine is dwindling away. So I refuse to throw away extra wine. Fortunately, just because wine is too old to drink doesn’t mean it’s useless. There are a lot of things we can do with wine.
While many of us may be facing dry and bland recipes because we were ill-prepared for quarantine, or just didn’t think about picking up sauces and seasonings in the midst of hoarding toilet paper and canned beans, having some excess wine on hand could be just what you need to add flavor to meals. So don’t be afraid to open a bottle that you won’t finish. And don’t try to get your quarantine buddy who exclusively loves Budweiser (or is that just mine?) into wine just so you can finish every bottle. It isn’t going to happen. Also, don’t drink a whole bottle to yourself for fear of letting it go bad. Nobody needs a hangover during the apocalypse. Err, I mean, social-distancing period. Here are things you can do with leftover wine.
Caramelized onions taste good on toast, burgers, poached eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, turkey breast, pizza, and all sorts of things. Caramelize your red onions with some leftover red wine to really make their flavor pop and keep them from drying out in the pan.
Add it to baked beans
If you stocked up on a lot of beans during this pandemic, there are ways to make them flavorful. You can make your own healthy barbecue sauce by combining tomato paste and red wine. Or if you want something more evolved, try this recipe that uses ketchup, garlic, and several yummy spices. Add the resulting sauce to your pinto or kidney beans.
Make wine ice cubes
If your wine is just on the edge of turning—not quite drinkable but not yet tossable—pour it into your ice cube molds and make wine ice cubes. When you’re ready to drink it, just let these melt in a glass and they should retain their flavor from when you froze them. You can also put them in sangria, to keep it cool without watering it down.
Clean your produce
If you want some extra cleaning power when washing off produce—which many of us do, with the scare of a virus in the air—wash your fruits and vegetables with red wine. You should still rinse with water, but after, splash some wine over it to kill any leftover germs. Plus, then your apple will taste like pinot.
Make some red wine syrup. Put it on pancakes, oatmeal, waffles, cornbread, and all sorts of breakfast and baked goods. Going with three cups of red wine to each cup of sugar is a good move. Just mix up the ingredients, bring them to a boil, then let them simmer.
Red or white wine that is just beyond being drinkable but also still palatable can make great sangria. All of that sugar and fruit will cover up any hints of sour that was coming through the wine. On the flip side, this is also a great thing to make when you have leftover, nearly-bad fruit.
Put it in your bath
If you’re always looking for ways to spruce up bath time, consider adding red wine to your next soak session. Its antioxidants might help slow the aging process, fight off free radicals, and promote better circulation. Just make sure to keep white vinegar on hand to give your tub a scrub-down after.
Add white wine to risotto
Add white or red wine to your mushroom risotto. Mushrooms are a great ingredient in that they taste good with either type of wine. Instead of soaking your risotto entirely in water, get it halfway ready in hot water, and then, when that’s boiled away, add your wine of choice.
Put it in vegetable ragout
This rich heavy-on-the-tomato dish takes up a red wine very nicely. But you can also switch things up and try an alternative to the traditional eggplant and zucchini dish, and try this winter veggie ragout, which relies on dry white wine for some of its flavor.
Love dessert and wine, and wish you could find more ways to combine the two? You can. Try this recipe for wine jelly. It’s like the classier version of jello shots because you’ll slowly savor this dish, and it uses wine instead of vodka.
Blend it into a smoothie
When you’re running out of brunch ideas and tired of the usual mimosa or Bellini, try making a boozy but healthy smoothie like this mango Moscato smoothie. It’s a great way to make use of the sweet one that was about to go to waste. The only ingredients are frozen mangos and moscato, so that’s easy.
Soak your noodles
Have you ever had drunken pasta? I’m not talking about eating pasta while drunk, because we’ve all done that. Next time you’re boiling pasta, drain the water when the pasta is about half-way cooked, and then soak it in warm red wine (or white wine) until it’s fully cooked. It’ll add a great flavor to whatever sauce you use.
Instead of paying for pricey red wine vinegar, just make your own with expiring red wine. This is a good recipe to go off of. You can use that vinegar in salad dressing, on crostini, in meat sauces, and so much more. If you’re trying to avoid the grocery stores right now during quarantine but out of salad dressing, just pair this with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Add it to your chocolate dessert
Toss a little red wine into your chocolate lava cake recipe, your brownie recipe, your chocolate cupcake recipe—really anything with chocolate will taste good with a little red wine. And it can keep baked recipes from becoming too dry.
When in doubt, just make wine popsicles. Buy a popsicle mold, and pour your wine, plus the chopped fruit of your choice, like strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, into the mold. You’ll have a refreshing, boozy dessert ready to go when the weather gets warm.