Exciting Ways to Use Your Leftover Wine

The jubilant excess of the Christmas period usually sees us stocking up on wine for all the festivities. Moving on from this period, you may find yourself with many bottles of unopened and unfinished wine. Rather than letting this go to waste, Ideal Wine Company has plenty of tips to put your leftover wine to good use.

Ideal Wine Company leftover wine
You may find yourself with many bottles of unopened and unfinished wine. Here’s how you can put your leftover wine to good use.

Red Wine

When it comes to leftover red wine, its best to remember that you can still drink it for up to 5 days. But after this, it’s time to repurpose that wine for better use. Here are a few options we use to prolong the life of our favourite reds.

  • Boil it – ideal for sauces: A standard tip for leftover wine, but a useful one. Try boiling down your red wine until it is concentrated. From here, pour the mixture into ice cube trays to make handy portion sizes and freeze. This means that you have red wine handy to add to your sauces throughout the year without having to open more bottles and create waste. As well as saving wine, giving your sauces a depth of flavour is made simpler.
  • Poach with it – perfect for leftover fruit: If you find yourself with leftover fruit, poaching it in wine creates a simple yet delicious dessert. Pears and prunes, for example, are great vehicles for a good red wine.
  • Mull it – brings new life: Mulling your red wine will undoubtedly uplift your old wine into something enjoyable again. The addition of spices brings a warming quality to your red, while the citrusy notes keep it interesting.
  • Cook with it – great for leftovers: With all the meats at Christmas, many of us choose to make a casserole with the leftovers. A good slosh of red wine can liven up any dish and bring new life to your food.

White wine

White wine can last up to 7 days once it’s open but can turn brown or take on a vinegary taste after this. Therefore, it’s best to act sooner to avoid this. The same principles of red wine generally apply to your leftover white wine. It’s worth remembering that white wine generally pairs better with lighter food, so here are a few tips on how to adjust these standards for white.

  • Leftovers – stick to white meats: While white wine can work well with different hot meats, it is best to stick with white meats like turkey when cold. This lightness works well with a delicate meat, but may be overwhelmed by red meats. This same rule applies if you are making a casserole or pie out of your leftovers.
  • Cooking with it – wonderful with fish: As the new year comes around and we try to be healthy, a lot of us may see an injection of fish into our diet. When cooking fish, a splash of white wine can bring acidity and zesty flavours. Your leftover white would be useful here.

Sparkling wine

While this may be the wine of choice around the festive season, it can be hard to know what to do with leftovers. Champagne can last up to 5 days after opening, while Prosecco is good for a shorter period of 3 days. Proper storage in the fridge with a cover is key and you should act fast.

While sparkling wine can follow the advice of white wine, it is not a great showcase for the wine. Try making a delicate jelly with your leftover sparkling wine. This still gives the flavours a chance to shine, while prolonging the life.

In general, the golden rule to remember with using leftover wine is how much did you enjoy it. If it is leftover because no one liked it, it’s not worth saving. Similarly, if it has gone bad and the flavours have changed dramatically, it may be beyond saving.

How to Perfect your Mulled Wine

You know Christmas is close when you’re enjoying a warming glass of hot, fragrant mulled wine. The traditional festive beverage, usually made with red wine together with various mulling spices and raisins, can be served hot or warm. With its heady aromas of sweetness and spice, this fruity drink is synonymous with Christmas. While it is a treat that many can’t wait to enjoy, it can be difficult to perfect the right balance of flavours being a struggle for many. At Ideal Wine Company, we’ve gathered our top tips to help you make sure your mulled wine is a winner this winter.

Ideal Wine Company Mulled Wine
Here are our top tips for perfecting your mulled wine.

How do I make mulled wine?

Start with a classic recipe – there are hundreds available free online – and they’re easy to follow. While you’re looking make a note of the spices used in them. The more traditional mulling spices are cinnamon, star anise, cloves and nutmeg. But others also include allspice, bay leaves, cardamom, vanilla or ginger.

What wine should I use?

One of the most common questions for how to make mulled wine is what type of wine you should use. While there are many varieties that can work, we know that it is best to look for certain characteristics. The ideal reds to use are young, bright, fruity and unoaked. These will create a good base to build on, while still bringing a rich taste. We recommend using very fruit driven wines, as these tend to make the best mulled wines. Try using an Italian red, a Southern French or New World Merlot. A Shiraz would also be a wonderful choice.

It is also worth noting that quality is important. Always use a wine that you would enjoy drinking. However, it may be best to avoid anything too expensive, as the spices will overpower the subtlety of the wine and that would be a waste.

What flavourings should I use?

After you’ve chosen your wine, add sugar or honey to sweeten it, but be careful not to use too much as overly sweet wine can become overwhelming quickly. Then you add your spices to give it festive flavour. These should include cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise and ginger. Make sure you’re careful when you put in the spices – a little at a time so that it isn’t too strong – you can’t take it back out again. Try gathering the spices in a muslin cloth to avoid small floating spices in your drink.

In addition to these classic flavours, try adding a spirit to compliment the flavours. You could add sloe gin, Cointreau or Grand Marnier for added kick.

How do I mull wine?

When you’ve added your spices, it’s now time to mull your wine. The time spent on the heat is very important. You need to infuse the wine long enough for the spices to take on the flavour, but must be careful not to boil it. This will bring out the natural bitterness of the wine that will overwhelm the entire drink. By lightly simmering it, you will emphasise the wine’s fruitiness, perfectly rounding out the flavours. We recommend serving your mulled wine comfortably warm.

Mulled wine is the perfect comforting choice for a cold December. Nothing says winter like a steaming mug or glass of festive mulled wine.