6 Genius Things To Do With Leftover Wine

Wine, vino, drink of the gods—no matter what you call it, wine has a special place in our hearts and our bellies. Instead of letting that half empty bottle go to waste or sit in your fridge for a ridiculous amount of time, try repurposing it in one of these creative ways. 

1. Cook with it 

You only need to add a little bit of wine to pack a flavorful punch. Red wine pairs great with red sauces, and white with creamy sauces. If pasta isn't your thing, you can add wine to recipes for chicken, fish or even roasted veggies for an extra kick. This first recipe calls for red wine, but if you have leftover white, you can cook up a garlic sauce in a similar way. Don't worry if your wine is leftover from a few days ago. The more acidic the wine, the less you will need to use in your recipe. This first recipe only calls for 1/8 of a cup! Long hot cooking processes like a stew or soup will help reduce the wine to make it less vinegar-like. No matter what type of wine you have leftover, there's a way to cook with it. 

Fresh Tomato Sauce with Balsamic and Red Wine

Recipe courtesy of Florida Coastal Cooking 

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of ripe organic tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/8 cup red wine 
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of dried sea salt, oregano, thyme, and basil 
  • 1 tsp coconut plam sugar 

Directions 

  1. Boil a pot of water and prep an ice bath to dunk your tomatoes in after blanching. Slice a cross on top of the tomatoes. Peel and skin them.

  2. Heat olive oil in the pot tomatoes were blanched in. Sauté onion and garlic before adding in the rest of the ingredients to cook for 40 minutes.

Chicken Thighs Braised in Garlic and White Wine

Recipe courtesy of Real Simple

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 8 chichen thighs 
  • 3/4 cup of all-purpos flour 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 3 small yellow onions, quartered 
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 3 jarred hot cherry peppers, plus 3 tablespoons of the brine 
  • 1 cup dry white wine 
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 cup of long grain white rice 

Directions 

  1. In a bowl combine oregano and a pinch of salt and pepper
  2. Pat the chicken dry and season with spice mixture and dredge in the flour. Heat a pan with the olive oil and brown the chicken over medium heat about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. 
  3. Add the onions to the pot and cook until browned. Add the garlic and cherry peppers. Cook for two minutes and then add the pepper brine, wine, and broth and bring to a boil. Put the chicken back in the pot and simmer for about 30 minutes. 
  4. Cook the rice according to the package and spoon chicken and broth mixture over it. 

2. Bake with it 

If you prefer sweet to savory, then you should be using your leftover wine to make one of these simple desserts. Red wine and chocolate are a notorious power couple in the kitchen, and they are just as delicious in baked goods. If you have leftover red wine you should be using it to make rich chocolatey desserts like the brownie recipe below. White is typically baked with fruits like pears of peaches, but you can go fruitless with the cake recipe below. The same rule applies for baking as it does cooking -- don't bake with wine you wouldn't drink! 

Red Wine Brownies 

Recipe courtesy of A Cookie Named Desire 

  • 3/4 cup of red wine 
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries 
  • 1 cup all purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1 stick of butter, plus extra for greasing 
  • 6 oz of dark or semi-sweet chocolate 
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar 
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 

Directions 

  1. Soak the cranberries in the wine for 30 minutes until they look plump. Speed up the process by gently heating them up in the microwave or on a stovetop. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 inch pan 
  3. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Set aside. 
  4. In a mixing bowl over boiling water heat the butter and chocolate until melted together. You can do this in the microwave but the chocolate is more likely to burn that way. 
  5. Remove the bowl from heat and beat in the eggs 
  6. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, and flour to the mixture. Mix well. 
  7. Mix in the red wine and cranberries. Fold in the walnuts. 
  8. Bake for 50-55 minutes and then let cook for about 30 minutes. 

White Wine Cake

Recipe courtesy of Duncan Hines 

Cake

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix 
  • 1 smal box of instant vanilla pudding 
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil 
  • 1/4 cup of white wine 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans 

Glaze

  • 1 stick of margarine 
  • 1 cup fo sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of white wine 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Spray pan with non stick spray.
  3. Prepare boxed cake mix leaving out pecans. 
  4. Layer pecans at the bottom of the pan, then pour the cake mix over.
  5. Bake for an hour and ten minutes.
  6. For the glaze, bring all ingredients to a boil for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and add in the wine.
  8. Spoon the glaze onto the cake while it is still hot after removing from the oven. 

3. Make a face mask

Take things to the next level with this mix of ingredients. No, they aren’t for eating -- but for an awesome facemask that has been taking Pinterest by storm. The combination of anti-inflammatory ingredients plus the smell of honey and red wine make this mixture absolutely perfect. 

Wine Face Mask 

Recipe courtesy of Bustle and The Beauty Bean

  • 1 teaspoon of Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of red wine (Merlot) 
  • 1 teaspoon honey 

Directions

  1. Mix it all up and apply to a clean face with a cotton ball.
  2. Leave it on for about 15 minutes then rinse off for smooth refreshed skin.

4. Get rid of wine stains 

No, you shouldn't fight fire with fire -- but you can fight wine stains with wine stains. Elizabeth Reeve, a senior at Wells College, learned this trick the hard way. "I was with some friends and spilled a little wine on my shirt. The next thing I know my friend was cleaning it with white wine," she says. "It didn't completely go away, but I was able to salvage my shirt." For this trick, you have to work quickly. White wine can be used to clean up red wine stains, but only when the stain is still damp. Unfortunately, it doesn't work the other way around. 

Clean up red wine 

Recipe courtesy of Cleanipedia

  • salt
  • white wine
  • baking soda

Directions

  1. Dab any excess liquid. 
  2. Apply the salt. 
  3. Then apply the white wine. 
  4. Mix baking soda with water and apply to the stain.
  5. Wash off and then wash as per usual. 

5. Freeze it 

Freezing wine is an easy way to save that leftover bottle. The easiest and most efficient way to do this is to use an ice cube tray. Frozen wine is best for cooking but can be used to create a slushie-like sangria or boozy ice pops. Time-wise, you should use up or freeze wine within a day if it's been left out, or a week if it's been closed and kept in the fridge. 

Wine cubes 

How-to courtesy of The Balance

Directions

  1. Fill an empty ice cube tray with wine.
  2. Keep in the freeer. (Typically freezes quicker than water due to the alcohol content.)
  3. Remove from tray and keep in a freezer safe back for easy access. 

6. Sanitize with it 

Wine is typically associated with stains, but it can actually be used to sanitize. Sanitizing, or removing bacteria, isn't the same thing as cleaning (so be sure to still wash your fruits and veggies!). Get rid of any bacteria hiding in your produce or on your countertop with white wine. The alcohol is what gets the job done. Add some to a spray bottle and spray it on your veggies or table. For your countertop, stick to dry white wines so you won't have to deal with any sticky residue. 

Related: 13 Reasons Why Wine is Like Your Best Friend 

When it comes to leftover wine, there are many ways to use up even the last tablespoon. This could mean spicing up your dinner menu, adding a surprise ingredient to your weekly face mask or adding a savory element to dessert. No matter how you choose to use up your leftover wine it’s great to know that not a drop is going to waste!