Thursday, May 9, 2013

Friday Feature: 101 Uses for Leftover Wine - Make a Syrup!

OK. I know what you're thinking:  Why does this woman have so much leftover wine?

The answer is simple. I teach wine classes at a culinary school. By law (and as a matter of good judgement) we do small tasting pours. If we didn't, students would either snore through the rest of their classes, or weave a bit when serving the guests in our restaurant dining room at lunch or dinner. Not a good thing. 

So I often have  between 1/4 cup and one cup of leftovers from each of 4-6 wines.
I can't drink them all (since too much wine in the evening for me means interrupted sleep) and I hate to waste something that so many people worked so hard to produce.. 

Ergo: 101 Used for Leftover Wine

Wine Syrup

Try wine syrup over pancakes or waffles, over ice cream, over fruit, in a parfait with greek yogurt , or drizzle a bit over a piece of hard cheese.  Delicious!

To make the syrup,  wine, sugar and flavorings are simmered until the liquid  reduces and thickens; so to make it worthwhile (i.e. to get enough yield to give as a gift or serve a crowd), I save up bits and schnitzels of leftover wine by freezing whites and reds separately in  ice cube trays or in disposable plastic containers with snap on lids. I tend to favor fruity rather than oakey whites, but if you like both, I suggest making separate batches and see how the oak impacts the syrup flavor.  When enough of each type of leftover accumulates, I make a batch of syrup.

To Make 1 cup of White Wine Syrup

3 1/2 cups leftover white wine
1 cup sugar
optional flavorings:
1 vanilla bean
zest of one  well washed lemon

Combine the wine and sugar in a saucepan.
If you are using the zest, add it here.
If you are using the vanilla, split the bean and scrape out the seeds. Add both pod and seeds to the pan.

Bring the pan to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer the liquid until it is reduced to 1 cup.
Remove the vanilla pod or strain out the zest if flavorings were used.
Allow the syrup to cool , and place in a clean, decorative jar.
Store in the refrigerator. It will thicken when it cools.


To Make 1 cup of  Red Wine Syrup

3 1/2 cups leftover red wine
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick

optional flavorings (in any combination or none at all):

1 vanilla bean, split
2 strips of orange zest (white pith removed)
2-4  whole cloves
2 whole star anise
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Combine the wine, sugar, cinnamon, and any additional optional flavorings in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Remove the cinnamon stick and strain any of the optional flavorings. Allow to cool, and place in a clean, decorative jar.  Store in the refrigerator.

These syrups will last indefinitely as long as they are refrigerated, but mine never last for long.

And if you don't have leftover wine? Buy a bottle of inexpensive red or white and try the recipe out. You won't be disappointed!

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