Cooking a recipe requiring a small amount of wine is inconvenient when you don’t have some at hand. You end up opening a bottle only for that purpose, leaving you with perfectly good wine to dispose of. We all have our own ways of dealing with the “opened bottle” problem and I used to approach it as follows. First I would definitely have a glass of wine with my meal. I’m not a big fan of getting hammered by myself on a weeknight, I’m more of a “glass a day keeps the doctor away” kind of girl, so that wouldn’t take me very far. Secondly I would search for recipes that would use the leftovers but again the chances of finding one that works with my schedule would be slim. Thirdly, with all the best intentions, I would store it in my fridge, to stretch out its life expectancy, only to rediscover it a few days/weeks later, too late of course to do anything with it. I’ve queried this strategy many times but only recently have I looked at the problem from a new angle.
The answer is so simple, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner. Let’s just freeze the wine!
After some research and testing I can confirm this actually works and it is so simple, although a bit messy. Due to its alcohol content, frozen wine will never be as hard as ice. Once out of the freezer, it has the texture of soft Popsicle on a hot summer’s day; eat it quickly or it will go everywhere. But once iced-cold it will keep its shape, perfect to store the formed cubes into plastic bags. Just be quick with the transfer to avoid a burgundy pool on your counter.
- Leftover wine
- Ice cubes tray
- Plastic bag
- First, measure the volume of each cube by filling them with water. I for example need 50ml to fill 3 cubes of my ice-tray. I like to use a balance for accuracy, but you can use a tablespoon or a measure jug. Note it down somewhere to avoid doing this again.
- Pour the wine in each molds and freeze overnight.
- To prevent smells to be absorbed by the ice, unmold the cubes and store them a plastic bag until ready to use.
- If you don’t have ice-cube trays you can measure out the wine into handy measures, I like to do 1/2 cups (125ml), and pour it in plastic bags. If leakage worries you, put the bags, with the zip standing up, in a contain like a glass or a Tupperware until frozen. Once solid you’ll be free to store the bags where ever in your freezer.
- You have no wine cubes left and you’re in the middle of a recipe? Vermouth is your saviour! This aromatic grape fermentation isn’t just used to make great martini, it is also amazing in sauces, risotto, stews, you name it. Even the great Julia recommends it as a substitute to wine. Keep a bottle at hand, it will stay good for a good few months.