What to do with the leftover bubbly?
From early December through Jan. 1 (or beyond, depending on how fervently you hang on to the holidays), the pop of a Champagne or sparkling wine cork is a welcome and frequent sound. Fizzy wine is just the most festive of drinks, whether sipped straight up in a flute or mixed into cocktails. And many a New Year’s toast would feel incomplete without a glass of bubbles.
But whether you are quaffing French champagne, prosecco from Italy, cava from Spain, or something domestic and sparkly, you may end up with some left in a bottle. Since sparkling wine corks are notoriously tough to jam back into bottles, use a wine stopper as soon as you can to hold on to some effervescence. Tuck those half-full bottles into the fridge.
And then what?
A mimosa (orange juice and sparkling wine) as a post-holiday brunch drink is a lovely little bit of decadence, and should be considered. You also could make sparking wine the base of a sangria the next day, maybe with some berries and berry liqueur, plus a touch of some sweetener. Or add it to some pureed and sweetened fruit, like mangoes or peaches, for a Bellini-type cocktail. It might not be as fizzy as it was the day before, but if you sealed the bottle in a timely manner, it should be bubbly enough.
But maybe you’re cocktail-ed out. If your sparkling wine was dry (not sweet), then you can use it pretty much as you would any other leftover white wine in cooking. And if the bubbles are gone, no worries — the fizziness would be lost in the cooking process anyway.
Sweeter Champagne should be saved for drinks and dishes that have sweetness already in them. Zabaglione, an airy sweet pudding, is a dessert traditionally made with Champagne, so you might head in that direction.
Note that in cooking, most of the alcohol burns out, but if you are adding wine to an uncooked dish, make sure there is no one with an alcohol sensitivity consuming it.
MAKE A PAN SAUCE — Use leftover sparkling wine to deglaze a pan, pouring it in after you’ve sauteed your onions, garlic or other aromatics to loosen the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and begin to build a pan sauce, with broth or some other liquid added after the wine cooks and reduces a bit.
You can also add cream, a lovely partner to sparkling wine or Champagne. Or add minced fresh herbs and other seasonings like mustard, olive tapenade or hot sauce. Drizzle the sauce over sauteed chicken, pork, fish or seafood.
CREPES — Replace half the milk in your favorite crepe recipe with Champagne. You can use dry or sweet sparkling wine, depending on what type of crepe you are making. Dessert crepes can be made with sweeter bubbly.
FONDUE — Use it instead of white wine in your favorite fondue or Welsh Rabbit recipe. A bit of white wine is traditional in these European melted-cheese dishes.
STEAMING SHELLFISH — Simmer some garlic and herbs and whatever other seasonings you like (tomatoes, fennel, saffron, etc.) in Champagne, perhaps combined with a bit of broth or water, and then steam clams or mussels until they open. These can be eaten right from the shells, or used to make a seafood soup or stew, or pasta with mussels or clam sauce. The broth from steaming the shellfish should be strained and used in any recipe as well.
RISOTTO — When you start your risotto (any version), after you’ve sauteed the rice in oil or butter, start adding liquid by pouring in 1/2 cup of sparkling wine. This will absorb quickly into the grains and give the finished dish another level of flavor. Then switch to broth, adding it slowly until the rice is plump and al dente, stirring frequently. Also use sparkling wine to start off farrotto, a modern take on risotto using farro.
VINAIGRETTE — A splash of wine can enhance the taste of a homemade vinaigrette, to dress a green salad, vegetable salad (such as a green bean salad ), grain salad or, even better, a French-style mayo-free potato salad. If your Champagne is more than a week old and has taken on a vinegary taste, you can still use it this way!
BRAISES — If it’s not sweet, think about adding a few glugs of leftover bubbly to dishes like braised chicken with mushrooms or pork chops with apples. Or use it in braised vegetable dishes, like braised cippolini or pearl onions or braised cabbage and radicchio.
STEWS — Champagne would be great in a chicken or fish stew, especially one with Mediterranean flavors. And even though many meat stews call for red wine, if it’s a small amount you can usually sub in a dry white or sparkling wine. Use it in a lamb stew with orange and fennel, or a pork or beef stew with root vegetables.