Waste Not, Want Not: Recipes for Leftover Wine

Leftover wine? What's that? Our favorite thing to do with leftover wine is to drink it! Full-bodied reds and high acid white wines can sometimes taste better on the second day. However, if you left that one last glass in the bottle for a few days too long, it won't be pleasant to choke it down. Rather than dump it down the drain, we like to use the dregs for DIY projects. You could use it to make vinegar, wine syrup, or even make your own vermouth for a bespoke Martini or Manhattan. Try your hand at some of our recipes below:


2 heaping tsp dried wormwood* (may omit or substitute another herb)
1 heaping tsp dried gentian root (not powder)*
1/3 tsp dried chamomile leaves*
1/3 tsp juniper berries*
3 cinnamon sticks
1/3 tsp dried sage
1 orange rind
1 lemon rind
1/3 tsp cardamom pods
1/3 tsp coriander seeds
2 bottles light white wine (Pinot Grigio, Grüner Veltliner or similar)
2 cups sherry

  1. Combine herbs and spices in a stockpot and cover with white wine.
  2. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
  3. Cool to room temperature, then move to a cool, dark place overnight. The next day, add the sherry (the choice of sweet or dry determines whether the vermouth is sweet or dry), strain the solids out through cheesecloth, and bottle.
  4. Yields about 2 liters.  

Red OR White Wine Vinegar

3 cups of red or white wine
Water, as needed
½ cup unfiltered, raw vinegar or vinegar mother

  1. Pour the wine into 1/2 gallon jar or another large, clean container. Add drinking water until the jar is about three-quarters full, then shake or stir well until the mixture is combined.
  2. Add the raw vinegar or vinegar mother, then cover the mouth of the jar with cheesecloth and secure with rubber band.
  3. Hold the jar in a dark place, such as under the sink or in the cupboard for 3-4 weeks. Check on the vinegar regularly to make sure that no mold is growing and the vinegar mother is growing on the surface of the mixture. After a few weeks, taste the mixture every often to check that the mixture has fermented to your taste. 
  4. After about 2 months, the mixture should be ready to bottle. Strain through new cheesecloth and bottle, reserving the mother for a new batch, if desired. Voila! 

Wine Syrup

3 parts wine
1 part sugar

  1. Combine the wine and sugar in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Heat the mixture, stirring frequently, until reduced by half and the sugar is fully dissolved. 
  3. Set aside to cool, then use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.