(Or as I like to say, "what to do with that cabernet your date got you prefer rosé")
I like wine. I like trying new wines. Sometimes, though, it just doesn’t work out, no matter what you drink it with or how cold it is. Some wines are just gross, yet I find I hate throwing it out. Sunk costs fallacy, I guess. Anyway, this has happened enough in the past year that I’ve challenged myself to find ways to use the wine and the bottle, so it isn’t wasted.
For the Wine
Pear and Red Wine Pie with Rosemary I discovered this recipe on Pinterest, and it’s perfect for red wine that just isn’t drinkable. They say to not cook with wine that you wouldn’t drink, but I disagree. The sugars and other flavors redeem this wine every time.
French Onion Soup This might sound like a weird combo, but hear me out. Most French onion soup recipes call for some kind of alcohol like vodka. Red wine is nothing like vodka, but turns out, the wine is perfect in this soup. Here’s my recipe:
Ingredients: 2-3 tablespoons of butter 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil 1-2 yellow onions 1 cup or so of red wine 16 oz of beef broth Salt
Procedure: Heat the butter and oil in a pot (the oil keeps the butter from burning) and throw in the cut-up onion. Cook the onion down till it’s nice and golden. Add the wine and let it reduce till the alcohol cooks out. Add in the broth and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
Obviously I’m not a chef. You’ll have to just play with this recipe to get it like you want it. I’ve sort of made this recipe up and never measured, so…
For the Bottle
Bottle Tree This is exactly what it sounds like: a wooden “tree” (a post with wood sticking out, like branches) with bottles slid onto the wooden pegs. Everyone in my family has one of these, and they remind me so much of home. Once you make your soup and pie, rinse out the bottle and stick it on the tree.
There is a world of possibilities for vases made out of wine bottles. You can leave the bottle as-is (minus the wrapper) or paint it. Paint it to fit your house or paint seasonal ones. For example, for Halloween, paint the bottles to resemble candy corn.
Just like the image below shows, you can turn your bottle into a unique light fixture. Run a string of lights through it or use those remote controlled battery-operated ones to light up the room.
I hope this helps and inspires you to creatively use what you have. Use your imagination when it comes to disposing of things. Let me know if you have any new ideas!