Beer & Wine Wine

8 Great Uses for Wine That’s Gone Bad

We’ve all been there. That bottle of open Pinot left over after a party, the Chardonnay you planned to finish but didn’t.

Instead of pouring spoiled wine down the drain, check out these creative ways to make the most of a bad bottle. From stepping up your steak game to a guilt-free trick for sneaking wine into your breakfast, take note of these eight wonderful wine hacks.

  • Marinate (obviously)!

    Of all the uses for a red on its way to dead, the most common is as a marinade.

    This is a great way to add flavor to whatever you’re grilling. All you need is a bottle you’re no longer interested in drinking and a little creativity to make a meaty masterpiece.

    Try this savory red wine marinade for flank steak or, if chicken is on the menu, this clever white wine spin.

  • Dye something to give it new life

    Usually, getting red wine all over a table cloth is the problem, not the goal.

    Instead of running for the bottle of hydrogen peroxide the next time you have a spill, grab a large pot and set about transforming your tablecloth (the method works on t-shirts and bedsheets, too).

    Depending on the type and amount of fabric, as well as the desired hue, your cook times will vary drastically. You’ll need a good amount of bad red, a large pot and a stove. Get experimenting!

  • Wine + Burgers = Wine Burgers

    Why have have wine with your burger when you can have wine-burgers!

    Like a perfect Old Fashioned or Manhattan, this recipe is deceptively simple, but untouchable when done right. Red wine is cooked down with brown sugar into a thick reduction, which is then used to season the ground beef patties--you can use Cabernet, Merlot or a juicy Spanish red to add major flavor to an all-American standby. It’s the perfect way to finish off both a bottle and a long weekend.

  • Fruit fly trap

    Both humans and fruit flies like a full bodied red. Unfortunately, this kitchen ain’t big enough for the both of us.

    If these obnoxious little pests are getting to you, try this simple kitchen hack:

    Pour a little of the vinegary red into a glass, cover it tightly with Saran wrap, and poke a few holes in the top. Like the roach motel, fruit flies will check in, but they won’t check out.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • Make Vinegar

    This one is takes a bit more time, but as anyone who has tried their hand at making their own vinegar will tell you how favorably it compares to its store-bought counterparts.

    For this project, you’ll need wine, a large container, a good “mother,” and about two or three months.

    There’s an abundance of advice around the web, or if you prefer, take a walk over to your local home-brewing or health food store. This recipe is a good place to start.

  • Make Jelly

    A wine jelly is a beautiful way to use nearly any type of expiring vino, and there’s even a spectrum of DIY options available for the curious jammer.

    For those looking for something a little less involved: behold the magic of pectin. For this faster, easier option, here’s a great run down of the entire process.

    If you’re looking to make your jelly completely from scratch, this overnight recipe is rewarding and delicious. Either way, you can now have wine with your morning toast, guilt-free.

  • Red wine reduction

    In less time than it takes to watch an episode of Top Chef, you can have a delicious red wine sauce for your steak. If you’re cooking without meat, try it over grilled tofu or mushrooms

    If you’ve never made a red wine reduction, take heart: it’s a dead-simple recipe that pays dividends, turning your ribeye into a steakhouse-worthy entrée. Try this easy recipe and experiment from there!

  • Disinfect Your Kitchen

    After researching the results of germs dropped into white wine at Oregon State, a food scientist noticed that the one-two punch of cell wall-weakening booze and the acidity in the wine killed off the germs in less than the time of a decent dinner party.

    While many people use vinegar to clean, people are still more accustomed to their whites in spritzers rather than spray bottles. Scientists are still hammering out the details, but some day you may be able to make a non-toxic kitchen cleaner out of that bottle of two buck chuck.