Leftover champagne — like albino alligators, total solar eclipses, and finding a parking spot at the mall on the Saturday before Christmas — is rare, but it does happen. While no one plans for leftover champagne, you might find yourself in the predicament of opening several bottles of bubbly for, say, a holiday party, and finding a sad half-bottle losing its fizz at the end of the night.
Under no circumstances should champagne find itself suffering an ignominious end in the kitchen drain. Here are nine ways to use leftover champagne that will elevate even the unfizziest of forgotten bubbly to its rightful place at your table.
If You Have 1-2 Cups of Leftover Champagne…
1. Make Ice Cubes
Pour champagne into ice cube trays and let freeze overnight. Use these champagne cubes in mimosas, sangria, or bellinis.
2. Make Simple Syrup for Cocktails
Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup champagne in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Boil 1 minute, then remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate in a sealed container. Use cooled syrup in cocktails.
3. Make Sparkling Strawberry Shortcake
Try this festive, simple Sparkling Strawberry Shortcake recipe. This works with either champagne or Prosecco.
4. Poach Some Pears
You can use any leftover champagne for this recipe; you don’t have to go top-shelf for a delicious result.
In a medium saucepan, combine 1-2 cups leftover champagne with the juice and zest of 1 lemon or 1 orange. Stir in 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring, and let boil 1 minute. Add 2 pears — peeled, cored, and halved — and reduce heat to simmer. Let simmer 20 minutes, partially covered, until pears are tender. Serve in bowls with syrup drizzled over. Garnish with ice cream or cream fraiche if desired.
5. Make a Glaze for Cake
This quick-to-assemble glaze is delicious poured over warm pound cake or Bundt cake. You might want to leave some champagne in the bottle just to make this.
Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Stir in 1/4 cup water and 1 cup granulated sugar, and bring to a boil, continuing to stir. Let boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. When mixture is thickened, remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of champagne. Mix until smooth, then let cool. To use as a cake drizzle, use a skewer to poke holes in a warm cake (still in the pan). Pour drizzle over cake in pan and let it sit for at least 30 minutes until glaze is absorbed. De-pan and serve.
6. Make a Delicious Cream Sauce for Fish and Shellfish
This works well if your leftover champagne is on the drier (brut) side. Serve this with shrimp, scallops, and pasta. Bring 1 cup of flat champagne to a simmer in a small saucepan and let simmer for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup cream, salt, pepper, and some chopped fresh herbs (tarragon, parsley, or dill work well with fish). Simmer, stirring, until sauce reaches desired consistency. Serve immediately.
If You Have Less than 1 cup of Leftover Champagne…
7. Use It to Macerate Fresh Berries
Toss 2 cups of raspberries, cut strawberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries with 1/2 cup champagne, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon lemon or orange zest. Let stand 15 minutes, then serve alone or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
8. Make a Vinaigrette
Use an immersion blender or a whisk to combine 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons champagne, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon finely minced shallot, a pinch of sugar, and salt and pepper. Serve over any salad you’d like; I love it over grapefruit and orange segments and sliced beets, garnished with toasted walnuts.
9. Add It to Poaching Liquid
Add your leftover champagne to your water or broth the next time you poach fish or shellfish.