The Best Ways To Use Leftover Champagne

It seems to happen every year: we buy too many bottles of Champagne or sparkling wine for the holidays, and wind up with a few bottles left over. If they're still sealed up, you can save them until your next party, but what about the bottles that have already been popped? Drinking flat Champagne probably isn't anyone's idea of a good time, but it isn't your only option.

Instead of sitting around wondering what to do with all the leftover Champagne languishing in your fridge that seems to be getting less bubbly by the minute, it's time to get creative — and get to work in the kitchen. Whether you're making a winter sangria with Champagne that's still effervescent, or using flat Champagne as a substitute for white wine in one of your favorite recipes, there are lots of tasty (and unexpected) ways to use up that leftover bubbly. You might even find yourself buying extra on purpose next time!

Make sangria

If you have leftover Champagne that's still got its bubbles but are tired of drinking it straight, you can make sangria. Sangria is a Spanish wine cocktail usually made with wine and fruit, and sometimes with brandy, soda, and even orange juice (via Allrecipes). Making Champagne sangria doesn't require a recipe. Just combine the bubbly with your favorite chopped fruits in a big pitcher (orange slices, pomegranate arils, and chopped apples would work nicely for winter), add a splash of a fairly neutral spirit, like vodka or white rum, and stir. Then, taste for sweetness. 

If you'd like a sweeter, fruitier sangria, you can top off your pitcher with juice or some lemon-lime soda; if you prefer a less-sweet sangria, you can add sparkling water. Let the sangria sit in the fridge for at least an hour, so the Champagne has time to draw the flavor out of the fruit, then serve in glasses over ice. Not sure about making a pitcher of sangria without a recipe? Try this tropical sangria recipe, swapping in Champagne for the white wine.

Deglaze your pan

Deglazing your pan refers to adding liquid to a hot pan after you've cooked something in it — like roast chicken, seared steak, or sautéed mushrooms — to help loosen up all the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. As the liquid simmers, you can use a wooden spoon to scrape up the caramelized, golden-brown bits that were previously stuck to the pan, which in turn infuses the liquid with their savory flavor. 

Most cooks use broth or wine to deglaze their pans, and the good news is that this is a great way to use up leftover Champagne, too. You can use either flat Champagne or some that still has its bubbles. Just add to your hot pan, scrape, and simmer. Then, to make a pan sauce, whisk in a few tablespoons of cold butter and add salt and pepper to taste.

Stir-fry it up

Cooking wine, like Shaoxing wine and rice wine, is widely used in Chinese recipes, but if you don't have any on hand for your favorite stir fry, try using leftover Champagne instead. You can use Champagne that's still bubbly, or flat Champagne, but make sure it's a dry Champagne rather than sweet, so it doesn't make your stir-fry taste sugary. Another upside to using Champagne instead of Chinese cooking wine? It has less sodium. Shaoxing wine has salt added to it, so if you're trying to watch your sodium intake, swapping it out for leftover Champagne may actually be a health-conscious move. It's an easy swap, too — just use the same amount of Champagne as you would cooking wine.

If you do have leftover sweet Champagne, try using it as a substitute for mirin. Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine used in stir fries, teriyaki sauce, and more. Because mirin has such a sweet flavor, using leftover sweet Champagne as a substitute for it in a recipe won't result in your dish tasting too sugary. 

Make a mignonette

When faced with leftover Champagne, lovers of shellfish might immediately think to make a mignonette. Mignonette is a tangy accompaniment to oysters, usually made with vinegar, shallots, and seasonings like black and white pepper. Considering that Champagne and oysters are such a delicious pairing to begin with, as Decanter points out, why not make a Champagne mignonette to go with your shucked bivalves? 

Mix one part Champagne vinegar with two parts leftover Champagne, a couple teaspoons of minced shallots, and black pepper, then serve with your chilled shucked oysters (via The Endless Meal). The acidity of the mignonette pairs well with the salinity of oysters, and while true connoisseurs may prefer their oysters plain, newcomers will appreciate this creative use of leftover Champagne to help ease them into the experience of eating these bivalves raw.

Freeze it

If you're pressed for time and have no idea what to do with your leftover Champagne, we have good news. You don't have to come up with a recipe now. Instead, you can freeze your leftover Champagne in an ice cube tray. Freezing leftover wine is one of our favorite ways to make sure it gets put to good use, and the hack works for Champagne, too. Once your Champagne ice cubes are frozen, you can transfer them to a zip-top freezer bag for easy storage. Then, any time you need a few tablespoons of wine for sauces, deglazing pans, or even making sangria and granita, just take out a few cubes and enjoy.