Chef Lorenzo Boni shares his favorites ways to use the wine leftover from Thanksgiving dinner—if you have any—in your recipes.

Elisabeth Sherman
November 23, 2017

One of the most important aspects of any Thanksgiving dinner is that there is wine—a lot of it—flowing throughout the evening. We need wine to relax as we finish preparing the turkey, and as an aid to help us get through awkward conversations and a seemingly endless stream of “hellos” and “how are yous.” But sometimes we go a little overboard with the wine, purchasing one or two or three too many bottles on the way to dinner. If you do end up with a glut of wine—either because people left their half-finished bottles at your house, or you ended up taking the excess back to your apartment when the festivities have ended—don’t despair, you won’t have to force yourself to drink all of it every night until the bottles are empty. There are plenty of ways to cook with leftover red and white wine, and even champagne and hard liquor. Chef Lorenzo Boni, Executive Chef of Barilla America, reveals five of his tips for cooking with alcohol leftover from the holidays.

Pair the alcohol you’re using to cook like you would a wine with dinner

When you go out to dinner, your waiter will likely recommend only drinking say, a white wine with the fish. You can do something similar when you’re cooking with your leftover wine. For instance, Boni says that cooking with champagne compliments salmon or oysters the best, while “crispy prosciutto and risotto-style pasta with red meat,” should be cooked with red wine.

Don’t soak your dish in alcohol

If you want to use that bottle of champagne leftover from dinner in a pot-luck brunch with friends the following weekend, be careful the dish doesn’t taste as though it’s been soaked overnight in alcohol. Instead Boni recommends that you, “reduce the alcohol so it cooks off leaving behind the sweet, acidic or aromatic flavors.”  

Use red wine for an overnight marinade

Red wine can easily be transformed into a marinade for proteins like red meat. According to Boni, you can simply, “take your favorite red meat and marinate it in red wine with garlic before cooking for the next day.”

Just throw out (or drink) the cheap bottles

Boni recommends that you only try cooking with good wine, which might seem counterintuitive. Shouldn't you drink the good stuff and use the not-so-tasty bottles when you're cooking? As it turns out, this thinking could ruin a perfectly good recipe. Bad or cheap wine, which your relatives might try to dump on your after Thanksgiving, could amplify “corky or vinegary flavors [in] your dish," according to Boni. 

Vodka has a place in the kitchen, too

Didn't end up with any leftover wine (which is a definite possibility in our current political climate)? Boni has a few ideas about how to use vodka in the kitchen, especially when it comes to cooking pasta. Try “penne with creamy tomato vodka sauce, Vidalia onions and crispy guanciale,” or a fettuccine made with “vodka, Vidalia onions, Alfredo sauce, crispy chicken thighs and rosemary.”