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Waste not, want not: Say bye bye to leftover Christmas booze by incorporating it into your cooking

By LLM Reporters on 3rd December 2018

The festive season is a time of indulgence, from that show-stopping Christmas dinner to a glass or two of your favourite tipple – but if you’ve gone overboard on supplies this year, then the chances are that you’ll have plenty of leftovers to use up!

We’re not just talking about the food, either, and if you can’t quite stomach another glass of Irish cream then there are plenty of novel recipe ideas which will help you to make the most of leftover alcoholic drinks. Here, top chef Chris Tanner shares his top tips and recipes for cooking with booze, helping you to minimise waste and maximise on tasty post-Christmas meals!

fish-mussels-wine-dish
Leftover white wine or vermouth can make a mouth-watering addition to seafood dishes

Top tips for using up your favourite tipples:

Wine

Did you over-estimate how many bottles of wine you needed for Christmas? It’s a common enough mistake. But thankfully, wine is one of the easiest alcoholic beverages to use up in cooking and tastes great in sauces, gravies and stews.

Even so, if you’ve had your fill for now and would rather save it for later, then why not freeze the remainder? Fill a large silicon ice cube tray with the remnants of any unused bottles of wine, cover with cling film to avoid ice crystals, and place in the freezer until needed.

If you’re planning on using the wine for a particular recipe later, then measure out the amount you’ll need before freezing. Then, all you’ll have to do is pop out a cube or two, as required.

Beer-battered-fish-and-chips
Leftover beer can be used to create a crunchier and more flavoursome batter for fish

Spirits

Bored of vodka and gin? Why not make them into some mouth-watering liqueurs instead? Just add macerated fruits. You can also soak dried fruits in whiskey or brandy for adding to cakes or for pouring over ice cream!

Other Christmas spirits you may well have on hand after the big day and are unlikely to drink in the new year can be used cooking to add that extra something to your dishes. Vermouth is excellent for fish dishes, as is dry sherry – which also complements some of the root vegetables that are in season in January. Meanwhile, a drop of port will add extra depth to gravy and sauces, and sweet liqueurs and Irish cream can be used in desserts.

For a really decadent end to a meal, use up leftover Christmas cake or pudding by mixing with slightly softened, good quality vanilla ice cream, and a slug of brandy or whiskey for extra punch.

red-wine-steak
Red wine can be used to enrich sauces and casseroles and goes well with red meat

Cider, beer and ale

Cider, beer and ale are all great for enriching stews, slow cooked meals and pies over the colder months, adding that extra depth of flavour that is so welcome in such comforting dishes. Add a glug of ale to a steak pie, or pour a dash of cider into a sausage casserole.

And if all else fails…

If all else fails and you’re done with cooking until the new year, add wine or beer dregs to your compost heap as the fermentation will help break down those compostable materials to make a rich compost for the garden.

Head over to barbicankitchen.com to check out some of the Tanner Brothers’ favourite recipes.