Our lady on the barstool has advice for leftover champagne
So the ball dropped. The new year has begun. You survived both the toasts and the hangovers. Now it’s time to move into 2016 with some new drink ideas to start off fresh.
The problem is you have booze to spare (is this a problem?) and a bunch of leftover champagne bottles…
And I just lost half my audience. The ones who are saying, “Leftover champagne? Is she joking?” These are the people who toasted through the night and into the next day, making sure no bubble was left undrunk. After all, champagne is the quintessential celebratory drink, right?
The other group of skeptics, while willing to concede that there just may be champagne left in the world after the new year, are saying they threw out the bottles that had gone flat and saved the unopened ones for the next celebration. Both groups have valid points.
But what if you are that rare bird that didn’t down all the bubbly? Or, worse yet, found your carpet littered with half-filled bottles after New Year’s Day? Or you just really can’t stand to drink the stuff except on a celebratory occasion?
Have no fear. Champagne can serve you in many capacities after its number-one night of the year has passed. You just have to think outside the box, er, bottle.
The obvious recycling uses involve other food and beverage items, of course. Some of the most popular drink options are mimosas and champagne cocktails. These items can be made more thirst-quenching when you freeze the flat champagne and float the resulting ice cubes in your brunch beverages. You can even take a backwards step and congeal the champagne to make Jell-O shots, if you so desire.
There are also a number of sauces that use champagne, plus poaching liquids for fish and basting brines for turkeys, soups with fruit and glazes for ham. You can make “beer” bread using champagne instead, or try some in a light vinaigrette for your favorite salad.
Champagne pairs well with citrus in a sorbet and can elevate a simple risotto. And it will do wonders for your eggs—make fluffy scrambled ones or use the bubbly to make a fantastically flavorful and light French toast.
But I think the most interesting uses for leftover champagne are the nonedible recycling options. Aestheticians and movie stars alike have extolled the virtues of the antioxidant properties of the fermented bubbly grape juice. You can make any number of homemade beauty products, from clay face masks that pull out skin impurities to hair tonics that pump up color treatments, particularly for blondes.
Marilyn Monroe used to bathe in bottles of the stuff—it’s good for exfoliating dry skin—and a simple cotton ball soaked in bubbly and applied to the pores is said to tighten them and provide an instant mini-boost to the skin.
Another odd use is scrubbing some bubbles on your newly-shined shoes for a topcoat-like shoe-shining agent that really brings out the grains in natural leather.
So trot out the leftover bubbly. It seems a shame to waste it when clearly it can do so much more than perhaps even its creators intended!
Photo by Nadine Wegner