There are many things to learn about wine if you are an emerging aficionado, and one of those things has to do with freezing it. For instance, if you have an open bottle of wine and can't finish it, is freezing it an option so you can drink or cook with it later? What about wine that you accidentally froze by sticking it in the freezer to give it a quick chilling and then forgot about it or leaving it in the trunk of your car on a cold day? The big question is, can you still thaw it to drink or use it in cooking or is this bottle a lost cause.
The simple answer: Wine can be frozen. It freezes at a lower temperature than water because of its alcohol content but will freeze at the temperature of most home freezers, at about 15 degrees F. It is safe to drink wine that has been frozen. But after spending time in the freezer, it might be better suited to cooking than drinking. Freezing can alter the taste, but many people detect only slight changes.
Drinking Thawed Wine
If you forgot a bottle of wine you put in the freezer for a quick cool-down, check first to see if the bottle is cracked or broken. You don't want glass shards in your wine. Wine expands when it freezes, and the cork might be popped, or ice could force its way past the screwcap. Just make sure there isn't any broken glass.
Some people save partial bottles of wine by freezing them. In this case, it would be safest to transfer it to a freezer container or freeze it uncorked and then replace the cork once it is frozen. You might see tartrate crystals in the wine, which are harmless. It is best to drink or use a frozen bottle of wine soon after thawing it. If you don't like the flavor for drinking, make a wine cooler or sangria. Also, consider using it for cooking. Time for stew or coq au vin.
How to Freeze Leftover Wine for Cooking
An easy way to freeze leftover wine is in an ice cube tray. Just pour it into the tray and then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag once they’re frozen. Be sure to label the bag so you don’t forget what’s inside.
One cube is about the equivalent of two tablespoons, but you may want to measure to see how much your particular ice cube tray holds. It’s easy enough to do. Just fill one of the cube slots with water. Then pour it back into a liquid measuring cup and make a note of the volume. Include this measurement on the outside of your bag of wine cubes so you’ll know how many cubes you need to grab your recipe.
If you want bigger cubes, freeze your leftover wine in a muffin tin instead. This should give you half-cup cubes, but again, it’s best to measure your particular pan to be sure.
Don't worry about thawing the cubes when you get ready to use them. They'll melt quickly when you add them to a hot pan.
Uses for Leftover Wine
Use your leftover wine to make your own wine vinegar. You’ll need a full bottle to get your vinegar started, but after that, the occasional splash of wine from the bottom of the bottle is all that’s needed to keep it going. Start one batch for red wine and one for white, and you’ll never have to buy either type of vinegar again.
And vinegar is just one of the many things that you can make. Use your leftover wine to make wine jelly, delicious marinades, salad dressings, and so many other things.