A Box of Wine, a Loaf of Bread-and Thou, Metafilter
February 15, 2011 8:04 AM   Subscribe

For the holidays, I was given a 5L box of Franzia Cabernet Sauvignon (the guilty party has already been punished with a houseful of sick toddlers). I'm not a wine snob, but I tend to reserve my drinking for social occasions and I've yet to find the right moment to drag out this behemoth. What do I do with this wine?

Data points:
1. I'm not personally interested in drinking this as-is. In general, I'm a quality over quantity person.
2. I'd love to hear your creative solutions: cake recipes, fertilizer, clothing dye, whatever.
3. I already use wine leftovers to make vinegar and I'm not really interested in 5L of sangria.
4. Any recipe would need to be consumable by 5 or fewer people.
5. I tend to cook vegetarian, so recipes for masses of Beef Bourguignon aren't so helpful.
6. I understand if your answer is simply: drink it! But who will drink it? Can I donate wine?
7. College students are thick on the ground here, but circumstances would make it inappropriate for me to give it to any of the ones I know.
posted by annaramma to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You might want to read this.
posted by jon1270 at 8:07 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]

There is a chance it'll help clear a slower-running drain, say in a bath or shower, but you'll probably have to use all of it to really find out. Then flush the drain with boiling hot water.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:08 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you go to parties? I would be tempted, if the box is unopened, to 'regift' the box post-haste at some occassion with lots of people - something like a Superbowl party, although it's too late for that.

Vegetable stocks generally require 1 to 1.5 cups of wine per quart, and you can make a lot in advance and freeze it for later use (but that still won't use up all 5 liters!)
posted by muddgirl at 8:09 AM on February 15, 2011

Cook it down to a syrup and freeze in a plastic-wrap-lined ice cube tray. Keep the cubes in a bag in the freezer and use a cube or two to glaze roasted vegetables, toss into a braise, drizzle over a fruit crumble, etc.
posted by bcwinters at 8:18 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]

Why do you need to use it all at once? The nice thing about boxed wine is that it will stay reasonably fresh for a long time. Just keep it around and use a cup or two whenever a recipe calls for (or could be augmented by) some red wine.
posted by staggernation at 8:28 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Great ideas here so far! You could make mushroom bourguignon with some of it, do some sangria and some mulled wine. My favourite beef stew uses a can of Guinness and a bottle of red... not sure how it would translate into a veggie version, but it could be amazing! You can also cook pasta in red wine (just google for "recipes"), it gives it a startling colour and an earthy flavour. I love bcwinters' idea, esp. for making a quick pan sauce.

On the dessert end, I've seen gelato makers dump whole bottles of wine into their (admittedly industrial-sized) ice-cream makers to make wine-flavoured gelato. Maybe you could try something like that, or incorporate it into some kind of granita? You could also try poaching some fruit in sweetened wine, though I think (?) that white wine is more typical for that.

The benefit of the box is that it'll last much longer than an open bottle after you start using it. And if you're gonna be cooking with it, you can pour wine into something that minimizes air-exposure (small bottles, ziplocs bags) and freeze it for later use. (Heck, some wine enthusiasts even drink the once-frozen wine and find it quite palatable, assuming it was stored properly.)
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 8:29 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Me, I would probably leave it out in a foot trafficked for someone who wanted it. Maybe with a sign saying, FREE or UNOPENED.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 8:30 AM on February 15, 2011

posted by ClaudiaCenter at 8:30 AM on February 15, 2011

Thank you for all the great ideas so far, especially to those pointing out that I don't have to use it all at once.

I love the ideas for saving it for future use (boiling it down for glazes, yum!) and Mushroom Bourguignon would be so delicious.

Believe me ClaudiaCenter, I've thought about that! I'm just worried that it could be a nuisance in the area (drunk kids, vandalism, etc).
posted by annaramma at 8:36 AM on February 15, 2011

I would probably leave it out in a foot trafficked for someone who wanted it

Yeah, no, I would not try to put it into the hands of a passing drunk. I mean, they'd be thrilled, but...
posted by staggernation at 8:37 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could always have a big party and make a giant pot of mulled wine. Mulling tends to make even the most heinous wine delicious. In a big pot, heat:

-the offending wine
-a bunch of peeled clementine segments
-whole spices (cloves, star anise, cinnamon)
-powdered spices (grated nutmeg, whatever else you fancy in this general vein)
-some cointreau or similar liqueur
-brown sugar
-a splash of water

There's loads of other recipes to be had on line, or you can buy pre-mixed mulling spices.
posted by Go Banana at 8:49 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Leftover Red Wine Syrup
Makes: 1 cup
Takes about: 2 hours (or so) to make

1 orange
1 bottle red wine (or 3½ cups assorted red wines)
1 cup sugar
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick

Using a vegetable peeler, remove strips of orange zest from the orange. In a large saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, cloves, cinnamon stick, and orange zest.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the wine mixture is thickened and reduced to 1 cup, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove cinnamon stick and orange zest. Let cool for 15 minutes, then refrigerate until chilled (the syrup will thicken as it cools).

Serve with: ice cream, yogurt, ricotta, pound cake, waffles, pancakes, or fruit.

(Really, red wine can be reduced down to a plain, thick syrup depending on your patience and vigilance over the heat you are working with. The syrupy substance can be added to other sauces or it make an amazing sauce on its own.)

Chocolate Wine Cake (uses half a cup of cabernet sauvignon).

General Food Uses:
Pour red wine into ice trays and cover with a plastic wrap to keep out freezer burn. Use these cubes for putting into drinks for flavor, if you make a punch at a later date or even for cooking. Just pop them out as you need and into a recipe, dish or drink.

Take a square cake pan and pour the leftover wine into the pan and put it in the freezer for a few hours, then scrape up the slushy goodness. Voila: red wine sorbet! Scrape it into a wine or martini glass and serve it with a mint leaf for garnish, or serve a scoop of the wine ice next to a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream.

Add the wine to every tomato-based dish you make between now and when it's gone: marinara, bolognese sauce, spaghetti sauce, lasagna sauce, tomato soup...

Caramelize shallots and garlic with some red wine and add to mashed potatoes.

Use it to poach fruit! Particularly pears, but also apple, peaches, etc.

Marinate strawberries. Rinse and quarter fresh, ripe strawberries and place them in a glass bowl. Sprinkle a dusting of sugar on top, and pour the wine over the berries. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Make up a raspberry or strawberry jello as per the package instructions, but substitute half the water with wine. When not quite set, stir in fresh, halved strawberries, canned, drained peaches, some fresh raspberries, or whatever you like, really. Serve with whipped cream.


For added shine to dark hair, soak the hair with the wine for a rinse. Saturate the hair, then cover for a few minutes. Wash out and continue with your conditioner.

My mom used to run a full tub of water and add the leftover red wine to the bath water. It increases the elasticity of your skin and boost the renewal of your skin cells, due to the grapes containing high amounts of polyphenols that can make you look younger and relaxed. No need to worry about staining the skin or the scent of wine on the body, it won't since it is diluted with water.

My uncle swears that pouring wine in a compost pile can help activate and rejuvenate the pile due to the yeasts still in the wine.
posted by magstheaxe at 9:00 AM on February 15, 2011 [6 favorites]

We made coq au vin the other day with boxed wine, and it was actually great.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:46 AM on February 15, 2011

If you like watching the Tour de France, save it up for a Tour de Franzia party. (Apparently Tour de Franzia can be some kind drinking/chugging game built around the Tour de France, but the parties I heard about just involved people wearing bike clothes, drinking Franzia, and watching the race.)

Also, mulled wine. We like having cheap boxed red wine so we can just make a couple glasses of mulled wine when we feel like it. Although we've never stooped as low as Franzia, it would probably be okay. After all, the whole point of mulling is that it makes cheap wine taste delicious.
posted by mandanza at 10:05 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

This recipe for burgundy mushrooms calls for a whole bottle of red wine. I've made it at various points with a yellow tail shiraz and a random cabernet Sauvignon with excellent results - so I dont think the quality of the wine should affect the taste as much.

A data point though - after some experimenting, I now use a quarter of the butter stated in that recipe, and no salt. Next time, will try low-sodium bouillon (I use veg instead of the beef in the recipe)
posted by darsh at 10:17 AM on February 15, 2011

I would be tempted, if the box is unopened, to 'regift' the box post-haste at some occassion with lots of people - something like a Superbowl party, although it's too late for that.

I would be tempted to sneak it back into the original gifter's house as a joke*, or possibly to make a running gag of bringing the Franzia to a party and leaving it behind, unopened. Then that person has to bring it to the next party and leave it behind, etc. etc.

If you actually want to consume it, why not throw a party and serve it as gluhwein? I think most recipes typically call for a merlot, but honestly if you throw in a bunch of cloves and some brandy, who's going to care?

*Unless the person in question wouldn't see it as a joke, of course.
posted by Sara C. at 10:49 AM on February 15, 2011

poached pears would be delicious
posted by estronaut at 11:17 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Kalimotxos - half Coke, half red wine. I would have sneered at the description, too, until I tried one at a Basque street festival. 'Tis a tincture greater than the sum of its parts.
posted by superfluousm at 11:30 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Goon of fortune. (although you need a Hills Hoist for this)
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 12:57 AM on February 16, 2011

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