Sunday, June 26, 2011

Red Wine Syrup



I will freely admit that I am a box wine drinker. There. I said it. It's not just all Almaden, my friends. You know that, right? I'm talking decent boxed wine. It's not stunning, but I just pretend I'm at an art opening. I like to have it around when I want just one glass of wine. I like that it lasts for a while. And it's always there when I need to cook. As they say, you should always cook with wine you would drink. By the end of the winter, though, I had a box left that had been sitting around a tad too long. I couldn't bear the thought of drinking it any longer (the down side of a box that holds five bottles of wine!). So I had a plan. First off I froze some in my teeny tiny ice mold. Aren't they cute?

There's nothing for scale, but they are like the size of a boullion cube.
Then I had a fabulous idea, or so I thought. Red wine syrup. Oh, goody! It was simple, just took lots of boiling down. And let me tell you, this stuff is incredible. Puckery and tannic still, but full and rich and ripe as a grape. I'm seeing this in a salad with some salty charcuterie on the side, drizzled over cheese, or on a steak. Or how about something that's so versatile that it can also sit on top of some buttermilk ice cream? Wow. Or, of course, added to a pan sauce or a dressing or a jam. I'm just getting started here...

Red Wine Syrup

8 cups of decent wine (mine was a medium-bodied Italian blend, not too fruity)

Put the wine in a good stock pot and boil it down in half. Then add:

2 cups of sugar

Return the wine and sugar to a boil. Keep it at a fast and furious boil until it looks syrupy and good to you. For me, this was 222 degrees on a candy thermometer. It was glossy and coated the spoon. See picture below.

Pour your syrup into jars. Yield is three half-pints. I didn't process this, but sealed the jars and put it in a dark, cool place: my basement cupboard. As it's just wine and sugar, I felt okay about this. But if you don't, just put it in the fridge. I'm sure it'll last up to a year in there.

You can drag your finger through it and the trail stays put.

25 comments:

  1. Yes! I've been making this like crazy! (Well, whenever I have leftover wine.) It's great steeped with a vanilla bean and a handful of peppercorns.

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  2. Genius!

    (I like the above idea of vanilla bean and peppercorn too.)

    [Can I manage to not drink the wine first? ;) ]

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  3. Amazing. Great idea. I have been looking for something to accompany basil ice cream. I think this might be it.

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  4. This looks fantastic! Way to use it up instead of throwing it out! It seems we need to take up a box wine habit around here... hmmm... :D

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  5. Yum, Julia! I keep little cubes of red wine in my freezer to add to stews etc, but this syrup looks absolutely delish - can't wait to try it :)

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  6. I like this idea. And I like the idea of a box wine being put to good use! I'd bet you could also freeze the syrup if you were intrepid of leaving it in the fridge or pantry - but I'd agree that it's probably not going to hurt it to hang around for awhile.

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  7. Great idea. Just to make you feel better, I read once that those boxed wines are actually an ideal way to keep wine. I haven't frozen extra wine, because I think I'll use it the next day, but I don't. That blue plate looks really familiar to me...where have I seen it?

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  8. Mary Catherine - That sounds brilliant! Going to do that next time...

    Pen and Paperie - I know. It's hard. It doesn't happen to the bottles of wine, which are usually a little tastier...: )

    Meg - xo!

    Nicole - That is a freaking gorgeous idea. Wow. Can't wait to see it!

    Devouring the Seasons - You know it's not that hard. Most are not as big as the one I had. I am your enabler.

    Jane - Of course! ; )

    Kate - I hope you like it!

    Rebecca - Can you freeze syrup? Didn't know that, but seems obvious now...

    Sara - Yes, boxed wine is really okay. I'm not that embarrassed. There are some nice ones out there. I am not sure about the plate. I have two teeny ones from my mother. Maybe in another picture of mine?

    Denise - Sounds pretty, right?

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  9. Marvelous! Higgins restaurant in Portland embellishes a goat cheese appetizer with both a balsamic syrup drizzle and red wine syrup drizzle. Absolutely love both. ...Susan

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  10. Perfect for a simple pan sauce for poultry/game/lamb. It does last forever unless contaminated by a. fingers that you have licked
    b. dirty spoons (see a.) or c. being kept in a hot sunny window!

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  11. I almost always use wine IN my jams, especially if I'm using them as gifts. I love the idea of using it for a syrup, and it's revealing that my first impulse is to pair it with ice cream. I love the idea of a red wine + buttermilk, but I could also see a white wine or champagne syrup with a peach or citrus ice cream. Mmmm.... thanks for the inspiration!

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  12. LunaCafe - Ooo. Love that. Goat cheese is on my list to make actually...: )

    Pat - Absolutely. I love your style!

    Laura - I was thinking of putting this in a jam, as well! And white wine syrup, well, wow! Good idea!

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  13. Acookblog.com sent me over here and I've been enjoying reading all your posts! I just had to pop and and say I used to have those exact dishes!! I LOVED them! Sadly enough of ours broke that we moved on to new dishes.

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  14. Mo - Cool! Glad you came. Isn't that funny? I only have two of them and I hope I don't break them...

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  15. I just keep thinking about this. First of all, no more opening a bottle of wine to cook with it, drinking a little bit, and watching the rest go bad. No, no, no. That's bad. Now I know what to do. Also, I love so many of the ideas about how to use this syrup. You know I love to do fall and winter conserves with red wine -- like the quince-y one last year. This'll just take the whole bizness to another level.

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  16. This stuff just makes me sooo happy. I'll bet you'd find a lot of great applications for it. Did I just say applications?? Goodness, I did, didn't I.

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  17. I will try this at home. Thanks for posting this one. Your blog is great. Cheers!

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  18. Timbuktu Shiraz - Why thank you for the nice compliment!

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  19. I'm boiling some wine to make this syrup right now and my whole house smells super boozy! I kinda like it. I think I'm getting tipsy from the aroma of the alcohol burning off. Thanks for the great idea.

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    1. That sounds like fun! Glad you enjoyed. Nothing like a boozy house! ; )

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  20. I've found out that wine not only tasty, but also healthful. Here're some facts:
    Value of red wine.
    By the way, I followed you up with GFC, it'd be great if you follow me back.

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