Using Leftover Champagne

I can’t bear to throw it out. Leftover champagne can be good for a few days, and in more than one way, so here are a few ideas.

First, hold a Hair-of-the-Dog party and invite your friends on the afternoon of January 1 (or after the next big event where champagne is the dominant drink… Valentine’s Day? Wedding? Bachelor Party? ) to bring their leftover champagne. You can provide the aspirin. That’s what happened at my place on January 1 and it was great fun! A lot of leftover holiday food appeared too, so everyone was happy to ring out the old year and make room in the ‘fridge for the new.

Of course, you might just want to drink any leftover champagne from the event yourself. So make sure you preserve it well. There’s no way the cork will go back into the bottle, by the way.

And forget the silver-spoon-in-the-neck myth. If you want to read a funny dissertation on an experiment done by a truly inventive if somewhat whacky guy that debunks that myth, go to and search for “silver spoon”. Cecil Adams, writer of that dissertation, started his research by asking the Champagne News and Information Bureau in New York and Paterno Imports, a champagne importer in Chicago, about preserving open champagne.

Conclusion: a reusable stopper made of stainless steel is your best bet for preserving the bubbly for a few days. But leaving the bottle open and upright in the refrigerator works pretty well too.

Next, search the internet for drink recipes using champagne. Mimosa (champagne and orange juice, equal parts) is a given. But champagne has a nice acidity that can enhance cocktails in a refreshing citrus-juicy way. The best I found, on the site, was created by a mixologist at Death and Company, a cocktail lounge in Manhattan’s Lower East Side:

Doc Daneeka Royale
Makes 1 drink

2 ounces Plymouth gin
1/2 ounce Grade B maple syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce Champagne or other sparkling wine
One 1-by-2-inch piece of grapefruit peel

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the gin, maple syrup and lemon juice and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass and top with the Champagne. Twist the grapefruit peel over the drink and discard. Serve immediately.

Many food recipes use leftover champagne. One that will enhance the dessert table just requires mxing, chilling, and serving over fruit. It will also do wonders poured on leftover fruitcake.

Yield: 1 Servings
1/3 c Sugar
5 Egg yolks
2 tablespoons Whipping cream
3/4 c Champagne

Or for that après-ski experience, how about a fondue made with champagne? This recipe was created by Tessa, a food blogger from South Carolina who posts on the site

Three Cheese Fondue with Champagne

4 t. cornstarch
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 c. dry (brut) Champagne (NOTE: do not use Asti..)
1 large shallot, chopped
2 cups coarsely grated Gruyere cheese (about 7 oz)
1 1/3 cups coarsely grated Emmenthal cheese (about 5 oz)
1/2 cup diced rindless Brie (or Camembert) (3 oz)
Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of white pepper

1 French bread baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes

Stir cornstarch and lemon juice in small bowl until cornstarch dissolves; set aside.Combine Champagne and shallot in fondue pot or heavy medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat 2 mininutes, remove pot from heat. Add all cheeses and stir to combine. Stir in cornstarch mixture. Return fondue pot (or saucepan) to medium heat and stir until cheeses are melted and smooth and it thickens and boils - about 12 min.
Season with nutmeg and white pepper.
Serve with bread crumbs.

Remember, Keep Tahoe Green. Do not pour leftover champagne down the sink!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
© 2011 Barbara Keck

For more information on dining and the wide range of activities around Lake Tahoe, see the online version of
The Tahoe Weekly. This article appeared in my column "It's Grape" in January 2011.

Book in Process: " Mountain Wineries of the Sierra and Its Foothills".

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