10 ways to use leftover Christmas booze – from prosecco chicken to amaretto cake

·4 min read
<span>Photograph: Marka/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Marka/Alamy

There is a reason why dry January exists. It is because, after a long and gruelling festive season, there is usually a fairly good chance that you feel as if you have pickled your guts. The thought of putting any more rich, creamy, booze into your body is unappealing. Luckily for you, you drank most of it at parties.

This year may be a little different, though. We are mostly trapped inside, so we probably drank at home, which means our cupboards are still full of half-finished bottles of all kinds of Christmassy rubbish. You could just drink your leftovers, of course. But you could cook with them instead.

Crepes suzette

The most sensible way to use up leftover alcohol is to set it on fire. If you agree, Dan Lepard’s reproduction of the Tour d’Argent crepes suzette recipe should be your first destination. Not only does it require Cointreau, Grand Marnier, champagne and brandy, but it is also a pancake, so technically it counts as a breakfast food.

Watercress salad

If you have a lot of leftover port, but you want to curb your festive excesses, Josie Le Balch of Bon Appétit has a recipe for watercress salad that requires a whole bottle of the stuff. Tip the bottle into a saucepan, add 450g (1lb) of figs, braise for half an hour, then remove the fruit and boil the port down to a syrup. There – it is practically a health food.

Short ribs

While we are on a savoury bent, The Spruce Eats has a recipe for sherry-braised short ribs that is perfect for cold January evenings. It requires 250ml (1 US cup) of sherry and several hours of your time, but the result – especially if served with a fat dollop of mash – is unbeatable comfort food.

Chicken with prosecco sauce

If you want something marginally lighter, Caroline Phelps from Pickled Plum has a recipe for chicken with prosecco sauce. You might be asking yourself how this can be any different from chicken cooked in white wine. But it is completely different, because drinking week-old wine is fine, but do the same with prosecco and suddenly anyone in your social bubble starts backing away from you. Anyway, this is a good recipe.

Banoffee trifle

Most recipes that require the addition of festive booze are sweet. While your tolerance for great big boozy puddings may be low so soon after Christmas, you deserve a treat. Let’s start with Liam Charles and his brilliantly easy recipe for banoffee trifle. The base is just a load of smashed chocolate biscuits soaked in Baileys, while the cream is also soaked in Baileys. The custard is shop-bought. You could probably put Baileys in that, too, if you wanted.


Eierlikörkuchen is a German cake made with eierlikör, which is not too dissimilar to advocaat. Love That Bite’s recipe is very simple: it is a sponge that has 250ml of advocaat tipped into it. The advocaat gives the cake a rich, dense, custardy feel. Still have leftover advocaat? Mix it with icing sugar and pour it over the top.

Sunken chocolate amaretto cake

No list of recipes of this ilk would be complete without Nigella’s sunken chocolate amaretto cake, which is a work of art. It doesn’t require an awful lot of alcohol – just three tablespoons for the cake and another for the cream – but this is a moist, squidgy, truffley delight that you can whip up in about half an hour.

Mulled wine sorbet

If even that sounds like too much work, let me introduce you to the mulled wine sorbet. This is a Jamie Oliver recipe that – once you have frozen your mulled wine in ice-cube trays – can be made in less than 15 minutes. Put the ice cubes in a blender, add natural yoghurt and that is it. However, before you attempt to freeze the mulled wine, be sure to cook out all of the alcohol.

Roasted plums

Winter warmers ... plums roasted with sloe gin.
Winter warmers ... plums roasted with sloe gin. Photograph: Anne Murphy/Alamy Stock Photo

The idea of drinking sloe gin in January seems the sort of berserk decadence that would have had you strung up during the French Revolution. If you have any left over, one nice idea is to roast some plums in it. Delicious has a recipe. The result is as warming and sticky as you would imagine.

Rose and raspberry meringue nests

Finally, if you are sick of that bottle of Chambord you bought eight years ago and drink three drops of every Christmas, here is a way to turn it into food. Patisserie Makes Perfect’s rose and raspberry meringue nest recipe might be a little more complicated – requiring delicate piping skills, crème diplomat and some rose petals – but the result is impressive. Plus, it uses up Chambord. Will wonders never cease?

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting