Nothing says ‘Happy New Year!’ quite like the pop of a cork.
In fact, there are around 360 million glasses of champagne and sparkling wine consumed every New Year’s Eve, according to research by WalletHub — that’s equivalent to around 60 million bottles.
While the idea of leftover champagne might sound ridiculous, the sheer amount of bubbly bought for parties makes it more than likely you’ll find some half-filled flutes the following day.
“After a heavy night of drinking, the prospect of tucking into flat champagne may not sound too appealing,” says Scott Hawthorne, Managing Director at waste management company Skips And Bins.
“However, rather than disposing of it, there is actually plenty of uses for leftover champagne that don’t involve drinking it.”
So if you wake up to a 2022 of liquid leftovers, consider trying these easy (and hangover-free) alternatives for salvaging sparkling wine.
1. Cook with it
If you haven’t just won a Grand Prix or launched a ship, perhaps the most obvious option after drinking champagne is to cook with it.
The nutty flavours work well in a whole host of savoury dishes, including as a substitute for white wine in risotto.
For those with a sweet tooth, try a champagne sorbet by blending your favourite fruit (lemon, berry or pear are all good choices) before adding them to simmering sugar, champagne and water, then placing in the freezer to chill.
Lastly, if you have some time on your hands, why not try making champagne vinegar? Pour your champagne into a jar with apple cider vinegar and water, cover with cheesecloth and leave for 2-3 months in a cool, dark spot.
Once the vinegar is ready, strain and transfer to a clean container — it’s perfect for topping salads or adding to homemade sauces.
2. Freeze it as ice cubes for cocktails or sangria
While you might not feel like drinking on a hangover, save any leftover champagne for a later date by freezing it as ice cubed for future festivities.
These boozy ice cubes can make a great addition to other cocktails, too. In particular, they work well with a Cava sangria in the summer months or can be added to orange juice for a quick, refreshing mimosa.
Try adding leftover fruits to your champagne ice cubes for extra vibrancy — just remember, the champagne cubes won’t freeze as solidly as regular ice cubes, so make sure you don’t leave them out for too long.
3. Add it to your skincare routine
While alcohol is commonly thought of as dehydrating for our skin, champagne actually has many beauty-boosting ingredients.
For example, it contains resveratrol, a plant compound that has antioxidant properties and is found in foods such as grapes.
Studies have found that resveratrol can reduce ageing, protect against UV damage, smooth skin, reduce inflammation and even have a hydrating effect.
For example, your leftover champagne could be chilled then applied to the skin as a toner. Remember to follow this up with moisturiser and use it in the evening for best results due to resveratrol’s light-sensitivity.
4. Clean your shoes with it
While it may sound ridiculous, polishing shoes with champagne dates back as early as the 1800s, when it’s reported that men in 19th century Paris and London used the drink to make their shoes sparkle.
The theory is that alcohol removes excess wax, and so a dry champagne will work best, while too much sugar will make your shoes look dirty.
To give it a go, first remove any dirt and debris, then use a wax to polish the shoes before massaging in champagne with a clean cloth for added sparkle.
5. Rinse your hair with it
The antioxidants present in champagne also make it potentially useful as a hair treatment.
Using the drink as a rinse or adding it to a conditioning mask could help prevent damage and neutralise free radicals, keeping your scalp healthy.
A glass of bubbly works especially well for bringing out blonde highlights, the colour of champagne enhancing golden tones and adding shine.