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Did you wake up on New Year’s morning swearing off the sauce forever? Do you have more half-empty bottles of vino than you know what to do with? Here’s a way to repurpose the plonk, without the pain.

Wine that’s been sitting out is fine for mulled wine syrup; cheap wine is perfect. You can even use a mix of varietals and vintages, and you’ll never know the difference. Spiced with cinnamon and cloves, this garnet-colored syrup can be drizzled over ice cream, poured on pancakes, and folded into thick, full-cream yogurt. My favorite way to serve it is over chilled orange segments, pith removed.


The recipe calls for one bottle of red wine, but it’s easily scaled up or down, depending on what’s left from your night of excess.

Experiment with your favorite spices. A version containing star anise and black peppercorns could be used to dress a seared duck breast. Or substitute white wine, and scrape the seeds of a vanilla bean into the pot for a speckled syrup that will go well with stone fruits and sorbets.

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