October 05, 2016

We love those precious house-made butters at upscale restaurants--the ones infused with local honey, truffles, and such. But we love wine butter even more because it marries our favorite antioxidant-rich adult beverage with buttery goodness -- and is beyond-easy to make at home (no churning or mesh sieves, we promise).

All you need to make wine butter is a stick of unsalted butter, 1 bottle of dry red (we used Cabernet Sauvignon) or white (like a crisp Sauvignon Blanc) wine, two tablespoons of sugar or salt (depending on the method), and your culinary imagination. You can experiment by adding herbs to the white-wine butter, or berries to the red-wine version.

Wine Butter. Photo by Peaceful Blend Vineyard_resized
Mouthwatering wine butters by Peaceful Blend Vineyard blends in strawberries and garlic chives

How To Make Wine Butter

There are two methods to try. For the stove-top method, combine the bottle of wine and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, about 45 minutes. Let the wine mixture cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, briefly whip butter (which is also at room temperature) in a medium bowl. When the wine mixture is cool, pour it into the bowl and stir together until no separation occurs. Add herbs or fruits, if any.

On a hard work surface, scoop the mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap (add chopped herbs, shallots or chopped raisins for fun and more flavor) and roll into a log. Twist at the corners and place in the refrigerator until firm. The darker and richer the wine, the more purple-magenta your wine butter will turn out. Want your wine butter to be pretty in pink? Go for a lighter red wine, like a Beaujolais or even a rose.

For a no-cook wine-butter version, make sure your butter is at room temperature. Place it on a hard work surface and drizzle on two tablespoons of your favorite wine. Sprinkle with kosher salt and add herbs or fruit, if any. Use a knife or silicone spatula to blend the ingredients together and transfer it to a piece of parchment paper. Wrap the mixture into a log and refrigerate until firm.

For more ideas, visit our friends at Peaceful Blends Vineyard; their strawberry-maple red-wine butter is swoonworthy.

See How to Make Wine Butter

How To Use Wine Butter

Wine butter tastes exactly how you'd expect it to: gloriously concentrated and creamy. A slab in the grill pan will add depth to your favorite cut of steak and richness to chicken thighs braised with onions. Bring out the fruity notes in the wine by adding dried cranberries or fresh fruit to the saute pan. Be bold: Play with wine varietals and ingredients. For example, add dried mushrooms to an earthy Pinot Noir for a gourmet alternative to pasta sauce. Before serving, sprinkle noodles with freshly-grated Pecorino or Parmesan for added umami flavor. Or serve a white wine butter mixed with kosher salt, chopped herbs and shallots with warm crostini for a simple yet show-stopping appetizer. Your friends will swear they tried something similar in an upscale restaurant. Wine butter will last up to three weeks in the refrigerator and three months in the freezer.