Amplify Homemade Boba Pearls With A Splash Of Leftover Wine

At one point, you may have opened a bottle of wine and left it unfinished, eventually forgetting about it in the fridge. Past its prime for drinking, the leftover liquid can be beneficial in all sorts of culinary applications from deglazing to marinating. That said, an even more out-of-the-box idea for how to repurpose that last little bit of wine is to make better boba.

Boba pearls, which are chewy orbs of tapioca, can be found bobbing around in everything from bubble tea to decorative, contemporary cocktails. With an ultra-unique texture, the inky (but, occasionally, translucent) spheres make even the dullest of drinks and dishes more enticing. While they can be a welcome addition to virtually anything, this is partially because they tend to lack any real flavor of their own. Luckily, this is what makes the virtually tasteless boba pearls open to endless modifications — cue the leftover wine.

Despite the fact that boba pearls can be cooked in water, they're often steeped with sweeteners like brown sugar in order to add a caramelized flavor. Using that logic, you can swap syrup in favor of leftover wine. Doing so can add a range of nuanced flavors and aromas, along with a touch of sweetness.

How to steep boba pearls in wine

Making boba pearls entirely from scratch can be a lengthy process, which is why it's easier to start with ready-made packages, elevating them during the cooking process — that's where the old wine comes into play. While any bottle you have open will do, sweeter wines like Moscato or Riesling are good options, as the pearls tend to be simmered in a mixture of brown sugar and water. Feel free to experiment with different styles of wine — even more syrupy selections, like Sauternes, Passito, or Port.

You can follow the same steps as you would when cooking boba with water. Pour the wine into a saucepan, letting it come to a boil before adding the beads and reducing the heat. Once the boba pearls have simmered for several minutes, reaching their ideal gelatinous texture, they can be used to decorate brewed teas, fresh juices, spiked spritzers, or even as a base for desserts.

Consider bland boba a thing of the past, as these wine-infused tapioca beads burst with unexpected complexity and subtle sweetness. Offering a certain je ne sais quoi, wine-steeped boba pearls are far too intriguing not to try yourself.