Use This Unique Ingredient To Spice Up Your Wine

There's nothing like coming home after a long day of work and pouring a large glass of wine for yourself, and probably one that overflows if the day was particularly stressful. Or, perhaps you only drink wine when dining out, and appreciate that certain acids, like malic or lactic, either enhance or "cut through" food flavors, such as tart, salty, and fatty notes, per Science of Cooking.

Home cooks also utilize wine in many easy-to-follow recipes, such as parmesan risotto with white wine or harissa and lamb bolognese with red wine. And according to What's Cooking America, using just the right amount of wine will make a particular dish taste and smell better, as heat will "concentrate the flavor, including acidity and sweetness."

But for creative minds, wine can be enhanced with a variety of spices, fruits, and other tasty beverages. For instance, wine can be simmered with cinnamon sticks and apples, or mixed with pomegranate seeds and sparkling water for a DIY touch. There's one unique ingredient that helps to (literally) spice up your wine and probably one that you would never guess.

Fruity + peppery

Black peppercorns are common in household kitchens, and some home cooks may be familiar with their green and white counterparts. But pink peppercorns? In wine, no less? Now that's something to discuss.

Pink peppercorns have South American origins, but can also be found in several U.S. states like Texas, California, and Arizona, per Wine Enthusiast and Mountain Rose Herbs. Rather than being peppercorns, these are actually classified as berries, and this identification can certainly be found in their tasting notes, which are tart, fruity, and shy on the sweetness scale. (Sounds a lot like wine, doesn't it?)

Serious Eats calls this spice "a berry with an attitude" since its heat level is reminiscent of chile peppers. Its tartness helps to accentuate the flavors of vinaigrettes, sauces containing fruit, syrups with herbal notes, and of course, wine. Pink peppercorns and wine pairings are a match made in heaven, and if you're going this route, such wine choices should be reminiscent of flowers, peppers, and ripe fruits — but you can also incorporate pink peppercorns into your wine!

Kitchn suggests adding a pink peppercorn syrup to wine, preferably a rosé. The syrup can be made by heating sugar, water, and pink peppercorns in a pot, gradually going up to a slow boil, then down to a simmer. Red Magazine also recommends adding pink peppercorns to a culinary muslin cloth, tying it up, and simmering it in a pot of red wine, coconut sugar, fruit, and spices for mulled wine.