Icewine! It’s what’s for dinner

Icewine is a pretty cool strange food, pardon the pun. I was lucky enough to have received a few bottles as gifts recently, but my fellow potential tasters were less enthusiastic than I was about tasting them. Icewine is crazy sweet (sugar code of 20 where a sweet table wine might be a 2) so if you’re not into sweet drinks it wouldn’t be your thing. What to do to make everyone happy… Cook with it, that’s what! I invited my reluctant tasters over and tried to use it in everything I made.

But back to why it’s “cool.” Icewine can only be made in very limited climates, so it’s rare. The grapes have to freeze on the vines without rotting,

Thanks wikipedia

Thanks wikipedia

and this can only happen somewhere with enough heat to ripen the grapes in the growing season, but also enough of a temperature drop to freeze them up early. Lucky us in Ontario, temperature drops are what we’re good at!  Those dear hearty icewine vintners keep a close watch on their thermometers, and when they see a drop to around -10 degrees (14F) that they think will last at least 6 hours, they call all their buds and harvest, usually by hand, somewhere near New Year’s, in the middle of the night. The yield is low because there are fewer grapes that survive that long, and because the water in the grapes stays in the presses frozen, while only the concentrated sugary juice leaks out. If you were to grow the same amount of grapes as for regular wine, you’d only get 15% as much icewine yield. This makes it pricey, and also only available in teensy weensy little bottles.

There you go, maybe you learned something! You’re officially allowed to veg out for the rest of the day. With a glass of wine.

And now for the recipes. A sweet dessert wine or even a sweet liquor could probably substitute well in most cases. Don’t fear the experiment, and tell me how it goes! Apologies for the limited pictures this time. I kind of started drinking regular wine in big bottles and lost track of some of my blogging responsibilities.

Here’s what went down. Spoiler alert, the shrimp was the winner and also one of the easiest things to make. Don’t you just love when that happens?

1. Spinach, apple, feta salad with miso icewine dressing and walnuts

2. Pumpkin & black bean soup with icewine and bacon

3. Icewine pulled pork with pickled onions and rosemary mayonnaise

4. Ginger shrimp with cilantro and icewine

5. Icewine truffles that I totally forgot to serve. Drinking wine has its downsides, although I’m willing to overlook them (how could I stay mad at you Vino)

1. Spinach, apple, feta salad with miso icewine dressing and walnuts

Rating: 3 Yums

  • I was inspired by this salad recipe
  • And here’s how I tweaked her dressing idea to make it into Miso Icewine Dressing. Be sure to taste the dressing before tossing to make sure you like the sweetness and acidity! It’s easy to add a splash more of this or that to tweak to your own tastes
  • Dressing ingredients: Whisk together…
  • 1 Tbsp white miso paste
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp icewine
  • 2 tsp honey

2. Pumpkin & black bean soup with icewine and bacon

Rating: 2 Yums

  • I followed this recipe, but substituted icewine for the sherry, left out the ham, added a few dried peppers, and pureed at the end. I tasted and thought it was kind of drab. So I served it in cups, garnished with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of bacon, and another sprinkling of roasted shelled pumpkin seeds. Operation soup rescue was a success! Thanks to pro photographer and dinner guest Andrea Kita for snapping the final result! (and for thoroughly enjoying the bacon)

Pumpkin soup

Fall soup

Icewine soup

3. Pulled pork in icewine barbecue sauce with pickled onions and rosemary mayonnaise

Rating: 4 Yums

  • I followed The Purple Fig’s instructions for pulled pork and pickled onions and rosemary mayo, but I put the pulled pork on buns instead of in tacos and I made my own BBQ sauce incorporating the icewine, recipe below. Love the Purple Fig! Best women’s mag going.
  • Icewine BBQ Sauce
  • I made this Barbecue sauce recipe but swapped icewine for bourbon and left out the hot sauce. It was perfect!

Icewine barbecue sauce

4. Awesome icewine shrimp

Rating: 5 Yums!


  • A good-sized bag of the biggest shrimp you can afford, peeled
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1.5 inch piece of ginger, peeled and diced
  • A couple glugs of icewine (about 2-3 Tbsp)
  • 2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Directions: Peel shrimp, pat them dry with paper towels, and salt them. Melt butter in frying pan. Add ginger and cook 30s, stirring a few times. Add shrimp and cook 2 minutes. Flip them, and add icewine. Cook until no longer pink, about 2 more minutes, but this depends on size. Stir cilantro in near the end of cook time and serve.

5. Icewine truffles

Rating: 2 Yums

I followed this recipe, but used table cream instead of whipping cream because I was hoping to pull things off with slightly less fat. Don’t do that – I think the lower fat cream made the truffles melt really quickly every time they came out of the freezer. Still tasty though, and when I actually remembered to serve them up the next day one of the guests said the icewine flavour really came through.


Phew! This post was a mouthful! (Of icewine). Thanks for sticking with me to the end!!!


  1. Leave a Reply

    October 28, 2013

    ICE WINE!! YAY. Good thing I have a few bottles in the fridge so I can go ahead and get cooking 🙂

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      October 28, 2013

      Yay pulled pork! Thanks for The Purple Fig’s culinary genius!

  1. Food and Entertaining: Pulled Pork on a Bun | The Purple Fig - […] out this other recipe for pulled pork using ice wine from Cooking Dangerously. Should be Cooking Deliciously if you ask…

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