Monday, August 9, 2010

Homemade Drinking Vinegar


Anyone who has visited my house knows my obsession with drinking vinegars. I offer a bubbly fruit/tart drink up to anyone who sits at my table. It can take some convincing of first timers that this vinegar does really taste wonderfully refreshing. They are growing in popularity, especially here in Portland. Pok Pok, a terrific authentic Thai restaurant, has made drinking vinegars practically mainstream.

I written about them before, and even made a cocktail using apple drinking vinegar in my Food Network application video. I have been purchasing bottles of fruit flavored vinegars at the Asian market. Apple, lemon, and strawberry vinegars have been my favorite.

Strawberry and peach drinking vinegars. The raspberry was drank very fast!

Drinking vinegars, from what I can tell, have a history in both the American South and all over Southeast Asia. It is a syrup created with fruit, fruit juices, a base vinegar and sweetened with sugar. When mixed with bubbly water it makes a sweet tart soda. Add a splash of gin or vodka and you have a fabulous cocktail.

I have been thinking about attempting homemade drinking vinegar for a while. Being pregnant, and off the cocktails, encouraged me to come up with interesting nonalcoholic drinks. A kitchen counter filled with u-pick strawberries, raspberries and peaches was all I needed to push me into experimentation.


The whole process took a week, but really only about an hour of hands-on time. I am very pleased with the results - sweet, tart, and fruity. Any juicy fruit would work. I can't wait until fall to try an apple and pear flavored vinegar. This is a pretty loosey-goosey recipe, but just adjust sugar to match your tastes.

Homemade Drinking Vinegars - makes about one quart
1 pint fruit, or 2 cups chopped stone fruit
3-4 cups white vinegar (I think a rice vinegar would work well too)
1 1/2 - 2 cups white sugar

1. In a clean quart jar add fruit and smoosh with a spoon until juice is released. Top off the jars with vinegar. Push fruit under the vinegar if it floats.
2. Cover the top with a clean cloth napkin and secure with a rubber band. Leave in a cool place for one week. (At this point you have a fruit vinegar for salad dressings)
3. Strain vinegar to remove fruit solids into a sauce pan. You should have about 3 1/2 cups of liquid.
4. Add sugar and bring mix to a boil for 5 minutes. It should thicken a bit.
5. At this point I would do a taste test. Mix 3 tablespoons with a large glass of seltzer. Is it sweet enough? If not, add more sugar and boil until the sugar melts.
6. Pour into a jar and store in the fridge. Use as needed.

PS. A yummy cocktail recipe: In a large glass mix 3 tablespoons of strawberry drinking vinegar, shot of vodka, squeeze of lime and top with seltzer.

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing! I am trying to wean myself from diet soda (aspertame and I are not friends, but I am an addict) This might help me through my fizzy drink cravings in a much more natural way.

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  2. I have to admit, this freaks me out, bc the smell of vinegar always makes me cringe. But I'm always looking for new drinks, so...

    Kelly

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  3. I promise it is refreshing and sweet and tangy (and you don't smell the vinegar!) Give it a try and report back.

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  4. I make this every year for Thanksgiving! Yum!

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  5. Farmer Jo, if you want to get them a little easier I make and sell drinking vinegars at Farmer's Markets in Portland, in flavors from classic raspberry to ginger!

    Deb

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  6. Thank you for posting this. I tried my first drinking vinegar at Pok Pok today and was enchanted. I knew rice vinegar was involved somehow. Now I can experiment with my own (200 miles away from PDX, alas)!

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  7. I can't believe drinking vinegars is a real thing! My grandfather drinks vinegars - I found that out in an unfortunate apple juice mistaken identity incident - which he claimed was great for his health. I chalked it up to old age, but he was right, like he often is!

    Thanks for clearing this one up for me! Your recipe looks much more appetizing than the vinegar my grandfather drinks. I'll have to make this for him!

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  8. Yay! I was just at pok pok and thought, I wish I had a recipe for drinking vinegar. I come home, read Luisa's Friday Link Love, and my wish was granted. Thank you--can't wait to try this.

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  9. I am so happy to see all these new visitors! Please report back on how your vinegars turn out!

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  10. I was in my favorite Asian Grocery yesterday and came across a bottle of fruit vinegar (probably a blend of fruit juices based on the ingredients) to try and it reminded me of the mildly fermented apple cider we used to make on the farm. I marinaded a couple of ounces of hulled and roasted chestnuts in a tablespoon of fruit vinegar for about 15 minutes and had them for desert after dinner.

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    1. Chestnuts marinated in vinegars sounds wonderful. I have some chestnuts waiting to be roasted and will give this a try!

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  11. You can get the real thing from www.drinkingvinegar.com in 12 different flavors, thinking of starting a new business contact us. Our vinegars are made by agricultural chemists for alternative health benefits, learn about the real benefits of brown rice vinegars, and the no health benefit of white vinegar. We are a specialist supplier of Taiwanese health vinegars.

    You are welcome to contact for information!

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  12. I've just learned of "drinking vinegar's". They sound great! I have a problem though. After reading blog after blog about them, one bit of crucial info is missing in each and every one of these "raves" about Drinking Vinegar's; it's shelf life. I would like to not only make some for use now, but also to put away in my long-term food storage. So I will ask the question: How long can Drinking Vinegar's be stored for? Thank you in advance for your replies.

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    1. Funny you ask that Anon! I have kept mine in the fridge for about 2 years. I made a flavor I am not all that into and just pulled the bottle out of the back of the fridge to try again last night. It has developed some sendiment but tasted fine (I think the flavor had even improved.)

      So to answer your question, I think they store practically indefinitely in the fridge.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  13. I know this is an old post, but i was wondering if you had ever done a sweet tomato drinking vinegar? Sounds like it could be good for softer tomatoes. thanks for any reply!

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  14. I love vinegar and vinegar drinks!

    Will boiling the recipe destroy the health benefits? Instead of sugar can you stire in honey or agave ayrup?

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  15. I have never tried it with tomatoes! That could be a great take on a bloody mary, maybe with some chilies in it too?

    Anon - I think any sweeter would be fine. I don't have an answer as far as boiling the vinegar and its effect on the health benefits. Anyone else know?

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  16. pondering shelf life.....in essence, is one not making vinegar in this process? To make vinegar from scratch you essentially make wine or alcohol - turning sugars into alcohol by fermentation -it is the first stage of a natural fermentation....vinegar is the next stage of fermentation - wine, exposed to air will pick up the natural yeasts that will then turn it into vinegar....

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