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Enhancing The Power And Flavours Of Your Cocktail Using Vinegar

vinegar cocktails

Acidity is an integral component of cocktails, generally fulfilled by citrusy ingredients. There’s also malic acid from apples and grapes that come at a close second. However, acetic acid is a seldom used or rather overlooked acid that comes from vinegar. 

When we think of vinegar, we think of its incorporation in salads and other savoury items. Although vinegar has been used for centuries in drinks, lately, it has found a renewed resurgence among mixologists, to bump up their concoction’s flavour profile. In this article, we will explore the uncharted territory of vinegar in mixology and fun cocktail recipes incorporating the acid that you can recreate at home. Let’s get started!

The Effect of Vinegar on Cocktails

Interestingly, we have been accustomed to varieties of vinegar in the form of malt, red and white wine, and sherry. In fact, vinegar can be created from almost anything–apples, coconut, vanilla, tomato, pineapple, etc. It is quite a versatile ingredient, which makes one wonder why it isn’t used as widely in cocktails. When infused in cocktails, it acts as a natural flavour enhancer and helps to brighten up the other ingredients in the drink. It is also great to add if you want to counterbalance excessive sweetness in a cocktail by creating a well-rounded flavour profile. However, when using any kind of vinegar, exercise restraint. Keep in mind that acetic acid is three times more powerful than citric acid. 

vinegar in cocktails1

Exploring Vinegar Varieties

Let’s look at three popular varieties of vinegar that are used in cocktails, and the difference it makes.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Known for its fruity and acidic flavour profile, apple cider vinegar goes well with a variety of spirits including whisky, rum or even gin.

Balsamic Vinegar

If you want to add a degree of sophistication to your cocktails, balsamic vinegar is the way to go. With its rich, dark and velvety flavour profile, balsamic vinegar pairs well with dark spirits like bourbon and brandy.

Red Wine Vinegar

With its robust flavour profile, red wine vinegar is the perfect companion for bold cocktails featuring whisky or tequila. 

Fun Cocktail Recipes That Use Vinegar 

Let’s look at a few cocktail recipes that incorporate the goodness of apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar.

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Spicy Jalapeno Cider Fizz

To create the drink, you will need:

60 ml bourbon
30 ml apple cider vinegar
15 ml honey syrup (1:1 ratio of honey and hot water)
7 ml triple sec
½ jalapeno, sliced
Club soda

To prepare the drink:

In a shaker, muddle the jalapeno slices. To this, add bourbon, apple cider vinegar, honey syrup and triple sec. Shake the mixture and double-strain it into a highball glass filled with ice. Top off the drink with club soda and stir. Serve with a garnishing of a jalapeno slice. 

Olivo Strawberry Spark

To create the drink, you will need:

60 ml vodka
15 ml lemon juice
15 ml honey or unflavoured syrup
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2-3 diced strawberries
1 small bunch of mint or basil

To prepare the drink:

Add the diced strawberries to a cocktail shaker and muddle it until its juices are released. Then add the vodka, lemon juice, honey and balsamic vinegar and shake vigorously. Pour the cocktail into a glass filled with ice and garnish with a slice of lemon, strawberry, mint or basil. 

Cotter Swizzle

To create the drink, you will need:

50 ml gin
30 ml ginger liqueur
30 ml red wine vinegar
15 ml lime juice (freshly squeezed)
4 dashes of Angostura bitters
Sliced ginger for garnish

To prepare the drink:

Combine the gin, ginger liqueur, red wine vinegar and lime juice into a Collins glass with crushed ice. Stir the drink until the ice starts melting. Top up the drink with more crushed ice and add the Angostura bitters on top of it. Complete the drink with thinly sliced ginger garnishing on the ice.

You can also look at creating your own vinegar infusions using thyme or rosemary; the possibilities are endless! It’s time to elevate your cocktail game with the transformative power of vinegar. Go, get started!