Ready to pucker up?

Original offerings of vinegar a couple of decades ago were white vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar and cider vinegar.  Then came balsamic and sherry vinegars which I loved because they are not as sour as the others. Next were herb-infused vinegars which are delicious, and Champagne vinegar which is a softer taste. Now there are many types of vinegars that add not only an acidic flavor, but fruity, vegetable, and savory flavors to dishes. Many are made in small batches from well-sourced ingredients.  These vinegars give cooks a wide range of flavor options that enhance whatever they are cooking.

Vinegar is made from converting simple sugars to ethanol using yeast, and then converting ethanol to acetic acid.  In the right conditions, any liquid containing alcohol can turn into vinegar– wine, beer, cider, sake, and hard liquors. There are many types of vinegar used in cooking as a flavorful, acidic ingredient.  Vinegar is also used in pickling, as a condiment, and even as a household cleaner.  The name ‘vinegar’ comes from French for ‘sour wine’.

Here are some favorites from respected cooking sources:





Acid League describes itself as “a team of designers, food scientists and food fanatics that make creative pantry products”.  They make a wide range of flavors.  How delicious does Strawberry Rose Vinegar sound? $15.00



Their New Essentials Kit for a well-stocked pantry includes Wild Berry Balsamic Vinegar, Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Saffron Gold Secret Sauce condiment and All The Alliums Secret Sauce. $62.00.



American Vinegar Works is a New England small batch vinegar company. They make beer vinegar, cider-based hot vinegar, sake, and wine vinegars. Their flavors have a reputation for being intense.  One reviewer said he loves these vinegars so much he thinks about pouring one into a glass and just drinking it as it.  The Better Than Champagne Chardonnay Vinegar is slow fermented in small batches.  $12.00 for 8.5 fluid oz.

If you are a rice vinegar fan, you might like this one.  It is made from Iio Jozo’s house-made sake.  It has a smoother taste than many mass-produced rice vinegars.  It is recommended for use on steamed vegetables or sushi rice. $44.25 for 500 ml.





Ramp Up vinegars use umami flavors like red miso, black garlic, turmeric, and ramp in their vinegars.  They are versatile condiments and are delicious on eggs, vegetables, French fries, noodle dishes, salads, drizzled over cheese, and leftovers. Red Miso Vinegar, $10.00 for 8 oz.









New York City-based Pineapple Collaborative makes a cider vinegar that gets rave reviews. It is made from heirloom-variety apples. And has “50% more vinegar than other specialty brands.” $28.00 for 13.5 oz.


Brightland’s Citrus Champagne Vinegar is double fermented with California Chardonnay grapes and Navel and Valencia oranges.  It is made in small batches on a farm in California.  $22.00 for 6.7 oz.


Epicurious compiled a list of ways to use these specialty vinegars that I found helpful:

  • Salad Dressing
  • Pan Sauce
  • White Wine Vinegar Sauce
  • Quick Pickling
  • Japanese Dipping Sauces and Condiments
  • Glazing Vegetables
  • Pie Dough for a flaky crust
  • Desserts – add balsamic vinegar to figs and cheese
  • Deglazing hot skillets
  • Disinfect your home

Note:  Vinegar can be stored indefinitely in a closed container at room temperature.  Vinegar’s high acidity makes it resistant to much bacterial growth and spoilage.