Apple Drinking Vinegar, made with Gala apples, Dr Bronners Apple Cider Vinegar and sugar.
People have been drinking vinegar throughout history. Sometimes they drink it straight, for it's many health benefits, but I have found that making "shrubs"*, as they are sometimes called, is a great way to preserve fruit and liven up your daily liquid intake at the same time.
To make Drinking Vinegar, start with any kind of fruit -- preferably something fresh, organic and local.
One Gala apple, one Golden Delicious apple and one pint of distilled white vinegar.
Seed and coarsely chop fruit, and add it to a quart jar.
Mash fruit for a minute or so before adding the vinegar.
Macerate the chopped fruit with any type of vinegar and let it sit at room temperature for about a week, stirring once per day.
1.) Apple/White Vinegar. 2.) Apple/ACV 3.) Pear/White Vinegar
Experimenting with different types of vinegar, like distilled white vinegar, apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar can yield wildly varying results.(All good!)
After you let it ferment, for at least a week, you strain the liquid into a saucepan and add some type of sweetener -- again -- you can get creative.
Try using honey, raw sugar, and/or white sugar for starters.
Day 7, pears + distilled white vinegar. I used unrefined sugar with this batch.
After straining to separate the liquid from the solids, add approximately 1/2 cup of sugar to every 2 cups of liquid and simmer for 5 minutes.
Simmer gently, making sure you stir the mixture while the sugar is dissolving.
Filter or not, depending on whether you want the finished product to be clear.
Filtering is optional.
The pears, for example, left behind a lot of sediment that would have made the Drinking Vinegar cloudy. Choosing to filter, or even filter twice, is purely a matter of esthetics.
Try adding a few tablespoons to a glass with ice cubes and either soda or water for a really refreshing drink. Shrubs, as these zesty beverages were called by many, were well known in the eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries as great thirst quenchers, and were quite refreshing when battling summer heat.
Try making a cocktail, by putting some ice in a glass, pouring in a few tablespoons of Drinking Vinegar, a shot of Vodka and then top the glass with club soda. Maybe a sprig of mint. Or a squeeze of lemon or lime too.
You'll discover that Drinking Vinegars can be simple or amazingly complex, and are a fun alternative to fruit juice, soda pop and cocktail mixers. One of these rainy days, brew up a batch or two for the holidays.
Once filtered and in the refrigerator, the Drinking Vinegars keep practically forever. I have a feeling you'll enjoy 'em so much that you'll want to try making them with a variety of fruits, and keep a few bottles in the fridge all year 'round. I can hardly wait until my next bumper crop of raspberries....
* Food Lovers Companion definintion of "shrub": Colonial-day shrubs were spiked with liquor (usually brandy or rum) but today these fruit juice, sugar and vinegar drinks are usually non-alcoholic. Shrubs are served over ice, with or without soda water.
Just received this in my email today...great info about homemade drinking vinegars at Pok Pok in Portland, from "The Tasting Table":