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    International Food Blogger Conference 2011 NOLA

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    Really? Rhubarb Drinking Vinegar? Yes please!



    I wrote about Drinking Vinegars and Shrubs last year, and I think they might be catching on, mainly because fewer people look at me strangely when I mention I'm making them.

    The process, as I outlined in my last blog post about it, is simple. You'll need fruit. I might need to expand that to say "you'll need fruit AND/OR vegetables". Isn't rhubarb technically a vegetable?

    Whatever you decide to use for this recipe, for example: apples, pears, pineapple, cranberries or rhubarb, you'll need approximately 2 cups of it. If you want to speed up the infusion process, mash the fruit. Since I already had plenty of other homemade Drinking Vinegars in my fridge, I didn't feel the need to hurry anything up. I didn't bother mashing the fruit; I just casually half chopped/half sliced my stalks of rhubarb, knowing the larger chunks would, over time, impart their flavor and color into the vinegar just fine. 

    After you put the fruit/veggie in a quart jar, top it off with vinegar. Apple Cider Vinegar, (unseasoned) Rice Vinegar or another mild-flavored vinegar. I used Distilled White Vinegar for this batch. NOT White Wine Vinegar...that's more expensive and completely unnecessary.

    Cover it with a napkin and let it sit on the counter for a week. The napkin keeps out fruit flies while allowing the fruit to ferment a bit, plus a paper napkin is easy to write the date on!

    If you can't finish your project in a week or so, stick it in the fridge. I started this batch in the springtime, when I had plenty of tender organic rhubarb growing in my yard.

    And there the Rhubarb Drinking Vinegar base has sat, on the top shelf of my fridge, along with Boozy Bing Cherries, Cranberry Drinking Vinegar base (from November 2010), Rose Hip Bitters base (almost ready to filter), and 2 different jars of Rhubarb Bitters base, also from May 2011 and definitely ready for filtering and imbibing.


    It seems like only yesterday that I started this batch. Time flies when you're having fun preserving other things, I guess.


     Pour the Rhubarb Drinking Vinegar base into a sieve...


    Any fruit (or vegetables) you have used for Drinking Vinegar should probably just go into the compost. The pulp will be devoid of flavor at this point.

    In the case of the rhubarb, even the bright pink color was gone.

    Pour the liquid into a saucepan...

    ...and add between 1/2 cup to 1 cup of white sugar, brown sugar, honey, or any other sweetener you'd like. I used 1 entire cup of white sugar for the batch shown here, because rhubarb is quite tart to begin with.

    Keep in mind, Drinking Vinegar is not an exact science.

    Use your imagination.

    Note: I like to start with 1/2 cup of sugar, stir the Drinking Vinegar until the sugar dissolves, and then taste a tiny bit of the liquid, adding more until it has a sweet-tart flavor profile.


    Heat to boiling, stirring often to dissolve any added sugars, then simmer for 5 more minutes. You might want to turn your kitchen exhaust fan on or open a window, because simmering vinegar is a strong scent; a strong scent I happen to love, mind you. I always say "Nothing like the a big pot of boiling dill pickle brine to put you in the mood for preserving!"

    Okay, remember when you taste-test the Drinking Vinegar: It will be tart because of the vinegar, but it should be slightly sweet too. You are making a concentrated syrup, to be added to still or sparkling water or cocktails, not something you will be drinking by itself.

    A little bit of Drinking Vinegar goes a long way.

    When it's ready, pour it into a beautiful bottle...

    ....or any bottle with a tight-fitting lid or cork...

     ...and store it in the fridge.

    I like to keep it simple by pouring a spoonful of Drinking Vinegar into a glass, adding ice, then topping it off with sparkling water.

    Try it -- -it's incredibly refreshing.

    My garnish of choice? 

    Well, since it's Rhubarb Drinking Vinegar, a few pieces of Ginger-y Pickled Rhubarb seemed only fitting.

    Did I happen to mention I love rhubarb?

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    Reader Comments (6)

    I love to make rhubarb juice. We add a little bit to sprite or 7up. My 6 year old son loves it and asks for it weekly. I ration the stuff because the 6 pints I make need to last all year until the next spring. Your recipe sounds wonderful. I might have to try it. :)


    October 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSaeriu

    Saeriu - I think it's adorable that your 6 year old son loves rhubarb juice!
    When I hosted a RhubarbFest in Seattle last spring, some people said to me "Ewwww....I hate rhubarb!" but I convinced a few of them to attend anyway. Wouldn't you know it, they ended us saying "Wow. Rhubarb is so delicious. I had no idea it could taste so good." Some of those same people later remembered eating rhubarb in their grandma's garden, sometimes just right out of the ground, other times dipped in the sugar bowl first, but still raw, like eating a stalk of celery.
    I am so happy to find more rhubarb fans :)
    Thanks for your comment...I appreciate that you take the time to write on my blog posts.

    October 17, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    Love this idea-can't wait to try it. Have you ever used stevia or splenda as a sweetener?

    November 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTalyn

    I'm glad you like it Talyn!

    I haven't tried making it with stevia or Splenda. I am a fan of stevia in certain things, but preserving isn't usually one of them.
    I don't think you would have the same syrup-y consistency of the finished product, which for me is an important characteristic of drinking vinegar.

    BUT, never say "never".

    I think I will try making my next batch with stevia, and I'll get back to you.
    It's actually a really good idea, so thank you so much for the inspiration :)

    November 2, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    Hello, I made some strawberry/white vinegar sweetened with sugar, ginger/white vinegar sweetened with honey, and apple/white vinegar with honey. So far, the strawberry wins--the ginger will 'clear your sinuses'. ;o)

    November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTalyn

    Whoaaaaa. You've been busy. Very nice.

    I can't believe it, but I don't think I've ever made strawberry. I think my niece in Denver made a little batch of strawberry with white BALSAMIC vinegar she bought reasonably at Trader Joes. I remember her telling me she was going to, but I better check in with her and see how it went.

    I'm so excited that you made some drinking vinegar with honey! And I laughed when I read your comment about your ginger drinking vinegar. Maybe you can make a big batch and market it as decongestant? LOL :)

    November 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens
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