Lifestyle

Drinking Vinegar? Surely you must be joking.

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I’m not joking and don’t call me Shirley.  (with thanks to “Airplane”) Before you crinkle your nose at the thought of drinking vinegar, consider this:

Lots of health-minded people swear by a shot of apple cider vinegar to kick-start their day.

But that potent little shot can be hard to swallow for some.

Happily, there’s a growing ­­trend to make vinegars a lot taster by mixing them with fruit juice, herbs and sweetener.  And they’re making a big splash in the beverage world.

They’re believed to aid with digestion, help to regulate acid reflux, boost immune system  and help to clear respiratory tract when you have a cold.   And a healthy gut can help keep your skin looking its best, too.

Most drinking vinegar concentrates are organic,  low in sugar with a yin yang of sweet/tart that’s a fun change from diet soda or regular water.   A little splash goes a long way to turning a glass of sparking water into a much more festive, and tasty drink that’s good for you.

Drinking vinegars are now found  in  many restaurants, where they’re called “Shrubs”, and offered as a fun alternative to a regular cocktail.  Shrubs have actually been around since the days of our founding fathers – now they’re experiencing a surge with new and tasty flavors.

I found my first drinking vinegar when I was on a mission to find the perfect hit of ginger juice to add to my breakfast smoothie. I happened upon a line of drinking vinegars called SOM, flavored concentrates made by Pok Pok restaurant in Portland. Their ginger vinegar is full of flavor, with a sweet/tart balance and a bit of tang at the finish. I learned later that it’s good for boosting immunity. I’ve also tried their Turmeric (good for inflammation). They also  make a classic apple drinking vinegar, pomegranate, Thai basil and other seasonal flavors. (Available on Amazon or directly from PokPokSom.com).

We’re lucky in Seattle to have several farmer’s markets and I’ve noticed other artisanal drinking vinegars there. Most of them make limited edition flavors, like Pineapple Tamarind Serrano, Black Cherry Balsamic, or Cucumber. Check to see who might be mixing them up in your market.

Bigger companies like Kevita Tonic and Suja and Blue Print are now marketing organic drinking vinegars of assorted flavor combinations, some with added probiotics for a healthier gut. They’re hoping people who regularly consume green drinks will give these new drinks a try.

Mixed with cold , still or bubbly water, or juice, you can serve it straight up in a cocktail glass or over ice in a long, tall glass.  No need to feel like you’re missing the party when you can sip one of these jewel-colored, delicious concoctions.

And of course, if you prefer to whip up an adult beverage, drinking vinegars can spark a whole new wave of creative cocktail ideas.

However you choose to enjoy them, give one a try. Cheers!