Making Homemade Vinegar


This month’s Saveur has a recipe for making your own vinegar from leftover rosé wine. Coincidentally, I’ve had a mostly full, open bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon in the fridge for a few weeks, and kept thinking I should try to make my own vinegar with it. But the Saveur article suggests mail-ordering a mother of vinegar (the slimy bacteria-cellulose concoction that forms in vinegar as it ages and which can be added to wine or cider to make it start turning into vinegar).

Frankly, I’m feeling lazy about this vinegar-making adventure, and I didn’t want to have to buy something, pay shipping and handling and wait for it to come. Then I read that Bragg apple cider vinegar can be used in place of the mother, because it’s unfiltered and unpasteurized. Sure enough, the bottle of Bragg that I found at Fairway proclaimed “with the mother” right on the label, and a thin film of gnarly looking sediment lay in the bottom of the bottle. Unappetizing, but a lucky find.

So I combined my 2/3-full bottle of wine with 1 cup of Bragg. To age properly, vinegar must have air and warmth, and you should use a glass or ceramic container (not metal or plastic). I’ve got it going in the glass pitcher pictured above, and I’ll probably cover it with cheesecloth, to let air in but keep other stuff out. And I’ll try to be patient, because this will take a few months.

Anyone have their own experiences making vinegar? I’ll post periodic updates on the progress of my vinegar.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 9, 2009


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