Sweet, Sour Vinegar Cocktails Invade Bars

From Pok Pok to your local bar, these new drinks are popping up everywhere


Health fiends know that you can make a mean detox-tonic with apple cider vinegar, but vinegar is no longer just for wellness mavens.  Vinegar is popping up in cocktails  everywhere these days, promising a new flavor experience in your remixed drink. The vinegar in these cocktails is mixed with fresh fruit and sugar to mitigate the sourness while keeping the pleasantly bracing tang.

Vinegar cocktails aren’t made using the malt vinegar you might shake on your fries or the cheap balsamic you might purchase from the supermarket. These vinegars, called “shrub vinegars,” differ from the store bought kind as they are made from palm or cane vinegar to give them a fruity taste. The vinegar in these cocktails is mixed with fresh fruit and sugar to mitigate the sourness while keeping the pleasantly bracing tang.

Andy Ricker, owner of popular restaurant Pok Pok Ny among others, has long been enamored with drinking vinegars, producing his own and selling them under the name Som. The vinegar in these cocktails (which can be either alcoholic or non-alcoholic) is mixed with fresh fruit and sugar to mitigate the sourness while keeping the pleasantly bracing tang. Ricker’s original vinegar cocktail, called the Apple Gin Rickey, is made with apple vinegar, gin and soda. Others include the Lord Bergamot, made from honey Som, tea-infused vodka, orange liqueur, and soda; or the Heat Ray, made with celery-flavored vinegar, gin, chiles, and lime juice. The first two are available in his New York restaurants and the latter in Portland, Ore.

Ricker was inspired to use vinegar as a cocktail mixer while perusing Asian supermarkets, where the drinks are touted as weight-loss cocktails (despite high sugar levels). Weight-loss agent, health tonic or tasty cocktail, vinegar will add a punch to whatever you choose to drink.


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