Drinking Vinegar and Liking It

Growing up, my dad and grandmother extoled the virtues of drinking apple cider vinegar.  As a young girl I was highly skeptical, but over time learned to appreciate their jugement.  I am far from a regular inbiber, but I can see its merits, and the flavor has grown on me.

Word of Advice – This is a drink that demands a straw, as it makes the teeth sensitive.  I found it palatable diluted with water and served over ice, and a lot of folks recommend the addition of honey.  Go for the good stuff, you don’t want to skimp on quality if you drink it – you can taste the difference.

I had always considered it a folksy remedy, one of those food is medicine encounters, until I came face to face with a vast selection of vinegar drinks in my local Asian market, and then I had to reconsider.  And because sometimes, apparently you need to be hit over the head with, I got a note in my in box called “Drink Your Vinegar”  about a restaurant, Pok Pok in Portland Oregon that was selling their own version (and with coincidences being what they are, I can’t resist linking to Leela of SheSimmers post on Pok Pok’s chef Andy Ricker and a delicious recipe for Tom Saep Neua – talk about timing).

Asian drinking vinegars

Is this another trend?  Maybe, but Mixologists have been usings a vinegar and sugar concentration (called a shrub) to create novel flavors for a long time, but drinking vinegar for its own merit was another thing entirely.  So if you think those shrubs are part of a new fangled Asian trend, a vinegary drink called the shrub has been made in Western Countries since the 19th century.  I’ve seen both non-alcolohol and alcoholic versions of this drink.  Another example of a vinegar drink, this one using Balsamic vinegar and jam, also landed in my in box, I mean I was bombarded with ideas for this post to such an extent that I dropped the one I was working on.

The non-alcoholic kind owes its popularity to the Temperance Movement during Prohibition which promoted the drink as an alternative to hard liqueur.  The Culinary Historians of Canada have a tasty sounding recipe for Strawberry and Raspberry Shrub.

fruit options a plenty


In fact, this drink is probably far older and more common than we are considering.  Try the Arab speaking countries whose drinks are remarkably similar to the non vinegary version of shrubs.  I cannot say this is the area where this drink started, but Azita, of the wonderful Persian blog, Turmeric & Saffron recently posted on a favorite rhubarb sherbet that her mother made.

Take a look at the etymology for Shrub:  from Arabic شراب (shiraab, “a drink, beverage”), شرب (sháriba, “to drink”), akin to sirup, sherbet

The formal definition of a shrub:  A liquor composed of vegetable acid, fruit juice (especially lemon), sugar, sometimes vinegar, and a small amount of spirit as a preservative. Modern shrub is usually non-alcoholic, but in earlier times it was often mixed with a substantial amount of spirit such as brandy or rum, thus making it a liqueur.

But does it taste good?  The apple cider vinegar drink is an acquired taste.  The vinegar drinks from the Asian Markets, I find really refreshing and I love the pineapple flavor.  I’m looking forward to sampling Azita’s sherbet soon too.  My verdict is that these delicious drinks are perfect for summer and they take advantage of all the bounty of wonderful fruit.  I am looking forward to sampling more flavors and options and mixing up my drinks.  No more will I consider vinegar to just dress my greens.

a personal favorite on a hot day

Other Reads:

Apple Cider Vinegar Cure

Drinking Vinegar…It Does a Body Good

Sour Power

Drinking vinegar

Homemade Drinking Vinegar

Update me when site is updated

32 comments for “Drinking Vinegar and Liking It

  1. May 21, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    When I saw the title in my feed, I was thinking of Pok Pok’s vinegar bar too and wouldn’t you know it. 🙂

    Oh, yeah. Vinegar will definitely be the next “it” beverage, if it hasn’t already.

    I’m a fan of apple cider vinegar. That’s the first thing I drink in the morning — iced raw apple cider vinegar with honey. I also love making a cold drink of one part raw apple cider vinegar and one part ginger ale on ice.
    Leela recently posted..How to Prepare a Jackfruit Kha-nun ขนุน

  2. May 21, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    Very interesting! I have actually been considering experimenting a bit with drinking apple cider vinegar. We’ll see…
    Andrea@WellnessNotes recently posted..What’s Your Favorite Form of Exercise

  3. May 21, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    hehe…those vinegar drinks look so familiar. The pineapple one does taste the best.
    Angie@Angiesrecipes recently posted..Chocolate Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Bars

  4. May 22, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Just thought you’d like to know that apple cider vinegar is purportedly good for people who suffer from acid reflux. I take it in tablet form…plus use it on salad whenever I can.

  5. May 22, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    I’ll be mulling over this….and considering trying a cider cocktail soon. For now, I’m content to sit on the sidelines and admire your bravery (not that I haven’t drank other things with flavours that begged cultivation).
    Kitchen Butterfly recently posted..Girls Scout Thin Mint Fudgy Brownies

  6. OysterCulture
    May 22, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    Leela – Great minds think alike. Love the idea of apple cider vinegar and ginger ale. I’ll be trying that soon.

    Andrea – I can’t say for sure you would like it, but give it a try – just don’t do it like someone who read my blog and try to drink it straight like a shot. It needs to be diluted, and I like it fine with water, or seltzer water.

    Angie – Ha, they are tasty, looking forward to sampling the other flavors too.

    Joan – Good to know, and thanks for sharing.

    Kitchen Butterfly – You don’t know until you try. You might soon ask yourself, what took you so long to take that first sip. =)

  7. May 22, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    How interesting, definitely a new concept to me as far as the drinking part. I do have to say that I miss the vinegars we used to be able to get in Brazil. I didn’t drink them, but enjoyed the lime and mint infused varieties for salads. Headed over to check out that rhubarb sherbet!
    Lori recently posted..Strawberry Rhubarb Bread

  8. May 22, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    I’ve never tried a vinegar drink, how neat, I would love to try one!

  9. May 23, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    I love vinegar drinks. It’s one of our popular drinks in the summer time and it’s made in the form of a syrup called sekanjabin that goes back to the ancient times. Sekanjabin is made with vinegar, sugar, mint and water. Thanks for the mention and the link.
    Azita recently posted..Sharbat Rivas – Rhubarb Sherbet

  10. May 23, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    I love a bit of tang in drinks. In fact, recently I had a chance to try a sauerkraut juice shot. I was a little skeptical at first. But it actually was quite good — energizing even, and satiating with its robust acidic nature.

  11. tigerfish
    May 24, 2011 at 2:57 AM

    Drinking vinegar??? I would not dare. Feels that my stomach is hurting already !!!! :O

  12. May 24, 2011 at 5:26 AM

    Funny timing. I was reading about “the vinegar cure” last week, but hadn’t seriously considered drinking the stuff. Your post has changed my mind – I’ll give it a try!

  13. May 24, 2011 at 6:09 AM

    always learn when I come here, thats cool you have been to Windsor 🙂
    rebecca recently posted..Walking in Windsor- England

  14. May 24, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    I wonder with the popolarity and affinity many people have for kombucha if vinegar will be the next “it”
    Drink. I’m definitely curious about what the health benefits are. We had a drink made with shrub at the street food festival 2 years ago a la Jamie Lauren of Absinthe. Interesting history!

  15. May 25, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    As a teenager, I read somewhere that drinking vinegar is good for you. I chugged a huge gulp and almost died coughing and gagging. I wouldn’t mind trying the ones you featured though…esp that Asian drink! Packaging is everything! haha

  16. May 25, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Vinegar is sour wine after all.
    Balsamic vinegar and jam drink sounds interesting.
    Kitchen M recently posted..Smuggled Butter and Weed Whacker Salad

  17. May 26, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Interesting connection to sherbet! I can see how a vinegar drink would be very refreshing, and it our heat, I can use all the refreshing beverage options I can get.
    lisaiscooking recently posted..Harissa and Yogurt Chicken with Persian-spiced Pilaf

  18. May 26, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    apple cider vinegar and unsulphered molassess was recommended to me for my migranes. works for as long as you keep drinking it which for me wasn’t very long that stuff is nasty.

  19. May 27, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    Mmm not for me…vinegar yes in salads but not as drink, even I prefer mustard with less vinegar possible. Anyway if I can I give a shot 😉


    Gera@Sweets Foods Blog recently posted..Sweet Foods- Practice Self-Control not Self-Deprivation

  20. May 29, 2011 at 12:14 AM

    I got one of those vinegar drinks from a health food shop a few years ago – I didn’t realize it was a vinegar drink from the bottle and was in for quite a shock when I took that first giant sip! I have them occasionally – they definitely need to be chilled and takes a bit of mental coaching ahead of time for me to finish the whole thing. I’m convinced of their health benefits though…
    gastroanthropologist recently posted..Cinnamon Walnut Loaf

  21. OysterCulture
    May 29, 2011 at 6:42 AM

    Lori – I agree the diversity of vinegars is really amazing and its great to see the added umph they add to foods.

    5 Star – I’m betting they’d have those drinks at the Asian markets near you. I can see you turning it into a taste sensation.

    Azita – How fascinating, I’m going to see if I can find a recipe, sounds delicious.

    Carolyn – There is something about the acidity that quenches the thirst. I had had the same experience with the saurkraut shot – got my first taste at the Farmers Market at Jack London Square – very refreshing indeed.

    Tigerfish – They say it helps digestion – its diluted too, not straight.

    Lynn – Cannot wait to hear what you think. You do have to be a bit open minded about it.

    Rebecca – Windsor was the first place I visited in England, even before London – special place for me.

    Anneliesz – Good point, and I bet that more people that drink kombucha also drink vinegar, seems like a natural affiinity. I think there should have been someone talking about vinegar at that Food and Medicine talk we attended.

    Sophia – You did what my sister just did upon reading this post – dilute, dilute, dilute. I can imagine how disgusting that was =(. Packaging is everything, although Asian packaging sometimes gets me, its so pretty with pastel colors and cute characters and then it can contain the wickedest pepper mix ever.

    Kitchen M – Great point and I agree that drink, which I have not made yet sound very intriguing.

    Lisa – Look forward to seeing if you give it a try.

    Wizzy – How about honey instead of molasses? Hope the migraines are better.

    Gera – you might be surprised =)

    Gastro – That would have been a nasty surprise. The vinegar connection is so interesting. I was researching for a business piece I was writing and a link to ancient Japanese wisdom came up, sort of like “Art of War” all good, but one comment came out “drink vinegar” I wish I could have found it for this piece,the writing was supposed to be over 1000 years ago.

  22. May 29, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    I drank vinegar as a kid – which concerned my mother – still have a love affair with it and will happily down any unfinished vinaigrette – which is always heavy on the vinegar when I make it. Hmmm … maybe I was ahead of my time.
    Claudia recently posted..Finding Spring in Chicago

  23. May 29, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    The virtues of vinegar are unlimited. That includes a “shot” every once and a while too!!! I will definitely be checking out the summertime vinegar drinks. How intriguing.

    Always a delight to visit here, Lou Ann. Thank you so much for sharing…
    Louise recently posted..This Week in the Garden

  24. June 1, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Great post! I have a bottle of apple vinegar that I got a while ago and the plan was to drink diluted in water of juice, but no need to mention that just lasted a few days…now after reading your post I revived my bottle and started to drink again 🙂 Thanks for reminding me of the benefits and I will look for the juices at the local Asian grocery. Hope you are having a fantastic week!

  25. OysterCulture
    June 4, 2011 at 7:36 AM

    Claudia – Most certainly you were ahead of your time, and probably the picture of health =)

    Louise – The shot part still sounds a bit dangerous, the drinks are really delicious. We just tried the plum one and it really had very little vinegary taste and was very refreshing.

    Juliana – thanks. I found I like it in soda water, if the taste is an issue this seems to make it a bit more palatable. I am having a good week, I just do not know where the time goes.

  26. June 6, 2011 at 6:07 AM

    I tried this for awhile when the research linking it to weight loss came out. Never quite acquired the taste (tried it diluted, but never sweetened), but perhaps I’ll have to try again. I believe the research was pretty solid and swimwsuit season is coming!
    I Wilkerson recently posted..Lo-Cal Summer Beverages- Homemade Lemonade

  27. June 6, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    Very interesting…something I have never tried myself. Really the first time I am hearing of vinegar as drink, wow!
    Magic of Spice recently posted..Whats for Lunch – Blue Grilled Cheese with Black Forest Bacon

  28. June 7, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Thanks for the link! Drinking vinegar is one of my favorite drinks now, a bit in bubbly water is so refreshing. I have convinces even the most skeptical friend with my peach drinking vinegar. 🙂

  29. June 8, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    I really like acidity and vinegar. I know it is good for the health, but I didn’t know that you could drink it in that way.



  30. OysterCulture
    June 19, 2011 at 10:00 AM

    I Wilkerson – double points for swimsuit season – will need to stock up now!

    MoS – probably not the last, it was funny, felt like I was bombarded

    Farmer Jo – My pleasure.

    Rosa – Definitely recommend a try.

  31. July 10, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    My grandparents always drank vinegar and I used to do it when I was nursing and had a clogged duct. Now I love kombucha which I have to believe delivers the same benefits.

  32. January 11, 2013 at 5:22 PM


    I just came across your article and i think it’s great that you’re educating people on drinking vinegar!

    I just started a line of Drinking Vinegar (Genki-Su: Japanese Drinking Vinegar) a few months ago w/ a good friend. We were funded on Kickstarter last month and got selected on as a ‘Staff Pick’! We are very excited about our product and thought you might want to check it out! http://www.genkisu.com


    We would love for you to try our drinking vinegar and let us know what you think!


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