Booze | July 16, 2022 4:23 pm

Balsamic Vinegar Is Having Its Moment — In Cocktails

You might have a new favorite drink ingredient

Balsamic vinegar
It has uses far beyond salad dressing.
Caroline Attwood/Unsplash

Sure, it’s great on a salad, but that’s not all you can do with a bottle of good balsamic vinegar. It had a moment in the sun earlier this summer when some enterprising TikTok users blended it with seltzer to create something dubbed “Healthy Coke” — though debate continues over whether or not it tastes remotely like its sugary counterpart.

That’s not the only beverage rising in popularity this summer for which balsamic vinegar plays a crucial role. In a new article for Punch, Rachel Sugar explored why the vinegar in question has developed a growing reputation as a go-to cocktail ingredient — and where it might be a great addition for your own home bar.

In the article, Sugar describes shrubs as “the most classical balsamic application.” Combine balsamic vinegar with fruit and sugar and you’ll have a shrub, which can either be drunk all its own or used as a cocktail ingredient. It’s far from the only way that balsamic vinegar can be deployed, however. Sugar points to everything from trace amounts of it used in a sangria to reducing it and combining it with Fernet-Branca.

Perhaps the most intriguing application comes via the Bufala Negra, which creator Jerry Slater described to Punch as tasting “almost like an Italian Mint Julep.” Combining bourbon, ginger beer and balsamic vinegar might not be the first recipe that comes to mind, but the results sound delicious — to say nothing of the satisfaction that comes from using an unexpected ingredient.