I don’t drink alcohol. Not only have I never been able to develop a taste for it I am highly allergic to it. If I drink more than one glass of wine I break out in hives all over my body. Sometimes I feel a little left out drinking a diet soda or glass of water when all the other grown-ups are sipping their cocktails. One of my favorite restaurants in Portland is Pok Pok and they have a long list of “drinking vinegars” available on their beverage menu. I had never heard of such a thing and was intrigued. I ordered a pomegranate drinking vinegar and after my first sip I was hooked. Drinking vinegars are shockingly refreshing and are great palate cleansers, they don’t leave that sugary taste in your mouth like most sodas do. The process does involve planning ahead, the fruit has to macerate for 5 days in the vinegar. I must also warn you that the smell that the mixture makes as you are boiling it can be a bit strong but the end result is totally worth it. Since we are entering peak fruit season I can’t wait to make a blackberry or raspberry version next. For more recipes be sure to visit me at www.scalingbackblog.com.
Peach drinking vinegar
Makes about 1 quart of syrup
1 pound ripe peaches or any other fruit you desire, pears, apples, plums, blackberries
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup fresh herbs such as thyme, basil or tarragon
½ cup sugar or more to taste
Rinse the fruit and remove any seeds. Place in a large pot and lightly mash the fruit with a wooden spoon. Pour in enough vinegar to cover the fruit and cover the top with a lid. Let the mixture macerate at room temperature for 5 days, stirring once a day.
After 5 days, stir in the ½ cup sugar bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add the herbs, let the mixture cool for 20 minutes and then strain.
To serve add 3 to 4 tablespoons of the syrup to a large glass filled with ice and then fill the rest of the glass with soda water. If the mixture is too tart add a little more sugar to the syrup mixture. The syrup will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.