If you love to cook, then you know that it’s next to impossible to find quality red wine vinegar. It is usually made in bulk from poor-quality wine, and rarely adds anything but sharp acidity to a dish. Luckily, making your own red wine vinegar is easy and cheap, if not quick. Follow the instructions below for fresh, delicious red wine vinegar.
1 bottle of red wine (choose a bottle that you enjoy drinking yourself. Lower alcohol, fruitier wines tend to be more successful)
1-gallon container (earthenware is best, but a glass container will work too) Cheesecloth
A “mother” (a live starter to get the fermentation process going. The bacteria eat the alcohol and turn it into acetic acid. Can be found at a wine and beer making store, online, or from a friend who makes red wine vinegar)
2 cups of water
1. Pour the wine and water into the container
2. Add the mother
3. Cover tightly with cheesecloth
4. Store in a warm (70-80 ⁰F), dark place
5. Add a glass or two of wine (it doesn’t have to be the same wine that started the batch) to the jar every week. Move aside the “mother” when you pour in the wine so as not to disturb the fermentation process.
6. Store for about 2 and a half months, or until it tastes like vinegar.
7. Pasteurize the vinegar to keep it from continuing to ferment: dilute with water by 25%, heat to 155 ⁰F on the stove, and keep it at this temperature for 30 minutes.
8. Strain through clean cheesecloth or a coffee filter into bottles or jars.
Have you made red wine vinegar? Tell us about it below.
Photo by Mike McCune, "Vinegar"