The world of vinegar is tart and subtle. From apple cider vinegar, touted for its health effects, to balsamic vinegar, which ages like fine wine, there are a plethora of vinegars and almost as many different uses for this versatile ingredient, including c
Everything you need to know about vinegar: which to use, when to use it, and what to use it with
1. White Wine Vinegar
Made with white wine instead of red using acetic fermentation, this delicate vinegar is perfect for dressing light salads and as an additive to certain condiments. Delicately sour with fruity undertones, white wine vinegar is used in mayonnaise and for deglazing pans when making cream sauces for steak, pork fillet and veal cutlets.
2. Red Wine Vinegar
As its name implies, red wine vinegar is made from red wine. Yeast turns the sugars to alcohol, then specially brewed bacteria turns the alcohol into acetic acid in a process called acetic fermentation. Packing a robust, fruity flavour, the vinegar can be used in most culinary applications, including meat stews, casseroles and vinaigrettes with a fruity punch.
3. Malt Vinegar
Malty grain vinegar is produced from maltbased alcohol, aged in a barrel or an acetator. The result is strong, sour vinegar with a hint of caramel. This light brown vinegar is often served with fish and chips, beets and other vegetables, and can be used for pickling and in chutneys, stews and sauces.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Made from the acetic fermentation of apple juice, this vinegar tastes strongly of apples. Fresh and fragrant, it can be used as an alternative to wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Apple cider vinegar is also suited for use in salads and sauces.
5. Coconut Vinegar
Touted as a health food, coconut vinegar is made from fermented coconut water or sap. It has a low acidity and is enticingly sweet compared with other vinegars. Popular in South Asian cuisines, the vinegar is best used in dipping sauces and marinades. Its sweetness is similar to apple cider vinegar’s and it can be used as an alternative.
6. Balsamic Vinegar
Dark almost syrup-like balsamic vinegar is famous for the depth and complexity of its flavour, attributed to its rigorous ageing process. Marked with a DOP status, balsamic vinegar is produced only in Reggio Emilia and Modena, Italy. Grapes are reduced and aged for 12 years in barrels made from different types of wood, which impart depth and complexity into the vinegar. Sweet and syrupy, it’s best used to add depth to savoury dishes or drizzled over aged Parmesan cheese, ice cream and fruit desserts.
7. Japanese Brown Rice vinegar
Known to some as Kyushu’s liquid treasure, this nutritious vinegar is commonly used as a medicinal tonic. Slowly matured using traditional century-old methods of fermentation, this rare vinegar is made from 100 per cent brown rice, brewed into sake before being fermented in earthernware crocks underground, resulting in a fullbodied yet gentle flavour. It can also be used in dressings, tsukemono (pickles) and marinades for a gentle contrast of flavours.
8. Black Rice Vinegar
Particularly popular in Mainland China, this vinegar is made from black glutinous rice and grains such as wheat and millet. It has a deep colour and a smoky flavour, which pairs perfectly with stir-fries, dipping sauces or as a condiment.
9. Sake Red Vinegar
Pressed from fermented sake lees produced during the sake brewing process, sake red vinegar or akazu gets its characteristic colour from a reaction between yeast and kôji, the fermentation culture in many Japanese seasonings and sauces. Favoured by sushi masters for its deep umami taste, this aged vinegar is typically used in its purest form, bringing a naturally balanced yet distinctive flavour to rice.
10. Red Rice Vinegar
Made from red yeast rice, a type of fermented rice, this vinegar has a distinctive red colour caused by the mould that also influences its flavour, which is at once sweet and tart. This combination of sweetness and tartness works well with seafood dishes and as a dipping sauce.
11. White Rice Vinegar
Less acidic than distilled vinegar, this rice vinegar varies in colour from clear to pale yellow. Japanese varieties tend to be more delicate with one version, seasoned with sugar or MSG, used to make sushi rice. Chinese varieties have a sharper flavour.
From left: Spiral food organic white wine vinegar $49/250ml and Eden red wine vinegar $20/473ml, both from City’super
From left: Aspall golden malt vinegar $17/250ml and Bragg organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar $39/473 ml, both from City’super
From left: Fattorie Giacobazzi organic balsamic vinegar of Modena $57/250ml, Mizkan pure brown rice vinegar $56/500ml and Pat Chun black rice vinegar sauce $27/600ml, all from City’super
From left: Yokoi Jozo $32/150ml, Pat Chun red vinegar $23/300ml and Yuan’s rice vinegar $32/200ml, all from City’super