Pok Pok is a really fun, hip, highly written about restaurant in Portland. It’s Thai food, and it’s spicy, and they have some of the best chicken wings on earth. They recently expanded to New York (see, I told you they were cool) and they keep expanding.
One of the things they sell are Som drinking vinegar, which sound a little odd, but are actually quite delicious. Think jam + vinegar + seltzer + ice + lime = a very delicious non-alcoholic beverage.
I recently decided that it was important to temper my alcohol consumption, and stop drinking alone. The fact that I live alone, combined with my frugality have combined recently to make me drink more than I’m really comfortable with. See, my preference is wine, so I’ll open a bottle. Then, the next day, even if I don’t want any, I’ll finish the bottle because otherwise it won’t really be good. So I find myself drinking nearly every day, which I don’t really want or need to be doing. And I realized that I really just wanted to have a glass of something in the evenings, because of ritual or habit, not because I wanted to be drinking alcohol necessarily.
Sometimes I worry about my habits — especially when they border on addictive behavior.
Enter drinking vinegar. They taste like soda, but with a little something extra that makes me think I’m drinking a cocktail.
I love them. I have already made three kinds of drinking vinegar, and stocked up on seltzer, and have been more than happy to go to bed sober.
So, here’s the general idea:
2 cups of fruit
1 cup of sugar (or enough to cover)
Let that combo sit until the fruit is macerated (best food word, ever. second best? masticate) or if you are in a rush, heat this combo up until the sugar dissolves.
Then add about a cup of vinegar. The internet says you can use any kind, but in my experience, white vinegar is just fine. Maybe next time I’ll try apple cider vinegar, but then again? Maybe not.
Put this mix in a bowl, and let the flavors meld. You don’t want salad dressing, you want a drinking vinegar. Strain. Put the strained part into a fun container. Then throw that in the fridge.
So far, I’ve made three kinds: marionberry-balsamic, pink lady apple, and strawberry. I didn’t like the way the balsamic tasted — it’s really reminiscent of salad dressing (hmm maybe I should add olive oil!) but I loved both the pink lady apple and the strawberry. I poured a bit into a pint glass, added ice, and covered with seltzer.
It’s a mocktail that doesn’t say “I’m so sorry you’re not drinking alcohol” in the same way that a Shirley Temple would. It says, “this is not a substitute for alcohol.” It stands alone, and is perfectly unique.