Sherry, balsamic, red wine, apple cider–chances are you’ve got at least one of these vinegar varieties sitting in your pantry cupboard right now! What exactly is vinegar, and why does picking the right one matter? We’re breaking down this cooking staple’s culinary importance and delicious array of styles.
Vinegar, in its most elementary form, is an acidic liquid made from ethanol fermentation. When mixed with sweeter ingredients, however, it transforms into the dinner table accompaniment that’s an essential in Mediterranean countries and other parts of the world. Typically used in dressings, vinaigrettes, and dipping sauces, vinegar as a category is deliciously versatile–not just a partner to olive oil on a bread plate or salad. Let’s take a look at some of the most well-known versions out there:
Balsamic: This classic favorite stands out from other vinegars for a variety of reasons, most notably because of how its made. Unlike the rest of its family, balsamic vinegar is made from fermented grapes aged in sherry casks rather than produced from pure alcohol. Hailing from Italy, this rich, smooth creation is our pick for dishes like Caprese salads or dipping a fresh baguette. At Murray’s, we carry a whole selection of balsamic vinegars, including a traditional one from Modena, the birthplace of balsamic, a classic style, and a fig balsamic variety for a touch of sweetness.
Red Wine: Like balsamic, this vino variety is made from fermented grapes. Traditionally sourced from Nebbiolo grapes and cask-aged, this bright and colorful vinegar emerges with a deep red hue and the fruity essence of a classic Barolo wine. Tart and acidic, red wine vinegar is most often used on salads, but those tangy qualities also make it an ideal accompaniment to summer fruits.
Sherry: This Spanish delight is richer and nuttier than its vinegar counterparts, with notes of almonds and caramel from the addition of Spanish sherry, a fortified wine similar to port. Smoother and less acidic than other varieties, this savory dressing boasts a bright, smoky booziness an herbal finish, making it great for glazes or marinades, especially for hearty dishes like roasted vegetables or steak.
Apple Cider: You’ve probably heard this one talked about recently. Apple cider vinegar has become one of the latest trends in health and wellness, as it’s said to reduce inflammation and boost immune and digestive systems, but it also remains a tasty cooking staple. So whether you’re stocking up for your morning detox juice or prepping a fresh salad, this tart and and clean vinegar is a real picker-upper for any occasion. Our version is barrel-aged, giving it a fresh flavor of white Italian apples and a hint of oak.
Want to explore deeper into the world of vinegar? Check out our extensive line of vinegars, olive oils, and more!