This recipe for red wine vinegar turns ordinary vinegar into a tasty gift.
I’d read about the months’ long process that requires an earthenware crock and a live starter called a “mother.” And I’d heard that a good mother is often handed down from a friend or relative like a treasured heirloom.
Vinegar is the result of the chemical reaction between the mother bacteria and the wine.
For those without a mother, the bacteria culture can be found at stores selling wine making supplies.
I didn’t want to wait the 2-3 months of time needed for a slow fermentation process. I had to find a faster way to create vin aigre (sour wine). The quickest option was to add red wine to white vinegar, but that wasn’t my style.
Then I heard about a process that took only weeks instead of months and used unpasteurized cider vinegar in place of the starter bacteria.
I wasn’t sure what wine to use until I read to simply select the same kind of medium or full-bodied wine I like to drink. Merlot, Shiraz or Chianti are good medium-bodied choices; Cabernet a full-bodied selection.
I settled on an inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz blend from California because I like its bright fruit flavors and thought it would make a delicious vinaigrette for a fresh green salad.
How to Make Homemade Red Wine Vinegar
To make this recipe add one part unpasteurized vinegar and two parts red wine to a large glass jar. For my batch of red wine vinegar, I mixed one cup Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with two cups Cabernet-Shiraz red wine.
I covered the jar with a piece of cheesecloth and secured it with a rubber band to hold the cloth in place. The jar was left in a warm spot for several weeks and I stirred occasionally during that time.
Then I added enough red wine to the jar, so that it doubled in volume, re-covered with the cheesecloth and let sit for another 3 weeks. This yielded 4 cups of red wine vinegar.
For gift giving, pour the vinegar through a strainer into gift bottles and seal. To make the gift complete, add a bow, and recipe for a garden-fresh vinaigrette.