White balsamic vinegar gets a bad rap. While often considered the inferior cousin of the more precious, traditional balsamic, this golden vinegar boasts a myriad of uses and a unique flavor widely appreciated by restaurant chefs and in-the-know home cooks. So, what is the stuff? And how do you use it?
It starts out the same way as regular balsamic, with white grape must (the freshly crushed grape juice that contains skins, seeds, and stems). For regular balsamic, the must is simmered until caramelized, then transferred to a series of wooden barrels for many years, which darkens the color and deepens the flavor. For white balsamic, on the other hand, the grape must is blended with white vinegar and cooked under vacuum to preserve the clear color, then aged in oak barrels. The result is a honey-colored, fruity condiment with hints of vanilla, and a subtler taste than the syrupy, traditional balsamic.
Since white balsamic won’t alter the color of dishes like dark balsamic does, it is ideal in salad dressings and marinades. It is delicious with ripe summer tomatoes, along with a drizzle of EVO oil and flaky sea salt. You can also use it to brighten up soup or sauce that’s missing an extra punch, or reduce it to a syrup and drizzle it over ice cream. Mixologists enjoy playing with this tangy, sweet flavor profile in their cocktails and mocktails.
Curious? Check out our selection of white balsamics here, and start experimenting today!