Next time you find yourself the nights designated cocktail maker, grab a bottle of balsamic. Yes, vinegar in drinks isn't just possible, it's delicious, according to Cary Kelly who owns, Ah love Oil + Vinegar.
"I absolutely love to cook. It's my favorite creative outlet," she said. And when she says "creative," she means it. To give an example, Kelly adds olive oil to her oatmeal. "There are so many flavors out there," she said, noting it's also healthier than adding milk and butter. "To me, eating is not a cerebral experience—it’s sensual. We want to eat what's going to give us delight, but it's interesting how many people are intimidated by experimenting with flavor in the kitchen." She says her customers regularly balk at being told blood orange olive oil even exists.
Even more daunting, she says are balsamic vinegars. "If you only know balsamic from a grocery store, then you've probably never tasted the real thing. It shouldn't be so acidic." True balsamic should taste more like super intense grape juice, with a hint of natural sweetness. And just like olive oil, these come in a range of flavors and can be used in the most unlikely of places, including (and here's what we've all been waiting for) DRANKS. Without further ado, here are three of Ms. Kelly's best recipes, the non-alcoholic ingredients of which can be picked up at either of her store's locations (4017 Campbell Ave., Arlington, Va + 2910 District Ave., Fairfax, Va.). What better gift to give than a hand-written recipe card you draw yourself and all the ingredients necessary to make the perfect holiday cocktail? You are welcome.
Dark Chocolate Balsamic Martini
Tools and ingredients necessary include two martini glasses, a cocktail shaker, a good vodka, dark chocolate balsamic vinegar and lavender sugar to rim the glass.
• Rim two chilled martini glasses with lavender sugar
• Chill approximately 3 ounces of vodka in the cocktail shaker
• Add 1 tablespoon of dark chocolate balsamic vinegar
• Shake all ingredients and strain into glasses
Cranberry Balsamic Royale
Tools and ingredients necessary include a champagne flute, prosecco, cranberry balsamic vinegar, sugar coated cranberries for garnish.
• Pour prosecco in champagne flute
• Drizzle in about 1 teaspoon of cranberry balsamic to taste
• Float a few sugar-coated cranberries in glass for garnish
Balsamic Vodka Soda
Tools and ingredients necessary include a highball glass, a cocktail shaker, great vodka, soda water, honey ginger white balsamic and fresh mint.
• Fill highball glass with ice
• Add 1.5 ounces of vodka and soda water (amount depends on how strong you like your libations) to cocktail shaker
• Add about 2 teaspoons of honey ginger white balsamic to taste and shake
• Pour into glass and garnish with fresh mint