Maple Syrup Vinegar Soda

 Maple Syrup Drinking Vinegar Soda

A few years ago, during an amazing trip to Portland, Oregon, my friend Allison took me to dinner at Pok Pok, a local favorite that serves up authentic Southeast Asian fare. The food was certainly praiseworthy, but what captivated me most was their Som, or drinking vinegars. I’d never heard of “drinking vinegars” before, so of course I had to give them a try.

They’re basically lightly sweetened, fruit-flavored vinegars mixed with soda water. Options that night included tamarind, pomegranate, honey, and apple. (Yes, I know honey is not a fruit.)

The sweet-tart-fizzy drinks were — no surprise — quite delicious.

These drinking vinegars could be considered a variation on the Shrub, a beverage which uses fruit-infused vinegar as its foundation —  either as a sparkling, non-alcoholic beverage, or as the central focus of a creative cocktail.

In the same family you may find the Switchel, though those usually contain ginger as well.

I don’t know the exact recipe from Pok Pok, of course, but that visit inspired me to create my own. However, unlike a typical infusion, my shortcut recipe has the very important benefit of not requiring any pre-planning, or, for that matter, really any skill required, other than mixing a few liquids together in a glass.

This sweet-sour, cream-soda-esque beverage is uniquely refreshing, particularly on hot summer days. I encourage you to have some fun with it and adjust the proportions to your preference. And if this whole vinegar-soda-thing sparks your interest, you might want to peruse the drinking vinegars roundup on Punk Domestics.

The following recipe does have a fair amount of sugar (about half as much as a can of Coke or Pepsi), so this is best kept as a once-in-awhile treat. Enjoy!

 Maple Syrup Drinking Vinegar Soda

Maple Syrup Vinegar Soda
Recipe Type: Beverage
Cook Time: 
Total Time: 
Serves/Yield: 1
This simple, vinegared soda is inspired by the drinking vinegars at Pok Pok PDX. Adjust any of the ingredients to suit your preference.
  • 1½ tablespoons maple syrup (I prefer Grade B for stronger flavor)
  • 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • Approx. 10 ounces cold sparkling water (We use a Sodastream and filtered tap water)
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  1. In a pint glass, mix together the maple syrup, vinegar, and extracts.
  2. Fill glass to about 2" beneath the rim with soda water. Stir once gently to combine; being careful not lose too much fizz.
  3. Add a few ice cubes to fill remainder of glass. (If you add the ice cubes and then top off with soda water, it may get a bit foamy.)
  4. Enjoy!

Photos by Kelly Jaggers for Eating Rules.

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8 Comments on "Maple Syrup Vinegar Soda"

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July 6, 2015 11:35 am

I love the sound of this. Apple Cider vinegar is so healthy.

July 6, 2015 3:22 pm

Hi Andrew! Yes, I have heard of them, in fact last year. I have not tried them with maple syrup. I’ve done it in particular with these special vinegars I ship from a store in Fort Collins, CO, called Crescendo. They carry these totally incredible vinegars made in Germany, from blueberries, raspberries, Calamansi (a Philippine citrus that smells like 7-UP) and other fruits. The store owners were the ones who turned me on to using them, with sparkling soda water or mineral water. Very refreshing and different. Healthy to! The vinegars are pricey as they are specially made, but i can’t live without them. Bet you would enjoy them too!

July 6, 2015 3:52 pm

Isn’t this similar to twilsey? Only twilsey might not have the soda. . .

Dorothy Reinhold
July 6, 2015 5:43 pm

Grade B, all the way! This sounds so refreshing. I am all over it!

July 7, 2015 4:58 pm

I just made this drink – it’s great! I’ve developed gallbladder stones in the past year and am trying to avoid surgery by natural ways so when the pain starts I drink apple cider vinegar with “mother” mixed with a bit of water and the pain goes away. This tastes SO much better!!! Thank you!!! I live in CO so I’ll be checking out the vinegar store in Ft. Collins – thanks to the prior post. 🙂

July 8, 2015 2:48 pm

I used to live down the road from Pok Pok! I forgot about their drinking vinegars. Thanks for developing an easy recipe. Can’t wait to try this.

Greg Henry
July 9, 2015 7:06 pm

I’ve been experimenting quite a bit with drinking vinegars and will certainly give this one a try. Pineapple is a good one and believe it or not so is beet. GREG

August 5, 2015 1:08 am

I love including apple cider vinegar in my diet plan and this is an interesting beverage recipe. I will try this soon. Thanks!