Balsamic Vinegar as a Cocktail Ingredient

After I read a piece about vinegar in cocktails from The Paupered Chef, I thought back on a great cocktail I had at a pizza place in the Lower East Side. Called the Bufala Negra, it was one of the first things I wrote about when I started this blog over the summer: Maker’s Mark bourbon, 25-year-old balsamic vinegar, basil and ginger ale. It’s dark and delicious, without being sour or vinegary. I always meant to experiment with balsamic vinegar, but I was concerned that I’d have to buy an expensive bottle.

But when I read The Paupered Chef‘s simple formula, I was inspired.

2 ounces gin
1 ounce juice or strong tea
2 teaspoons thick sweetener, such as honey, mollasses, or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vinegar, such as sherry, apple cider, balsamic, etc.

I had been trying to come up with a Thanksgiving cocktail, something with pure, unsweetened cranberry juice, but I wasn’t having any luck. So why not adapt it to this vinegar formula? Miraculously, what I came up with worked with very little tinkering:

2 oz. bourbon (I used Jim Beam)
1 oz. pure cranberry juice
1 tsp. agave nectar
.5 tsp. balsamic vinegar

I never would have considered this combination of flavors, but it tastes great. As pictured above, I garnished it with a few fresh craberries on a toothpick. I can’t figure out a name for it yet, and I welcome suggestions. My taster says it still needs something, like bitters, or a bit of cinnamon. I’m not sure, but I’ll keep experimenting.

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