Homemade champagne vinegar

Homemade champagne vinegar
Homemade champagne vinegar – raw and unfiltered in a stoppered bottle. If you prefer your vinegar clearer, you can pour it through a coffee filter.

DIY vinegar

After our wedding in 2009, we had a few bottles of bubbly left over. Some were enjoyed. Some were forgotten.

The forgotten ones weren’t stored properly, so the wine wasn’t exactly the most appetizing to drink. Then it hit me: wine vinegar costs a ridiculous amount of money. I have 3 bottles of champagne… so why not make my own homemade champagne vinegar?

DIY vinegar is about as easy as it gets—and you save heaps of money over the over-priced wine vinegars in the grocery store. (Bonus: Vinegars such as apple cider vinegar also have various health benefits.) Here’s how to make your own DIY vinegar:

Making homemade vinegar

Making vinegar is pretty simple. You need…

  • An alcoholic beverage (such as beer, champagne or wine)
  • A large glass or ceramic container (such as a pickling crock or quart mason jar), that can be covered with a breathable barrier (such as cheesecloth)
  • A “vinegar mother” (we’ll get to that)

The majority of vinegar-making is waiting. Vinegar is made by the bacteria Acetobacter, which eats alcohol and turns it into acetic acid, or vinegar. The process can take 2-6 months.

Put the booze in the container, and add the mother. Speaking of…

Getting vinegar mother

A “vinegar mother” is the term commonly used to describe a mass of Acetobacter. “A weird blob” is another commonly used phrase, as vinegar mother often has a weird, floppy-blobby-slimy look to it. Not always, but often.

Here’s how to get vinegar mother:

  • Buy a bottle of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar (this is what I did). Available at many health/natural food stores and supermarkets, Bragg ACV is raw, unfiltered and unpasteurized, so it contains the mother (typical store-bought vinegars are pasteurized, so the Acetobacter has all been killed).
  • Buy vinegar mother online. Leeners and The Cellar Homebrew are 2 online sources for purchasing vinegar mother and other supplies.
  • Ask a vinegar-maker. If you know someone or know someone who knows someone who makes vinegar, ask them if you can have some of their vinegar mother.

Cover the container so there’s airflow, but insects or dust won’t get in.

Wait. Check the vinegar occasionally and a give a taste. You’ll know when it tastes like vinegar.

Once the vinegar is ready, you have some options. You can filter the vinegar to remove the mother and clarify it (so far, I haven’t bothered with this step). You can also pasteurize the vinegar if you want. Regardless, vinegar is shelf-stable as-is and will keep a long, long time.

Uses

We’re using our pale-orange champagne vinegar in salad dressings and as dips for bread. The flavor is bright and fun, and we’ll be making more homemade vinegar for ourselves and as gifts.

A quick note on canning: we won’t be using this vinegar for canning, unless we can verify its acidity.

More info on homemade vinegar

9 thoughts on “Homemade champagne vinegar”

  1. I love this! Totally want to try it – maybe make some to dip my sourdough bread in, now that I have a good starter in the fridge. I’ll taste it when we come for dinner next week, yes? I love micro organisms.

    Reply
  2. Hey Anthony, What are the proportions of champagne to vinegar? I always have a big bottle of Bragg’s in the kitchen. Do you use it all?
    Thanks,
    Marianne

    Reply
  3. The mix that’s been working best for us is 1/2 c. ACV to 750 ml wine. From there, the main thing is time and temperature. The cooler the area where the mixture is stored, the longer it will take to make the vinegar, but it should get there. Also be sure to cover the top of the container with cheesecloth, so things can’t get in but there’s still airflow, as the bacteria need oxygen to make the vinegar magic happen.

    Reply
  4. I tried to make champagne vinegar at home with poor results. The recipe I had said to put the champagne in a wide mouth with a piece of plastic wrap on top. Poke holes in the wrap and let sit for 6 weeks, however 3 weeks in there was what looked like mold on the top. I through it all out. Help so I can start again.

    Reply
  5. Sorry that batch didn’t work out, but it’s definitely worth another try. I’d recommend using a piece or cheesecloth over the top instead of plastic. That should do a better job of keeping out bugs while maintaining airflow.

    Mold on top isn’t necessarily a big deal. If you spot mold, first just scoop it off with a spoon and throw it out. Now, if this seems more like a slimy mass, that’s going to be the acetobacter mass—that vinegar-making bacteria at work.

    Do try again, and I hope it works better this time! Please let me know if you have other questions.

    Reply

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