Appetizers

Flavored vinegars are refreshing and beneficial

Pok Pok Som drinking vinegar makes a tasty potion when mixed with water.
Pok Pok Som drinking vinegar makes a tasty potion when mixed with water. apierleoni@sacbee.com

It may seem counter intuitive, but there’s a trending vinegar-based drink that’s both healthful and darn tasty, too.

Pok Pok Som is “full-strength drinking vinegar” in nine flavors that come in 18-ounce bottles from the Portland-based Naam Som company ($13). The directions say, “Dilute one part Som with four parts or water (still or sparkling).” That’s about as simple as the ingredients list. For instance, the pomegranate flavor contains “natural cane vinegar, cane sugar, pomegranate concentrate, pomegranate molasses, citric acid, sea salt and acetic acid.”

First, the healthful part: Vinegar has long been touted as a folk remedy for a number of maladies, and, in some quarters, as a curative for certain serious diseases, though that’s highly questionable. Remember when garlic was “discovered” as a cure-all? Research on vinegar is ongoing, but medical science does conclude that it’s generally a healthful tonic.

As for the taste part, we assembled four flavors (ginger, Thai basil, tamarind and turmeric), diluted them with ice-cold Ferrarelle sparkling water and put them to the taste test. Flavors were sweet-tart, sharp and clean, and the drinks were impressively refreshing. Plus, we felt good about drinking something beneficial to our health.

Other flavors are pomegranate, pineapple, honey, Chinese celery and apple. For a trio of cocktail recipes, click here.

Get them at Elliott’s Natural Foods, Sunrise Natural Foods and New Earth Market.

Allen Pierleoni: 916-321-1128, @apierleonisacbe

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