WINE VINEGAR

INGREDIENTS

3 cups wine 1 1/2 cups distilled or spring water 1 jar (1 1/2 cups) of mother of vinegar, which is made up of a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) and raw vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a large jar, crock or small oak barrel. If using a jar or crock, cover the top with muslin cloth and secure with a rubber band. Store in a warm, dark place and leave undisturbed for 30-60 days.

After 30 days, smell and taste your vinegar. It should smell and taste like vinegar and you may see a "mother" SCOBY forming on top. If it smells like nail polish remover, swirl to aerate the vinegar for 2 minutes. Your vinegar is not flawed, it just needs more oxygen to complete the fermentation. If you are using a wooden barrel, let it ferment in the barrel for a minimum of 3-4 months so the oak can impart a flavor and balance to your homemade vinegar.

Before bottling, reserve some of your vinegar to use as a starter for the next batch (see notes, below). Bottle your finished vinegar in dark bottles or a ceramic vessel. Vinegar, like fine wine, gets better with time.

NOTES

The basic recipe for vinegar is 2 parts wine, 1 part distilled or spring water and 1 part mother of vinegar. You can continue making vinegar using this ratio, with your reserved mother vinegar as one "part." Adjust the amount of water and wine accordingly.