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Sweet-tart vinegar drinks


Sweet-tart fruity sips have old roots. Shrubs were drinks made with summer harvests in Colonial times. Modern drinking vinegars are part of a line from Andy Ricker, who launched Pok Pok Som brand in his Pok Pok Thai restaurants in Portland, Ore. (his establishments also have locations in New York and Los Angeles). The James Beard award-winning chef, who introduced the drinks four years ago, offers flavors such as ginger (the best seller), tamarind, turmeric, Chinese celery, Thai basil, and more. "We realized you could use just about anything," says Ricker. The sweet-tart vinegars can be blended with soda water (in a ratio of 4 parts soda to 1 part vinegar) and served on the rocks, or mixed into a cocktail. The restaurateur likes the natural pairing of Thai basil vinegar with a splash of botanical gin. You can also use the drinks to drizzle over grilled vegetables and fruits. Though some claim health benefits from drinking vinegar, the health aspect was not part of the chef's plan. "We just want to make something delicious," he says. Available at Salt & Olive, 1160 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 857-242-4118; Roots Natural Foods, 100 Crawford St., Leominster, 978-534-7668; or go to shop.pokpoksom.com CRISTIN NELSON