Does Champagne Vinaigrette Contain Any Alcohol?

Functional and flavorful, vinegar is a building block in so many recipes, namely the humble vinaigrette. Despite the fact that there are a number of vinegars available to craft the dressing, champagne vinegar remains a French favorite to dress salads, warm potatoes, mignonettes, and marinades. But, given its namesake, does champagne vinaigrette contain any alcohol like its boozy and bubbly relative?

Vinaigrette is basically an emulsion created by whisking three parts oil with one part vinegar, usually alongside mustard, salt, and aromatics (via The New Yorker). That said, there's room to elevate the dressing by adding honey, crème fraîche, tahini, or even citrus zest. When it comes to champagne vinaigrette, the recipe usually includes oil, champagne vinegar, and Dijon mustard, but shallots, honey, and a splash of lemon aren't unusual to find either.

To understand whether champagne vinaigrette contains any alcohol, we first have to look at its base ingredient: champagne vinegar. Less mouth-puckeringly tart than white vinegar, it has a mild and sweet profile with mineral notes and a light lemon flavor. Learning how this vinegar is made can shed light on whether or not the French vinaigrette is alcoholic.

It contains trace amounts of alcohol

Champagne vinaigrette doesn't contain any Champagne. However, it does include champagne vinegar, which is made from the same grapes (usually chardonnay and pinot noir) that are used to produce the sparkling French wine, notes MasterClass. Brightland explains that vinegar is exposed to oxygen during fermentation, which triggers acetobacter bacteria to convert ethanol (alcohol) into acetic acid, resulting in sour vinegar.

Since champagne vinegar undergoes a fermentation process like wine, it inevitably has some degree of alcohol. But, according to Wine Spectator, vinegar isn't considered an alcoholic product because it contains just trace amounts (between 0.5 and 2% ABV), which won't have any intoxicating effect.

If you're trying to avoid alcohol completely, it's best to avoid vinegar — champagne or otherwise — entirely. Instead, UpGood recommends choosing a naturally acidic ingredient like lemons or limes, or even fruit juices. Just remember that these options will produce a slightly different flavor in a recipe like a vinaigrette.