Andy Ricker keeps busy: His heralded restaurants, Pok Pok, Ping, Whiskey Soda Lounge and the brand-new Pok Pok Noi, have jolted Portland, Oregon, with delicious Thai and pan-Asian dishes.
The best pairing for Ricker's sticky, spicy food is Som, a collection of tart, tonic-like drinking vinegars that he makes in-house.
Based on the vinegars of the same name that line the shelves of Asian grocery stores, Ricker macerates fruits such as pineapple in the same fashion as a shrub, using organic cane sugar and coconut vinegar to concentrate the fruits' flavors.
Starting this week, the four most popular flavors (tamarind, honey, apple and pomegranate) are available in 16-ounce apothecary-style bottles ($13) online. Other flavors, including lychee, are already in the works.
They couldn't be simpler to use. For an ideal drink to enjoy at an early spring cookout, combine one part vinegar with four parts soda water. We also love Som in classic cocktails such as a gin rickey (click here to download the recipe) or as an sparkling alternative to a digestif.
You may catch more flies with honey, but we'll take this vinegar any day of the week.