Store-bought vinegars are great, but infusing your own offers the double benefit of creating interesting flavor combinations as well as making something lasting and useful out of assorted leafy scraps that might otherwise go in the trash. Start with a quality white wine vinegar or white distilled vinegar, which absorb flavor well. Warm the base vinegar and add whatever herbs or stems or curious spices you've got on hand.
Bottle it up and wait a week before using so that the flavors have time to meld and become pronounced. Be creative and use what you've got at home. We love this slightly smoky combination of burnt cinnamon, orange peel and rosemary.
Vinegar with Burnt Cinnamon, Orange and Rosemary
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes, plus infusing time
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes, plus infusing time
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups white wine vinegar
1 2-inch strip orange peel
1 sprig rosemary
1. Holding it with tongs, lightly char the entire outside of the cinnamon stick over a gas burner.
2. In a small pot, warm the vinegar over medium heat, 5 minutes. Combine the warm vinegar, orange peel, rosemary and charred cinnamon stick in a plastic storage container. Seal and let the mixture sit at room temperature for 1 week before using. Mix a spoonful with honey and drizzle over desserts for a sweet, smoky finish with just the right amount of acidity.