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What Is Red Wine Vinegar?
As the yin to white wine vinegar’s yang, red wine vinegar is also the product of oxidized wine—in this case, red wine. The most evident difference between them, besides an echo of the tasting notes from their respective wine varietals, is the color: red wine vinegar imparts a subtle pinkish hue to whatever you add it to.
What Are the Health Benefits of Red Wine Vinegar?
Red wine vinegar is a fat-free, low-calorie way to amp up flavor without having to worry about adding body fat, if you're worried about weight loss. It also contains trace amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamin C, making a good case for upping your vinegar intake. Since vinegar goes through a two-step fermentation, it also contains acetic acid and probiotics, which have antiglycemic effects that aid in digestion and blood sugar spikes.
What Are the Culinary Uses for Red Wine Vinegar?
Wine-based vinegars bring a mid-level acidity and subtle sweetness to just about everything.
- Chef Alice Waters prefers red wine vinegar for salads—drizzle it over any kind, whether it's a green salad, pasta salad, or vinegary French potato salad.
- Use it as a garnish for soups and salty-cool gazpacho, and incorporate it into marinades and pickles—like with these red onions from Chef Thomas Keller.
- It’s a terrific way to brighten preparations that are otherwise earthy and savory, like sautéed mushrooms or caramelized onions.
How to Substitute Red Wine Vinegar
You can substitute many different kinds of vinegar for red wine vinegar in a pinch, especially those that are also made from wine, like sherry vinegar, white wine vinegar, or champagne vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has a tart, fruitier flavor profile, but it works well as a sub. Balsamic vinegar may also work, depending on what you’re using it for, though traditional balsamic vinegars may be too rich and overpowering.
In applications where you'd use distilled white vinegar or Asian rice vinegar, you can also use red wine vinegar, such as making pickles.
3 Recipe Ideas Using Red Wine Vinegar
- Red Wine Vinegar-Braised Chicken: Add ¼ cup red wine vinegar to 3 cups cooking liquid (broth or water) for a fall-off-the-bone braised chicken.
- Roasted Root Vegetables: Finish roasted root vegetables, like sweet potatoes, carrots, or beets, with a splash of red wine vinegar.
- Salad Dressing: Make an Italian vinaigrette to dress a summery pasta salad with kalamata olives, feta cheese, and roasted zucchini.
Red Wine Vinegar Salad Dressing Recipe
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, smashed or grated to a paste
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to emulsify. Taste and tweak ratios to suit your preference!
Learn more about stocks and sauces in Chef Thomas Keller’s MasterClass.