vinegars for vinaigrettes

Joined Jul 3, 2002
We make a pretty standard shallot vinaigrette I love using red wine vinegar and balsamic. But it's getting a little too familiar, so I'd like to try out some others.
I just came across a recipe that uses cider vinegar and, after some hunting, discovered that I have some but don't remember why or what it added.
So my question is which vinegars do you use for your vinaigrettes and why?
Joined Jul 31, 2000

Try a fine Sherry vinegar for a change of pace.

I tend to use wine based vinegars in cooking.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
A multitutde...Sherry for beet salad and a few others, apple cider for potato or a slaw, rice viniager for a soft oriental salad, Red wine for basic robust, tarragon for French ones with fingerling potatoes and mustard or orange juice....Fruit viniagers for light summer salads malt for fish slaad, this does not even touch the oil combos....nut, olive (which I have to have a doz in the kitchen especially after the Ca. trip), Grapeseed, vegetable, etc....I like adding a mustard and honey to give it a zing...This is one of my favorite classes to teach kids...
Joined May 26, 2001
Each summer, I put up my own herb vinegars -- just stick a bunch of sprigs in a bottle and fill it with white wine vinegar. Right now, I have tarragon, lemon thyme, basil, and rosemary. Plus bought red wine, white wine, sherry, Chinese black vinegar, and rice wine vinegar. Oh, yeah, and balsamic. :D

We have a green salad just about every night -- usually just olive oil and vinegar -- so I really need to vary the vinegar. Which one I use depends on what the predominant flavors in the rest of the meal are. Sometimes I'll use a complementary herb, sometimes a sweeter vinegar to offset an especially spicy dish; you get the idea. It's lots of fun to just try combinations.


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
To echo everyone else, it all depends on the vinaigrette I am making. About the only vinegar I do not use in cooking is distilled "white" vinegar. CC's suggestion of using a Sherry vinegar is great. Sherry vinegar is probably my favorite vinegar. For another twist also on the traditional Shallot vinaigrette, try slow-roasting your shallots. Paired with a nice Sherry vinegar, it creates a great wintertime vinaigrette for salads, or even better yet tossed warm with sliced warm potatoes and slices of cured sausage.
Joined Jul 18, 2000
if your interested in buying the stuff for playing around, this is the best brand of mustards, vinegars, et al, i've ever used.

serious stuff, and im sure some of the CT crew have used them at one time or another:

Good stuff

Joined Jul 16, 2003
Try this vinaigrette from my website for something a little different

¼ cup soya bean oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon plain salt
½ a small minced red onion
½ a tablespoon minced ginger root
½ tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced coriander stalk (cilantro)
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the above ingredients until just combined. This can be prepared a long time in advance and should have no problem lasting in the fridge for up to a month.

I like to make my own vinegars out of slightly unusual things like the beetroot. After removing cooked beetroot from water, reduce down with some white vinegar and salt, it’s a good looker. What about plum vinegar? After poaching plums in a sugar poaching liquor, remove plums and reduce down with white vinegar and you have an instant dressing with a fantastic colour and sweet/sour flavour.

I never use olive oil unless with full on flavours like balsamic vinegar or lemon juice as the olive oil flavour can be too overpowering.
Joined May 16, 2003
As others have pointed out, it depends on the dish but personally I love Champagne vinegar.
Joined Jul 3, 2002
Thanks for the recipes, folks! I definitely will go out and get a better brand of sherry vinegar (we have something in the back shelf, but I doubt it's very good).
Nick, where do you get your Vilux? The website doesn't seem to offer on-line orders. Our local Gelson's has Vilux red wine vinegar, but none of the other products and they do look great.
Joined Jul 16, 2003
Also devine is a quality imported from europe chardonnay vinegar. Extremly aromatic, I have never tried a vinegar better than this.
Joined Jul 18, 2000
sorry for the delay in replying phoebe. foodservice suppliers over here are fairly good in supplying a reasonably good range of products. if your trying to source an extended range of products for vilux/georges guihot, then perhaps you could contact the US distributer for the names of the suppliers with the full product range.

tis good stuff.
Joined Dec 30, 1999
Another vote for rice wine vinegar here, has a subtle sweetness and a very low acidity, good for cutting the harshness of other vinegars.

Also, why not try chive infused oil, basil infused oil, etc. Puree the fresh herb(s) with a bit of oil, strain, add more oil. The color is absolutely gorgeous and the flavor is spring fresh!

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