Full credit for this idea goes to one of my awesome readers, Krista from Kansas. On my Whole30 tip #4 about how to handle social drinking, she wrote, “I love Club Soda with lime, but I’ve also recently discovered that flavored Balsamic Vinegars mixed with sparkling water is the shizz.” I love this woman already, and this mocktail* is dedicated to her.
The concept is simple: sparkling water plus a splash (or a bit more) of flavor-infused balsamic vinegar plus ice and a fruit garnish. Tangy with a hint of sweetness! The flavored balsamics are generally not as harsh as what you’d pour over a salad and are infused with different layers of flavor. Read below for my combinations.
- 4 large ice cubes
- 1 oz flavor-infused balsamic vinegar
- 4 oz sparkling water
- Herbs or fruit to garnish
- Place 4 ice cubes in the glass.
- Pour the vinegar in the bottom of the glass.
- Slowly pour the sparkling water on top. If you do this carefully enough, you’ll be able to create a vinegar layer at the bottom and the sparkling water in a layer above (because the vinegar’s more dense…SCIENCE). This makes the flavor more intense as you keep sipping. Or, just stir it all up!
- Garnish with your choice of fresh fruit or herbs.
- You can experiment with different amounts of vinegar. 4 parts sparkling water : 1 part vinegar was where my tastebuds were happy, but you may want more or less.
My flavor combinations were orange-vanilla white balsamic with fresh blackberries and a slice of orange for garnish and lemongrass-mint white balsamic with muddled mint and a garnish of lemongrass leaf (not edible). Krista also tells me that lemon balsamic with a bit of lemon olive oil floated on top is amazing.
The flavor-infused vinegars can be found online (the good people at The Tasteful Olive got me my order FAST) or at some gourmet food stores. Yes, they can be a bit pricey BUT think of these as special occasion drinks, and maybe the splurge is worth it. If not, you could play around with plain sparkling water and different fruits / garnishes or even freezing fruits and herbs like mint into ice cubes.
*I know we always talk about not trying to Paleo-ify bad food choices – like eating Paleo pancakes and cookies on your Whole30 and perhaps the same argument could be made against the mocktail. However. Many folks are reluctant to start a Whole30 because there’s a ___________ coming up this month (fill in the blank…birthday, anniversary, holiday, wedding…). Choosing something like this would give you a sparkling to hold and sip on and mingle with so you can feel like you’re part of the celebration with your fancy beverage.