For a quick thirst quencher on a hot day, grab a bottle of fruit vinegar and think lemonade minus the lemons. Start with a tablespoon of vinegar in 8 oz of cold water and sweeten to taste. We love it with seltzer water, too. Play around with superfine granulated sugar, honey, or maple syrup. (You can even add more vinegar if desired.) Honey and cider vinegar is a classic combo. Or skip the fruit vinegar and try malt vinegar with maple syrup. Just don't forget to add the ice.
Mixologists across the country are raiding the kitchen and sneaking back to the bar with all kinds of vinegar. Todd Appel, head bartender at Crimson Lounge, in Chicago, created a drink called the Pennyroyal that includes Muscat vinegar; Scott Beattie of Cyrus, in Healdsburg, California, makes several summer cocktails with balsamic vinegar; Duggan McDonnell of Cantina, in San Francisco, uses Sherry vinegar in his version of a Lemon Drop; and Eric Alperin of The Doheny, a private club in downtown L.A., uses Charbay Cabernet Sauvignon red-wine vinegar in a cocktail called The 1896. Vinegar: It's the new citrus.