An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but does the same apply for apple-cider vinegar—if you're drinking it? We've recently become obsessed with Bragg apple cider vinegar drinks. Here, a little more about these (slightly weird, but oddly tasty) sweet-sour beverages.
Drinking vinegar is pretty common in other places around the world, but in the U.S. it's likely to earn you a befuddled glance—unless you're in Santa Barbara, CA, where the hippie-dippy Bragg Health Products is based (or in Portland, OR, where Pok Pok has been pushing its own line of Asian-style sipping vinegars).
Makers of "live food" products like liquid aminos and nutritional yeast, Bragg is like the Dr. Bronner's of food, dispensing folksy wisdom with every splash, sip, and swig of their health-conscious organic vinegars, drinks, olive oils, and dressings. (The company motto is "You are what you eat, drink, breathe, think, say and do," which roughly translates to, "You are what you are.")
Supposedly a digestive aid and a toxin-leech, apple-cider vinegar is also rich in potassium, as well as all the good by-products that come along with fermentation, such as active enzymes. But whether or not you buy into the rhetoric, there's no denying that Bragg's line of apple-cider vinegar drinks are weirdly delicious. (Also, mention habit-forming: I can't help but chug one as soon as I get my paws on it.)
Five lightly-sweetened flavors are available: One is just honey-tinged, while the rest (Ginger Spice, Apple-Cinnamon, Concord Grape–Açai, Limeade, and one ostensibly "plain" version) contain stevia, which doesn't overpower the pleasingly pungent sourness of the vinegar itself. (Critics of the natural sweetener complain about an aftertaste, but I don't find it very noticeable here.)
Ginger Spice is a standout—the playful burn and gentle fizz make it a refreshing ginger-beer alternative (not to mention an awesome complement to gin)—and Limeade packs the awesome one-two punch of acetic and citric sourness that almost kind of pops on the tongue. The Concord-Açai falls a bit flatter with its candy-like grapeyness, and Apple-Cinnamon threatens to be a little heavy and Christmas potpourri–esque, but the honey-sweetened and plain versions are simple, crisp, and refreshing.
Have you tried 'em? What do you think?
Available online at Bragg.com, $2.29 each.
About the author: Erin Meister trains baristas and inspires coffee-driven people for Counter Culture Coffee. She's a confident barista, an audacious eater, and a smiling runner, but she remains a Nervous Cook.