When it comes to the gut, research is clear: The more diverse your microbiome is, the better. While we all love kombucha, it’s important to mix it up, both for your palate and your gut health. This is where drinking vinegar comes in.
Say what? Drinking vinegar is the new guy in the gut health game, and it tastes a whole lot better than it sounds. Also called a shrub, drinking vinegars have actually been consumed for their healthy properties and delicious flavors since before colonial times. They take the gut-healing powers of apple cider vinegar to the next level by fermenting it with spices, herbs, and fruits for a decidedly modern feeling old-world elixir.
Why is apple cider vinegar so good for you?
How much time do you have? Apple cider vinegar is a fermented by-product of apple juice and is considered a prebiotic and a probiotic in one, meaning it provides not only the great bacteria your gut needs but the food for them to thrive as well. The acid in apple cider vinegar binds to the toxins in our bodies, helping the liver to eliminate them. It also helps boost immunity and energy and reduces heartburn (phew!). And that's just the start.
Want to make your own drinking vinegar? Here's how.
You don't really need a recipe to make drinking vinegar, but you do want to remember the magic ratio of 1:1:1—1 cup of fruit to 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of vinegar. Just put your berries in a bowl, add whatever spices you'd like, and cover with sugar. Refrigerate and let sit for five to six hours, then press the berries with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Strain out solids and discard, reserving the liquid. Whisk the vinegar into the berry/sugar mixture and pour into a clean bottle or jar. Screw on an airtight lid and store in the refrigerator. The shrub should be ready to drink in about a week, at which point you can mix it with water or sparkling water to taste.
Don't want to wait a week? We feel you. Here's what to look for in store-bought drinking vinegar.
You always want to make sure your drinking vinegar is cold-pressed, so the probiotics in the apple cider vinegar remain intact. For ideal health benefits, you'll want about 1 ounce of vinegar, and of course, it's always good to look for brands that are organic and GMO-free (especially if they're flavored with berries, a highly sprayed crop).
Our favorite store-bought brand is Suja Drinking Vinegar because it kicks the traditional shrub up a notch with the inclusion of additional probiotics, using a special blend that makes it all the way through your digestive tract into your gut more effectively, where it can go to work. And did we mention each bottle contains no more than 7 grams of sugar?
They come in a number of flavors, which balance the acidic taste of the vinegar and add additional health benefits: Ginger Turmeric, Lemongrass Lime, Grapefruit Jalapeño, Blueberry Lemon, Cucumber Ginger, Strawberry Balsamic, Lemon Cayenne, Peach Ginger, and Hibiscus Ancho Chile (the Lemon Cayenne is a great morning pick-me-up, and the Blueberry Lemon crushes dessert cravings!).