Restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila ponders the case of the vexing vinegar spout. Can you help?
This past weekend, I went to Marconda's Meats, the butcher shop in the Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax. On the way back to the car, I took a spin around World Market (which I still can't help calling Cost Plus) and spotted this 6-quart glass beverage dispenser for $14.95. I'd been looking for something bigger than a French liter canning jar to expand my red wine vinegar production.
When I was up in Berkeley, I'd investigated buying a wood vinegar barrel at Oak Barrel Winecraft but the prices were more than I was willing to spend. A 1-gallon American oak barrel, for example, is $135, the 2-gallon $145, while a 6-liter French oak barrel is $170, a 10-liter one $200. But they certainly have everything you'd need for making vinegar, even a vinegar-making kit.
For a vinegar-making primer, see food editor Russ Parsons' 1999 article "Mother, May I?"
The beverage dispenser seemed just the right size and price. Plus, because of the spigot, I could easily remove vinegar without disturbing the precious mother. I transferred my red wine vinegar and mother to the new container and cut a square of cheesecloth to put on top. Perfect!
Three days later the jar started leaking around the spigot. I'm returning it Saturday.
Now what. Anybody have any ideas?
-- S. Irene Virbila
Follow me on twitter.com/sirenevirbila
Photo by Fred Seidman