When you want a champagne vinegar substitute, you’ll want to start with something as light and delicate. Its delicate flavor is the life of several recipes, so finding a substitute takes some effort.
Although its name sounds a wee bit fancy, champagne vinegar isn’t quite exotic. This vinegar is conventionally made from Chardonnay and pinot noir grapes. Its mild and floral notes are quite an interesting addition to food and it’s a wonderful salad dressing.
While it is responsible for bringing a delicate flavor to a recipe, the vinegar rarely is the star of the show. Since it handles supporting roles, it is possible to go slightly aggressive with replacements and let the other ingredients handle the change.
Here are some of the best options to replace champagne vinegar in your food.
Top Substitutes For Champagne Vinegar
1. White Wine Vinegar
Its mild and delicate flavor makes white wine vinegar the best substitute for champagne vinegar. The taste of both these vinegars is so similar that they can often be used interchangeably for several recipes.
It helps that white wine vinegar is relatively more easily available. So if you need a replacement for champagne vinegar, this one will be easy to access. White wine vinegar works well as a salad dressing as well as a means to top fish and meat.
2. Chinese Rice Wine Vinegar
Chinese rice wine has a mild and flavorful touch. The same is true for the rice wine vinegar as well. Rice wine and rice wine vinegar are both popular ingredients in East Asian cuisine. The vinegar has a mild taste but a smidge more of acid.
You could still use it to top salads, fish, and meat without a huge change in the overall taste. For most recipes, the rice wine vinegar can be easily interchanged with champagne vinegar.
3. Sherry Vinegar
As the name implies, sherry vinegar comes from processing sherry. It too has a light and delicate flavor that goes handsomely as a replacement for champagne vinegar. Use it to top fish, salads, or vegetable dishes and there’s a good chance you won’t notice any difference.
However, the two vinegars are not absolutely interchangeable. While sherry has a mild taste, it is stronger than champagne vinegar and has more acidity. Slightly reducing the quantity of sherry vinegar will usually balance out the taste to give you a great flavor.
4. Red Wine Vinegar
Red wine vinegar seems like a natural choice, but we are now in the domain of stronger flavors. This vinegar is fruitier and has a richer and deeper flavor. It goes wonderfully with meat and salad dressings, though it’s best to avoid its use with fish.
There’s a good chance you won’t miss champagne vinegar while red wine vinegar is in play. However, it isn’t a simple substitute and its presence will clearly show the lack of the more delicate champagne vinegar. It’s a good substitute, but not an exact one.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another excellent option for a substitution. It has a relatively strong flavor and presence, so it will take a different approach compared to the milder champagne vinegar. This tart, slightly fruity vinegar has a penchant for dressings but it’s versatile enough for use with several recipes.
One of the greatest factors in favor of this vinegar is its easy availability and the familiarity of flavor it brings to a recipe. When using apple cider vinegar as a substitute, consider working with small amounts so it doesn’t end up overpowering the recipe.
6. Lemon Or Lime Juice
Lemon juice or lime juice happen to be something of a catch-all substitution for most vinegars. Don’t have a vinegar of your choice? Well, consider squeezing some lemons (or limes!) to keep the recipe going. The fruity flavor and acidity they bring to the table is usually enough to be a suitable replacement.
When using lemon or lime juice to substitute for champagne vinegar, consider adding some sugar to add some sweetness. At times, you may want to use only small quantities so the unique flavor of lemon or lime doesn’t end up overpowering the recipe.
7. Balsamic Vinegar
Though it’s a popular vinegar in its own right, balsamic vinegar is something of an odd choice to replace champagne vinegar. Yet, considering how well this vinegar goes with salads and dressings, it can work as a viable choice and replacement.
The dark colored and richly flavored balsamic vinegar will work with a huge range of food. Use it for meats, fish, salads, or veggies and they’ll all benefit from its tangy and rich flavor. It won’t be an exact fit, but the replacement is worthy of note.
8. White Vinegar
White vinegar shouldn’t be your first, second, or even third choice to replace champagne vinegar. In fact, go for this option only if you’re in a real pinch and must have vinegar for the recipe. White vinegar has more of an intense flavor and acidity. It’s a very different touch compared to the mild champagne vinegar.
If you do end up using white vinegar, consider diluting it so that the flavor doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Adding some white wine to the mix will add some complex flavors and sweetness that will benefit the recipe. However, white wine contains alcohol and may not be a good choice for some diets.
9. Herb Vinegar
Herb vinegar is something more of an exotic option. It’s possible to make one at home, or you could buy one in your choice of flavors from the market. The herb flavoring helps with the overall taste profile of this vinegar.
Basil and oregano herb vinegars are rather common. Use them with your choice of salads, dressings, fish, and meat. Adding a bit of sugar to herb vinegar can help it get the same sweetness as champagne vinegar.
10. White Vermouth
White vermouth or dry vermouth is prepared from grapes in a process similar to making champagne vinegar. Besides, the condiments included in vermouth can make good choice for the addition of flavors, though in many recipes, it could as easily be overpowering.
On the other hand, it produces an excellent tingling sensation, much like champagne vinegar. Even so, don’t keep it around as a substitute and use it only when you’re in a real pinch.
11. Raspberry Vinegar
Raspberry vinegar is an unconventional, though viable choice to replace champagne vinegar in a recipe. In essence, this is a vinegar flavored with raspberries. The presence of raspberry gives it a fruity, sweet, and delicate flavor with hints of tartness.
This vinegar is very popular during summers and is a great way to enrich several recipes. Enjoy it with salads or meat for the enhanced flavor.
Raspberry vinegar is available easily, but you can make your own as well by steeping raspberries in white vinegar.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What Is Champagne Vinegar?
Champagne vinegar is a mellow vinegar with floral notes. As its name implies, it is made by processing champagne. While the thought of converting champagne to vinegar sounds rather audacious, it does have its uses. The mild vinegar has a good taste and goes well with several recipes. The mild flavor goes great with salads and several recipes.
How To Make Champagne Vinegar?
To convert champagne into vinegar, a bacteria (usually a “vinegar mother”) is added. Given some time, the bacteria converts the alcohol in the champagne to acetic acid, thus making the vinegar.
Conventionally, champagne is protected by geographic indicators. Legally, only the specific wine made in the Champagne region of France can be labeled champagne. Similarly produced wine from other parts of the world is usually called sparkling wine.
It is unclear if the GI protection extends to champagne vinegar. You might get hold of a champagne vinegar made from sparkling wine instead. Although with vinegar, the origin isn’t likely to matter much.
Finding Alternatives To Use In Place Of Champagne Vinegar
Finding the right champagne vinegar substitute usually will lead to options with similar mild and delicate flavors. In such a scenario, white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, and rice wine vinegar are good choices. Sometimes though, you might want to choose bolder options. Take a look at the options here to find the best choices.