Vinegar-based syrups (or shrubs) have been chic on bar menus around town for more than a few years, a secret acidic weapon to punch up a cocktail. But the syrup itself is gaining ground in the non-alcoholic world for use with soda and sparkling water. It's typically known as drinking vinegar. Often sweetened with fructose or honey, these drinking vinegars are a far cry from pinching your nose as you chug some cider vinegar in hopes of a health boost.
Bi-Rite Market carries Pok Pok Som drinking vinegar from Portland's famed Pok Pok Thai restaurant, where it's used as an alcoholic mixer and a club soda-based drink. Bi-Rite carries a 16-ounce bottle that's infused with clover honey, but the online shop features flavors that haven't made it down to San Francisco yet, such as pomegranate and tamarind.
Nippon Ya in Japantown imports 7-ounce bottles of drinking vinegar in sweet varieties like apple and pineapple that are infused with fruit juice. When mixed with sparkling water, these taste less like a "health tonic" and more like a novelty drink than Som (though Pok Pok makes no such claims on vitality).
Know any other good spots to find drinking vinegar in San Francisco? Please leave 'em in the comments.