We put branded products to the test so you know which ones to choose. This month, we tried different apple cider vinegars to see which came out on top.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Simply put, it’s vinegar made from fermented apple juice. The juice is fermented into cider, after which a vinegar mother (a gelatinous blob of friendly bacteria) is added. This feeds on the alcohol and sugars, creating acetic acid as a by-product. Apple cider vinegar is often advertised as being sold ‘with the mother’ – this means it is unfiltered and will contain more of the enzymes and gut-friendly bacteria.
How we tested
We tasted each vinegar on its own, looking for a pronounced apple flavour, smoothness, balance of sugar and acid, and its ‘length’ – how long the flavour stays on your tongue.
The results of the best apple cider vinegar taste test
This has a kombucha-like, fermented smell on the nose, with a real roundness. A big punch of apple cider flavour, excellent balance of sweet and sour, and the best length of the bunch. A stand-out winner.
We juggled with whether to include this or not, as it’s actually apple cider vinegar mixed with juice. But its flavour swayed us: sweet, sour and syrupy like balsamic vinegar but with deep apple flavour. Great with oil for dipping bread into.
A good vinegar. Strong cider aromas on the nose, with a deep, long flavour. A big initial hit of vinegar that then mellows, with a touch of sweetness.
This has an aroma and initial flavour of Breton cider – oaky, with farmyard and fermented notes. Sadly, that fades to a very vinegary flavour – almost malt vinegar in its profile.
This has little apple flavour – if we didn’t know otherwise, we wouldn’t have known it was made from the fruit. But it is a smooth, balanced vinegar.
Very vinegary with little pronounced apple or cider flavour. Not a huge amount of sweetness, either.
Other expert taste tests from the olive cookery team:
Ginger beer taste test
Honey taste test
Chickpeas taste test
Cashew butter taste test
Dark chocolate taste test
Cheddar taste test
Tinned tomatoes taste test
Marmalade taste test
Pesto taste test
White miso taste test
Salted butter taste test
Strawberry jam taste test
Hummus taste test
Dried spaghetti taste test
Oat milk taste test
Smoked salmon taste test