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Making a balsamic reduction

Making a balsamic reduction

First a little history on balsamic vinegar.

Balsamic vinegar is a condiment originating from Italy. Traditional balsamic vinegar is a reduction of pressed Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes. The resulting thick syrup, called mosto cotto in Italian, is then aged for a minimum of 12 years in a battery of seven barrels of successively smaller sizes. The casks made from different woods like chestnut, acacia, cherry, oak, mulberry, ash, and, in the past, juniper.

Traditional balsamic vinegar is rich, glossy, deep brown in color and has a complex flavour that balances the natural sweet and sour elements of the cooked grape juice with hints of wood from the casks.

Balsamic vinegar is considered highly valued by chefs and gourmet food lovers. Balsamic vinegar are graded from 12, 18 & 25 years, like wine the older the balsamic the best flavor it will have.


Most commercial grade balsamic found at your local market is most likely made of wine vinegar with colouring, caramel and sometimes thickeners like guar gum or cornflour to artificially simulate the sweetness and thickness of the aged Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena. There is no aging process involved, and hundreds of thousands of litres can be produced every day.

That doesn’t mean if you buy balsamic vinegar from a vineyard or independent producer that it isn’t real balsamic, it is and made from a blend of grapes. What’s sold in market’s who really knows???

Making a balsamic reduction is as easy as making simple syrup, just follow the step, don’t leave the stove cause it only takes a minute to burn leaving an unpleasant taste.

Tools & Ingredients you will need:

Balsamic vinegar
Sugar, Best to use turbinado sugar to taste
Small Saucepan
Wire Whisk


Balsamic vinegar comes in several different grades, determined by age and quality. It can taste a little bitter, but putting it through the reduction process can sweeten it up for a tasty sauce. Drizzle on goat cheese and crostini, over salads, meat, fish, and even ice cream!
Yes!! Ice cream and fresh berries.

Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Remember the sauce will reduce by half during the cooking process.


Turn burner to high heat.


During and throughout the boiling process whisk briskly to prevent burning, or scorching, as this will leave your reduction with a bitter taste.


Sprinkle turbinado sugar to the vinegar reduction. Turnbinado is often used as a fancy sugar on top of baked goods as it does not burn or scotch easily. During the reduction process vinegar does naturally sweetens, so add sugar to taste.

Reduce by half, or until the vinegar takes on a syrup like glaze.

Allow to cool and serve……

















About Dish With Clarissa

Clarissa Ellis grew up learning to cook with her mom. In a time where traditional home-cooked food was going out of style, Clarissa learned to love and make those simple 'comfort foods' and family favorites. As she grew - and her mom got busier with long work hours, Clarissa supported her mom by taking over most of the cooking duties around the home. By the time Clarissa started high school - she had absorbed her mother's approach to traditional, homestyle Italian dishes; and thanks to So Cal's great weather year round... a love of cooking on the grill. Fast forward 30 years and Clarissa has never stopped cooking. She continued to explore food, learning more from So Cal's amazing cultural variety, trying things out on her family and her friends... and always learning. Never content to merely cook a good meal, Clarissa developed the habit of talking sharing her ideas with family, friends and coworkers. After a lifetime of learning and experimenting, Clarissa's love affair with traditional Italian cooking, and 'comfort foods' has grown into a robust, creative and cross-cultural approach to cooking that still manages to remain 'accessible' to the rest of us. Now Clarissa brings her experience and her approach online through her blog - giving all of us a chance give ourselves, our friends and our family the benefits of a lifetime of passion and joy in cooking simply great meals.

2 responses »

  1. Wow, love balsamic vinegar and I use it all the time. I would have never thought to use it on ice cream. Thanks for the tip!



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