You catch more flies with honey than vinegar—at least that’s how the saying goes.
And I’m not saying it’s wrong. But I’m pretty sure it was coined by someone who never tasted good vinegar.
Balsamic doesn’t count. There’s plenty of plonk out there, but it’s not hard to find great balsamic, especially down in the Italian Market. (My standby is Di Bruno’s “Silver” level private label vinegar, which is sweet but not cloying, dense but not to the point of a glaze, and pricey but not insanely so. My mother-in-law asks for it every Christmas.)
But you can do your foodie friend a bigger favor by introducing him to a solid red wine vinegar. And Di Bruno’s has you covered there, too—for $7.99. (Or $6.99 on their website, apparently.) Their mellow barrel-aged house brand is made, they say, from a mother that dates back to the early 1900s in Abruzzo.
I go through a lot of this stuff, especially in weather that demands a regular pot of chicken in red wine vinegar. Your friend will like it—and like knowing that he can go through tons of it too, without opening his wallet too wide. Which is a gift that keeps on giving.