A Trick for Faking Fancy Balsamic

August  5, 2013

Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich will be going rogue on Food52 -- with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.

Today: Save your pricey fine balsamic vinegar for another day.

Honey Balsamic Sauce on Food52

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Save your pricey fine balsamic vinegar for another day. Here is a grand and recession-proof sauce for strawberries and ice cream that wants only ordinary grocery store balsamic and a little honey. 

Simmer two parts inexpensive balsamic vinegar with one part honey until the mixture is thickened and reduced by about half. Let cool. Taste a little sauce with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream and adjust the balance of sweet with tart to your liking (I like to keep it a little tart) by adding a bit of extra honey if necessary.

Serve a drizzle of sauce -- it doesn’t take much -- over strawberries and vanilla ice cream. 

Honey Balsamic Sauce

Adapted from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich (Artisan, 2012)

2 parts inexpensive balsamic vinegar
1 part honey 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Alice's most recent book, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts, doles out delicious dessert recipes that don't take hours of prep (a lot of them don't even require turning on the oven) -- everything from lattice-free linzer to one-bowl French chocolate torte. 

Photo by James Ransom


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My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).


Skinny B. August 14, 2013
I have been using this trick for a long time. Sometimes you can add some crack black pepper and a pinch of salt if you intend to use this balsamic vinegar for savory dishes.
Mama M. August 10, 2013
How does one store this or is there really any left to store?
Fiamma S. August 10, 2013
screw top jar is fine and keep in a cool spot...if you refrigerate take out an hour before use.

Fiamma S. August 6, 2013
I simmer cheap balsamic with granulated sugar & a sprig of rosemary,when reduced beat in some cold butter for a glossy finish!
Author Comment
Alice M. August 5, 2013
I drizzle a little of the honey balsamic AND a drizzle of evoo on the vanilla ice cream and strawberries. My family was skeptical: "vinaigrette" as a sundae topping? But they settled down very nicely after tasting it. Try it! Meanwhile thanks for all of the additional ideas...
Trena H. August 5, 2013
Great tip! Thanks.
JSCooks August 5, 2013
I swirled my Straus yogurt this morning with balsamic syrup and topped with roasted strawberries. Divine! I use agave or golden syrup--haven't tried with honey or pom molasses but those are great ideas. Same proportions as yours but I also add a couple tablespoons of red wine per 1/2 cup balsamic (either table wine or port will work; nothing too oak-y). I've even cooked it in a pyrex measuring cup in the microwave. Super simple and especially perfect with fresh strawberry ice cream. Loving your column--thanks!
AntoniaJames August 5, 2013
I do the same thing using pomegranate molasses instead of honey -- gives it a bold tart spin! (I've been known to add a dash of Worcestershire sauce as well, for savory dishes.) Incidentally, thank you for this excellent column. ;o)
savorthis August 5, 2013
I also love simmering some rosemary, thyme, orange peel or a combination in a reducing balsamic for drizzling on salads, grilled meats OR ice cream.
AntoniaJames August 5, 2013
savorthis, that sounds heavenly. ;o)