If you've never had aged balsamic vinegar drizzled over fruit or ice cream, you've been missing out. It's a really delicious, sweet and fruity treat — and it doesn't taste at all like you might expect balsamic to taste. The good stuff is pretty expensive by the bottle, but you can make it yourself for a lot less money if you have the ingredients.
Thanks to the folks at America's Test Kitchen, this technique will get you a tasty "aged" balsamic that you can use the same way you would use the expensive stuff. I put "aged" in quotes because it's not the same, of course, but it's a good approximation. What you're really doing here is a rich balsamic reduction. The sugar and port will add some of the fruity, sweet flavour that balsamic develops on its own when it's aged for 12-15 years, and the slow simmer will bring it down to a nice, syrupy consistency.
I tried this myself this weekend (I keep a bottle of port on hand for reductions and sauces, I suggest you do too!) and it worked like a charm. It's not quite the same as the expensive stuff, but it's definitely delicious, and it's close enough for the money you're saving that it's earned a place in my mental cookbook. One warning: when the video above says "slow simmer", they mean it. Keep an eye on your reduction so it doesn't bubble too much, and keep the heat really low. What do you think? Have another way to accomplish the same task? Give it a shot at home and let us know what you think.
How to Instantly Age Supermarket Balsamic Vinegar [America's Test Kitchen]