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Help Me Uncork My Aged Balsamic!

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I purchased a very aged balsamic (50 years) at Christmas 2 years ago as a gift for my husband - who actually would prefer to just drink the stuff (the bottle came with a small tasting glass for that very task). When it arrived, the cork was very dry and it was nearly impossible to open. We finally managed, got a couple uses out of it (it's delish) and corked it back up. I had called the company I purchased it from and they were open to me returning it but I got lazy and never got around to doing it. Stupid me.

Anyway, several months later, we went to use it again and for the life of us could not get the cork out without risking completly tearing it apart. It was bone dry. Now this was quite the problem. If we ruined the cork we had several problems. First, the cork bits were most likely going to get into the vinegar. Second, the cork was now totally useless and how were we to preserve the precious vinegar from that moment onward? Decant? Into what?

So, we have opted to leave it be. But of course, this is driving us nuts, knowing this heavenly liquid is sitting in my kitchen begging to be made useful.

Any suggestions? I'm even open to using up the whole bottle in one remarkable recipe if need be - I just hate the idea of it sitting around this long.

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  1. Perhaps check a craft store or one of those places that sell supplies & kits for making your own beer & wine for a corked bottle of the appropriate size. You could strain out cork bits and decant into the new bottle.

    1. If the cork is that dry and somewhat crumbled already, it may be letting more air into the bottle than you want. Assuming you want to keep the vinegar for a while I would say you want to pull it and either replace it with a new cork or move the vinegar to a new bottle with a new cork.

      1. You might consider using one of those two-flat-pronged "ah-so" cork removers.
        (see the bottom of the page here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottle_o...
        )With a very light coating of vegetable oil, you might be able to get the cork out.
        Practice on a different bottle first if you've never used one before.

        Another option is to push the cork in (which might happen with the ah-so anyway),
        then decant to a new bottle.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chuckles the Clone

          That looks like it could work Chuckles, thanks for the tip. Pushing the cork into the bottle is another option we didn't consider. I'll look into buying the "ah-so" first, and buying a new cork (or one of those bottle stoppers wine stores sell) and if that fails, will use the second method and decant to a new bottle. Thanks!

          1. re: sivyaleah

            I don't see why one of those wine-bottle-stoppers wouldn't work, as long as the bottle has an appropriate-sized neck for it to fit in. My parents had a hand-pumped vacuum one that kept the contents of the bottle good for a long time.