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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