This vinegar starts with a sake made from purple sweet potato before being carefully distilled into vinegar. This process imparts a bright ruby red color that coalesces into a purple luster in the bottle. Tart and earthy on its own, this vinegar is gently sweetened with honey to round out the flavor profile. Rich, rootsy, and fresh, with the body of a superb red wine vinegar, this offering from Iio Jozo is a phenomenal addition to the pantry.
Iio Jozo is one of the most venerated names in Japanese vinegar, operating since the late nineteenth century and currently helmed by Akihiro Iio, the fifth generation president of the family business. Perhaps no era better showcases this family’s principled diligence than the middle of the twentieth century, when countless farmers began relying upon pesticides and other modernized farming methods that favored efficiency over tradition. Far from vogue or intuitive at the time, Iio-san engaged in a series of thoughtful, nuanced conversations with his own farming partners to ensure that they continued to produce rice organically, without pesticides, in the old way. To this day, Iio Jozo is among very few fine ingredient makers who have weathered more than an entire century without conflating technological innovation and quality. And though this certainly does not mean arbitrarily shirking strategies that can improve their processes, it does speak to a level of humble excellence that we tremendously appreciate.
In addition to their peerless traditional rice vinegars, Iio Jozo’s fruit and vegetable infused vinegars are some of the most interesting and distinctive items we keep in our pantries.
Ingredients: water, purple sweet potato, rice, honey
120ml glass bottle