The TikTok Vinegar Spritz Shockingly Does Not Taste Like Coke

You may never trust a pilates instructor again

new coke

From “caviar bumps” to “healthy Coke,” the Internet is alive this week with things that are not cocaine. A caviar bump, as you may know, is a lump of caviar served on your fecal matter-coated hand. The recipe for “healthy Coke” is somehow even more disturbing.

“Healthy Coke” is a TikTok thing. I found out about it via this tweet from former Gawker writer and current New York magazine diner-at-large Tammie Teclemariam:

“Thank you,” Tammie. In the TikTok, a Gigi Hadid-esque young woman explains that this is a recipe from her pilates instructor. This explanation is unnecessary. (Once one learns the recipe, one instinctively understands that it came from a pilates instructor.) “It’s a healthy alternative to a Coke,” the woman explains. “And I am not joking you … it taste [SIC] just like a Coke and you’regonnathinkI’minsane.”

The recipe is as follows:

  • “Like a splash” of balsamic vinegar
  • Ice in a cup
  • Any sparkling beverage

The young woman is using guava La Croix, but insists “it could be any flavor” of canned sparkling drink. Ahh … the recipe for Coke isn’t so mysterious after all, is it? So you pour your splash of balsamic vinegar over your ice, top it with your sparkling beverage, and stir to combine.

“See it honestly already looks like a Coke?” our guide explains, regarding the, indeed, Coke-colored drink in front of her. “But I swear to god … it tastes like a Coke and it’s healthy and it’s good for you. You guys need to try it out.” She takes a sip and says, “So good.”

It seems apparent to me that a combination of balsamic vinegar and seltzer will taste not like Coca-Cola but instead like sparkling balsamic vinegar. It also seems apparent to me that this trick is less akin to molecular gastronomy and more akin to when a coworker’s high school classmate told her that putting salt on ice cubes is “just like eating potato chips” (if you understand my meaning). And yet, I felt I had to try it.

As you can see, my seltzer of choice is lemon Spindrift. I feel it is necessary to add that this is my last lemon Spindrift, and that I am wasting it.

I made the recipe as instructed: glass with ice cubes, a dash of balsamic vinegar, any flavor of sparkling drink. I stirred to combine. And would you look at that? Due to the fact that balsamic vinegar is brown, it looks like a Coke (also brown).

It tastes like: balsamic vinegar. Whether it is good or bad depends on how much you enjoy the taste of balsamic vinegar. For example, would you like having balsamic vinegar as a drink in a large glass? If so, you might like this drink. If balsamic vinegar as a drink in a large glass does not sound good to you, you would not like this drink.

But I thought the experience of drinking the “healthy Coke” might change if the taste-tester didn’t know what they were expecting. Maybe if one saw the “healthy Coke” and registered it not as a balsamic vinegar drink they just made in the kitchen while wasting their last Spindrift, one’s brain might register it as “Coca-Cola” and send the appropriate Coca-Cola signals to one’s mouth. So in what could easily be a follow-up TikTok trend, I gave the concoction to my unsuspecting boyfriend, with whom I cohabitate, and said “try this.”

Because he trusts me, incorrectly, he took a large sip. “NO!” he said. He reacted in a physical way, jumping back from the drink as if it might assault him further. “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?” “That is so disgusting,” he said. “I have to brush my teeth now. Why would you make me drink that. Why would you make me drink VINEGAR?”

Now, I generally don’t like pranks. But I have to admit this was very funny.

In that way, I guess, the healthy Coke actually is “so good.”