TikToker making 'healthy Coke' with balsamic vinegar
TikTok | @mandyvjones

TikToker's 'Healthy Coke' Mix With Balsamic Vinegar Draws Interest — And Skeptics

The internet is a fantastic repository of WTF recipes. There's something almost soothing about watching someone create something disgusting while insisting that actually, it's totally normal.

A TikToker has done something that TikTokers are wont to do: create an abomination and defend it at all costs. In this case, her goal was noble. She just wanted to create an alternative to Coca-Cola that was syrupy and delicious, but without all the sugar.

What she made might just be the worst thing the internet has ever seen.

Coca-Cola: we all love it.

Glass bottle of Coca-Cola next to a glass of Coca-Cola
Unsplash | Andrey Ilkevich

I mean, I'm sure some contrarians out there don't like Coke, but there's a reason it's sold around the world: the stuff is delicious. It's syrupy, complex, and refreshing. It also has double-barrelled potential for developing addictions, when you take both the caffeine and sugar into account.

Balsamic vinegar: it's pretty good, too.

Hand pouring balsamic vinegar from a small dish into a larger dish
Unsplash | Caroline Attwood

A little goes a long way, but balsamic vinegar has a rich, nuanced flavor (hey, kind of like Coke!) that makes it a perfect ingredient in salad dressings. Heck, a drizzle of balsamic and olive oil on freshly-baked bread is one of the culinary world's simple pleasures.

Can balsamic vinegar taste like Coke?

TikToker making 'healthy Coke' with balsamic vinegar
TikTok | @mandyvjones

I mean, that question can be answered very simply, but that would cut the story short. Let's give this a chance.

TikToker Amanda Jones, who you can find on the platform @mandyvjones, has unveiled a simple recipe that she insists is good: guava LaCroix sparkling water and balsamic vinegar.

Sounds horrible, right? According to Amanda, it tastes just like Coke.

I'm absolutely not here for it.

Michael Scott gif: "Nope. Don't like that."
Giphy |

I have balsamic vinegar. I also have sparkling water. Am I going to combine them to see if Amanda is correct?

Of course I'm not, because certain things in our world shouldn't be allowed to exist. My desire for Coca-Cola is not so strong that I'm willing to try this.

In goes the LaCroix...

TikToker making 'healthy Coke' with balsamic vinegar
TikTok | @mandyvjones

Amanda puts in a little bit of balsamic — "a splash," specifically. Then she tops the glass off with a can of guava LaCroix. The end result looks like Coke, which is something, I suppose. But I have trouble believing it actually tastes like Coke.

Commenters weren't having it.

Comments on video of TikToker making 'healthy Coke' with balsamic vinegar
TikTok | @mandyvjones

Amanda says she isn't alone here, and that her Pilates instructor turned her on to the concept.

"It's a healthy alternative to a Coke!" she says. "I'm not joking you, it tastes just like a Coke and you're going to think I'm insane!"

I don't agree with everything she said there, but I agree with at least some of it.

Just no.

Comments on video of TikToker making 'healthy Coke' with balsamic vinegar
TikTok | @mandyvjones

One could apply the saying "don't knock it 'til you've tried it" to this whole thing. But some culinary combinations just feel too wrong to even attempt. It would be like drinking vegetable oil combined with Sprite just because someone told you it was good.

Is there something to it?

TikToker tries balsamic vinegar mixed with LaCroix sparkling water
TikTok | @healthylittlepeach

TikToker Ashley McCrary is one of the brave souls who did decide to try Amanda's unholy concoction. Credit to her for giving it a chance!

Ashley acknowledged that the drink "does not taste identical to a Coke," but does say that it actually tastes really good.

What does a registered dietitian think?

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TikTok | @nutritionbykylie

Another TikToker, Kylie, tried the drink. Kylie's a registered dietitian, but she didn't offer any insights on the beverage beyond what you'd probably expect.

"It does not taste like Coke," Kylie declared. "It tastes like exactly what you think it's going to taste like: a carbonated balsamic vinegar."

There's (kind of) precedent for this.

A peach shrub drink
Wikimedia Commons | Edsel Little

Vinegar and soda might not seem like a natural pairing, but there's actually a whole genre of drinks that combine the two.

This type of drink, known as a shrub, was more popular way back in the day. It combines vinegared syrup with other mixed drink stuff: carbonated water, syrups, or spirits.

If only there was a sugar-free way to enjoy Coca-Cola.

I know they're not healthy, per se, but diet sodas have existed for decades. If the sucralose and aspartame aren't for you, that's fine, but that doesn't mean you should be forced to resort to balsamic vinegar and sparkling water.

Let us know what you think of this drink in the comments. If you're brave enough to try it for yourself, let us know how it was!