It's pretty hard to see in this photo, but a couple of weeks ago when I pulled this bottle of red wine vinegar out of the cupboard, I noticed a cloudy blob floating in it. My first thought: Yech! Followed closely by my second thought: Jackpot! Because I realized that I had accidentally grown myself a living, undulating mother of vinegar, which are tricky to acquire and are essential to DIY wine vinegar.
Naturally, I immediately set out to make some - emptying vinegar, mother, and some leftover red wine into a crock that I'd been stashing in my laundry room for just such a project. I swirled it faithfully every couple of days, dreaming of salad dressings and fancy pickles, as the laundry room increasingly reeked of vinegar and DP complained. I reassured him it would be worth it, repeatedly...right up until 10 days after starting the experiment, when I took the lid off to have a look at developments and found...nothing. The entire works, including the mother, had disappeared. Evaporated? Soaked into the crockery clay? Who knows? It's a complete mystery. (And such a disappointment!)
I've got another bottle of commercial red wine vinegar in the cupboard, with the lid off, hoping for another mother to manifest. I hear there are other ways, but all of them involve more effort, so I'm going with the slacker's method for now and seeing what happens. Advice welcome.