TikTok balsamic vinegar drink goes viral because it apparently tastes 'just like Coke'

Amanda Jones' TikTok making the "healthy Coke"
The trend began when TikToker Amanda Jones - who goes by the username @mandyvjones - shared a video last week which quite literally had the internet fizzing. Photo credit: TikTok / @mandyvjones

If the arrival of Coke Zero Sugar wasn't enough, the self-proclaimed "health and wellness influencers" of the internet are now trying to make 'healthy Coke' happen - by mixing balsamic vinegar with sparkling water. Please make it stop.

The trend began when TikToker Amanda Jones - who goes by the username @mandyvjones - shared a video last week which quite literally had the internet fizzing. 

In the clip, which has since been viewed 6.4 million times, Jones explained that her Pilates instructor drinks a concoction of balsamic vinegar, sparkling water and ice each day, which apparently tastes just like a "healthier" Coca-Cola. I am unconvinced.

Jones then put her own spin on the sparkling beverage, using guava-flavoured LaCroix as her base - basically a brand of carbonated water with a name that makes it sound much fancier than it is.

"I am not joking you, it tastes just like a Coke - and you're gonna think I'm insane," Jones declared in the clip.

"You do a splash of balsamic vinegar with ice in a cup, and then take any sparkling beverage - I'm picking LaCroix - and it can be any flavour. This one's the Guava... Now you're gonna mix it together - see, it already honestly looks like a Coke.

"But, I swear to God, it tastes like a Coke and it's healthy and it's good for you - you guys should try it out."

Now, not to state the obvious, but I am slightly confused how carbonated water, ice and balsamic vinegar is "good for you". Take that claim with a pinch of salt. 

And it's safe to say the balsamic-flavoured beveragino has received a thoroughly lukewarm reception, with many expressing their scepticism. 

"Zero chance that tastes like Coke," one highly unconvinced viewer said, with another adding: "Homegirl just got at least 50 people to drink balsamic vinegar with ice."

"You know when vegans tell you something tastes like cheese, but it tastes nothing like cheese because they haven't had it in years?" a third weighed in, while a fourth simply declared: "JAIL!"

Other TikTokers have taken it upon themselves to try the libation - yes, the reviews have been decidedly mixed.

While the concoction got an A+ from Ashley McCrary-Mac - "ya'll, that's delicious" - with raspberry-flavoured LaCroix, Aussie Michael Jaimie was less enthused

"Do you know what, I don't hate that," he said tentatively. "It would be like drinking a Coke Zero without the sweetener in it, but it's actually quite nice."

It appears the general consensus is that while not undrinkable or totally unpleasant, it doesn't taste much like Coke - and unless you've acquired a taste for drinking salad dressing, it probably won't do much for you.

However, the refreshment has proven so popular on social media, it even landed its own slot on breakfast television. The American morning television show Today decided to put two different types of balsamic vinegar to the test. First, they made the drink with a bog-standard balsamic vinegar - and the verdict was a pretty resounding 'no'. 

Secondly, the hosts made the drink with an aged balsamic that apparently tasted quite delicious - and was supposedly reminiscent of that classic Coca-Cola taste.

While there is no way in hell you'd catch me drinking watered-down balsamic vinegar (I don't even like it on salads - but then to be fair, I don't really like salads), one brave writer at BuzzFeed did try the concoction for herself, and even compared it to the real thing - so I don't have to!

The writer added two tablespoons of the dressing to plain sparkling water and ice, noting that the drink was visually comparable to a nice, cold glass of Coca-Cola.

However, her response was not overwhelmingly positive. She noted that the first few sips were confusing, but acknowledged there were "hints of the Coke-y flavour" due to the balsamic's tangy, natural sweetness. 

"But it surely didn't resemble a real Coke. The overall flavour was a little disappointing and even a bit underwhelming," she wrote. "I then took a few sips of the regular Coke, and then it really confirmed my doubt about the balsamic drink. The actual Coke was way sweeter, and I don't think any amount of balsamic vinegar in sparkling water could achieve that same taste."

To compare, one can of classic Coke contains 39 grams of sugar, while one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar contains 2.4 grams - so it's pretty obvious why the concoction, even with several tablespoons, wouldn't really replicate that famous flavour. 

From where I'm sitting, if you want a Coke that actually tastes like Coke but without the sky-high sugar content, maybe just opt for the new Zero Sugar variety - and save balsamic vinegar for your lunch.