White vinegar is among the purest sources of acetic acid. It’s made by acetic fermentation of pure alcohol that has been either distilled or synthesized from natural gas, and is not aged in or softened by contact with wood. It contains few or none of the aromatic and savory byproducts of the alcoholic fermentation. In the United States, more white vinegar is made than any other kind. It’s used mainly in the manufacture of pickles, salad dressings, and mustards.
From the book On Food and Cooking (2nd edition) by Harold McGee. © 2004 Harold McGee.
By permission of Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.