Pok Pok Som (“naam som” means vinegar in Thai) was founded in 2010. The drinking vinegars had been sold at the original Portland Pok Pok restaurant since 2005. It was time to make them available to more people.
Drinking vinegar for health reasons is an age old practice in many cultures around the world including here in the USA, dating back to colonial times when "shrubs" were a common tonic. While Som does not make claims as to the health benefits of of drinking vinegar, it is a delicious and refreshing drink with a nice tartness coming from the vinegar and concentrated flavors of fruit.
The Pok Pok team originally discovered Asian drinking vinegars while shopping at an Asian market. For the first couple of years, Pok Pok bought what was available, often from Taiwan or Korea and of dubious origin and content. Making it from scratch seemed like a better idea and the team experimented first with fermenting vinegar, then switching over to a method used to make shrubs. This method involves macerating fruit in vinegar and then balancing the mixture with sugar, salt and water to a specific acidity and sugar content.
Som drinking vinegars are now served in all of our restaurants, both diluted with soda water as a soft drink and at full strength as a mixer in several cocktails.