I am not sure if spirit vinegar is halal. I have asked at different mosque and called on Islamic TV shows but each of them have a different view. There is a hadith which mentions that the Prophets favorite was vinegar. However there is also another hadith which say that a person asked the Prophet if it is permissible to make vinegar from alcohol and he said no. He had said that no amount of alcohol should be used to make something else by purpose but otherwise it is permissible to consume. Nowadays spirit vinegar is made from alcohol by purpose. And I was wondering maybe the vinegar that the Prophet liked was different to the vinegar today.
Depends on how the vinegar is made. Here is a quote from a fatwa which explains the difference:
When wine turns to vinegar by itself, without any deliberate treatment needed for it to be changed, it is permissible to eat, drink and handle it, according to the consensus of the scholars, because of the hadeeth quoted above.
But if the wine has become vinegar because of deliberate treatment, by adding vinegar, onions, salt etc., or by any other process, in this case the scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) differ as to whether it is permissible.
You can read the full fatwa here: http://islamqa.info/en/2283
Spirit vinegar is not made from alcohol/wine it's
made from sugar cane or from chemically produced acetic acid.
Vinegar of all forms are halal, provided that have not come in contact with anything haram and najis, even if it's made from wine. This is by the rule of istihalah (transformation) i.e. anything that has chemically transformed.
Sources from the website of Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Husaini Sistani:
Question: There is this vinegar that is made from wine, in the sense that it was wine and then, through a manufacturing process, changed into vinegar. Therefore, the label on the bottle reads: “wine vinegar” as opposed to the vinegar made from barley or other items. One of the signs [of differentiating between “wine vinegar” and the wine itself is that] the bottles of this vinegar are displayed in the area of vinegar, and it has never happened that these bottles are placed on the shelves of wines. Moreover, there is no difference between such vinegar and the vinegar made from dates for example. So, can this wine which has turned into vinegar be considered vinegar under the rule of change (istihalah)?
Answer: If the name “vinegar” can be applied in the view of common people upon that product, as has been assumed in the question, the same rule governing vinegar would apply to it. [That is, it is pure as well as permissible.]