You should use only high quality vinegar with an acetic acid content of at least 5 percent, which includes all wine vinegars and most others. Malt vinegar, which was once the staple of the traditional homestyle pickle, is the most economical but it has a distinctive taste. Brown malt vinegar has the best flavor.
White distilled malt vinegar, with its concentrated acidity, is useful for pickling watery vegetables such as cucumber, but there are more subtle, less harsh alternatives you can use as well, such as cider vinegar and red or white wine vinegar. Sherry vinegar and balsamic vinegar can be used half and half with wine or cider vinegar in order to impart their special flavors.
When choosing a vinegar, try to complement the vegetable or fruit that is being preserved. Think about the color and flavor you wish to create. For example, white vinegar gives a better appearance to light colored pickles, such as those made from gherkins, cauliflower or cucumber, whereas dark red wine vinegar is best for pickled beetroot or red cabbage. Cider vinegar, with its apple base, is particularly good for sweet pickles. Sherry vinegar, which is a deep caramel color, has a very mellow flavor. It is perfect for giving a boost to pickled shallots.
** Asian Recipes