Celebratory sparkling drinks that aren’t champagne. Toast!
I live by the policy that everything is better with bubbles, be it champagne, prosecco or muddled blackberries and sparkling water. There’s something about a fizzy drink that’s festive. But you don’t have to have a standard bottle of bubbly on hand to celebrate. Here are 15 sparkling drinks that are champagne alternatives for celebratory drinks, putting a spin on the classic flute. Some are healthy, some are non-alcoholic, some are a bit more upscale, all are delicious.
To be labeled Champagne, the grapes have to come from the Champagne region in France, but here’s the thing: there are plenty of sparkling wines that are equally, if not more tastier. Crémants are a wonderful alternative, and come from classic French wine regions like Alsace, Loire, Burgundy and Bordeaux.
2. Homemade ginger ale
Sounds more complicated than it is; all you need to do to make ginger ale is brew up a ginger simple syrup, add some fizzy water and you have a glorious sparkling drink. Easy. And if you’re feeling like you want more of a cocktail, add a little bourbon.
The Spanish sparkly is a perfect addition to a good round of tapas. You can also mix it with pomegranate for a great cocktail.
Want the champagne of the beer world? Track down a Belgian style gueuze, a tart and naturally effervescent drink that’s part of the lambic family. Also referred to as a sour beer, the taste isn’t for everyone, but if you’re in the mood for a bubbly Belgian brew, you can also go for one of the sweeter, fruitier lambics like framboise.
The Italian bubbly is another classic sparkling drink that’s a perfect champagne alternative, produced in the hills of Treviso. It’s the main ingredient of the classic Bellini, and if you’re looking to go full on European with your drink, use to to make an Aperol Spritz.
All you have to do to lemonade to step it up a notch is add some sparkling water. Instant party hit, with or without alcohol added. Try this Honey, Ginger Sparkling Lemonade recipe.
Hard cider hasn’t always had its roll in American drinking culture as it has in places like England, but a good, chilled cider is perfect for celebrating and can often be found in non-alcoholic varieties. The other benefit? It’s gluten free.
It might sound a little on the health freak side, but a cocktail made with kombucha is not only bubbly, but also delicious. Brew your own batch and then mix away; you can make everything from a Kombucha Cosmopolitan to The Petticoat, made with St. Germain, the French elderflower liqueur.
9. Fizzy Blood Orange Drinks
The juice of a blood orange has just the extra bit of zest to it that makes it a cocktail favorite, and it loves being served with a carbonated component. Try it with vodka and rosemary for a Bloody Rose, the more sophisticated older sister to Mary.
10. Grapefruit Mojito
This recipe for a grapefruit mojito is a non-alcholic take on the classic cocktail. Need a little bubble? Just add sparkling water.
11. Sparkling Fruit Cordials
Making your own fruit cordials is as simple as boiling water, fruit and sugar together; it’s an excellent way to put an overabundance of summer fruit picking to good use. Raspberry, blackcurrant, blueberry, cherry, elderflower – the options are endless. The concentrated liquid is then diluted with water, or sparkling water if you’re going for a bubbly drink. Concoct a batch of cordial, pour a little into a glass, top off with sparkling water and a few ice cubes, add a twist of lemon and you’re finished.
12. Sparkling Tea
Sparkling tea (iced, not hot) is easy to make yourself and allows you to significantly cut down on the sugar in a more standard sweet drink. Try a Sparkling Tea Lemonade with green or a fruit black tea or make one with lemon, cucumber and mint.
Made from honey, mead is most often associated with the Vikings, has been around since before beer and wine, and nowadays is popular with the homebrewing crowd. It can be flavored with various fruits and spices which allows you to get creative with taste combinations. All you need are a few supplies like a gallon glass jar and yeast and you are off and running. Want the full rundown? Check out this step-by-step mead guide.
14. Homemade Wine
Don’t let the people at the vineyards have all the fun; if you have fruit then you can make your own wine, and is there any better champagne alternative than a drink you made yourself? Not only good for drinking, you can also add them to sauces, vinaigrettes and beyond. They take awhile to make, and it won’t be a top notch Burgundy, but at least it will be homemade and slightly exotic when you serve it.
15. Fermented Fruit Juices
Instead of just adding sparkling water to juices, ferment them to create natural bubbles. Let watermelon sit with yeast overnight and you can make a delightful Watermelon-Mint Soda or try your hand at a different version of the Russian beverage kvass, made with your pick of organic fruits and berries.
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Image: Susanna Fernandez, Roberto Cacho Toca, Madzik