Kristian Regále Sparkling Peach Juice

My Experience:

It's very translucent, with just a light golden color. It smells like you'd expect a peach to smell, but the taste hints of a white grape juice, though it has no grape in it and tastes more peachy over time, especially as it warms up. It's tingly on the tongue, but doesn't foam up. It's slightly drier than your average juice, with a hint of bitterness, probably from the carbonation.

Works as a Wine Alternative: Yes, a sweet one. I think it would work well with an alfredo, and it'd cut through the sauce. Pair it with things that are very light.

Did I Like it: Yes, though not as much as their offering in Pomegranate-Apple, a 6 out of 10. My wife doesn't like it so much.

Would I Recommend it: Yes, I've had a ton of fun trying out all the Kristian Regále stuff.

Who Might Like it: Most anyone who likes peaches?

[Update: I've tried this again since, and I think I appreciate it even more with the right pairing.]

Effervé Sparkling Pink Lemonade

My Experience:

For our anniversary we went to Fresh & Easy and picked up a random assortment of yummy looking foods and had a meal out in the backyard. As a gift my wife got me the rest of the R.W. Knudsen Sparkling Juices I hadn't tried yet (see side bar for the round-up) but we also found this Effervé Sparkling Pink Lemonade ("Pétillante Limonade Rose" or somethin'.) They also had a non-pink version, but we went with the pink version. (What's Pink Lemonade anyway? Is it made from pink lemons? No.)

The color is light pink, looks like a traditional pink lemonade but with no pulp. Lightly carbonated, it's best served a bit colder than we had it (we only had time for a quick chill). It's quite dry for a juice, just a little sweet, and just a little tangy, and is a touch more sour during the finish. It's alright as a palate cleanser but doesn't quite leave me with the clean feeling a good one does. It's very acidic. We had it with some very acidic lemon hummus salad dressing, and the dressing made the lemonade taste sweet, so I'm glad the lemonade wasn't sweeter or it would have been overwhelming with our salad.

Looking at the ingredients, there is technically no juice, just citric acid and other ingredients, though all natural.

It doesn't really taste like lemonade. There is a hint of bitterness, but just a tiny touch, possibly from whatever sparkling water they used. Smells more lemony than it tastes. My wife likes it a lot.

Works as a Wine Alternative: Yes, in terms of being a culinary beverage.

Did I Like it: Yes! 8 out of 10!

Would I Recommend it: Yes, everyone knows what things to serve lemonade with, so pairing is easy, and it's not a huge departure from what you might expect, so it's very approachable.

Who Might Like it: Most anyone, even some people who don't like lemonade, as while it's more acidic, the sourness and sweetness are both less intense then a normal lemonade.

R.W. Knudsen's Sparkling Cranberry

My Experience:

A while back we had R.W. Knudsen's Sparkling Organic Pear Juice, and loved it! So we decided to try the rest of their juices, with high hopes.

The photo makes it look darker than it is, and it has very few, very small bubbles. It's not as tart as I thought a cranberry drink would be, and it's less sweet than the pear drink. It's lighter than most cranberry drinks I've had also. I enjoy it, but think it needs a great pairing to shine. On the negative, it's almost watery, and just a bit sweet and bit tart, overall pretty mellow for a sparkling drink. I want to try it with something light but savory and/or beefy. It's not very fizzy and surprisingly flat, and I wish it were a bit more acidic.

The last glass of the bottle was completely full of big fat red specks. The sediment was a huge downer.

I liked the taste, but with the low carbonation and high sediment content, I'm wondering if I got a bad bottle, which is not a good thing to wonder about.

Works as a Wine Alternative: Yes, though needs to be paired well.

Did I Like it: Yes, with some huge reservations, like the sediment. 4 out of 10, would have been a 6 without the sediment.

Would I Recommend it: Try a different flavor first, the pear is awesome.

Who Might Like it: It's not just for cranberry lovers, which is good in my mind.

Sparkling Water Round Up

After trying the Ariel Brut, I couldn't help but think "I wonder if I could simply use sparkling water to mimic this taste." So, I bought a bunch of sparkling waters to test the theory!

Big K Lemon Lime
Tastes like bitter sugarless 7-Up. Big bubbles, soda-like texture.

Perrier Lime
Much less fizzy, smaller bubbles, smoother to drink, not as harsh on the tongue, not as bitter and a little more lemony.

S. Pellegrino
Not as bitter as the first two. Much more watery, i.e. very lightly carbonated, and tiny tiny bubles. I prefer the taste and feel of this one.

The Perrier is ok on its own, but if you want to add sparkle to a drink, I'd grab the most strongly carbonated club soda you can find, because the other two are simply too weak to combine with something else and not simply water it down.

I thought the lime / lemon taste would be good with mexican food but it's not. Neither my wife nor I really like any of these.

When I tried the Ariel Brut, it had me wondering just how close it was to just a glass of sparkling water, and I can confidently say it's very, very different. These sparkling waters, flavored or not, are not substitutes for the complexities, taste, and craft of the Bruts.