Serious Eats: Drinks
Booze-Free Thanksgiving Bubbly: Kristian Regale Sparkling Juice
Nobody should be left out on Thanksgiving, and that includes those who don't drink alcohol. But what are the options for non-imbibers beyond the standard Martinelli's? I'm determined to find out. First up, Kristian Regale sparkling juice drinks, which come in a range of fruity flavors. They're all sweetened with beet sugar, and the label notes that a 'geranium botanical' is added in accordance with a traditional Swedish recipe. They clock in around 100 calories per 8-ounce serving, which they claim is less than standard sparkling apple juice, but I'm not sure Thanksgiving is the time to care.
The important question is how they taste, so we tasted them all. The apple flavor, made with sparkling water and apple concentrate, was a quick favorite. It has a real fresh-apple flavor that actually reminded us of chomping into a good fall apple, complete with a bit of apple-skin, making for a more interesting sip than lots of sparkling ciders we've tried. But apple is only the beginning—there are lots more flavors to try.
The pear version, which is made with sparkling water plus a mixture of pear and apple concentrates, didn't strike us as quite as interesting or balanced; it lacked the tartness that kept the apple version crisp.
But lingonberry-apple doesn't have that problem, and is delightfully tart, with a great berry flavor that's quite dry on your tongue. It tastes a bit like cranberry relish, and it just may be the perfect non-alcoholic turkey accompaniment. We preferred it slightly over the pomegranate-apple version, which is less tart and bright, and more like cran-raspberry cocktail.
The black currant flavor is a bit more unusual, and perhaps will be more appealing to adults than those at the kids' table. It's almost winey, with a flavor that's both floral and berry-laced. But kids will like the peach version, which was the only flavor we tried that lacked apple concentrate completely. If you melted down peach Jolly Ranchers and made them fizzy, you'd have this stuff.
Have you tried Kristian Regale's sparkling juices? What did you think? Do you have a plan for non-drinkers for Thanksgiving?
Sample provided for review consideration.