There’s no debating it: Sparkles are mandatory for your New Year’s Eve celebrations. But not all that shimmers has to come in a wine bottle. As beloved and delicious as Champagne and other sparkling wines can be, swap out this year’s standard bubbles for something a bit unconventional.
Bière de Champagne
Exchange Champagne for Belgian bière de Champagne, also known as bière brut. These beers generally undergo extensive aging, as well as remuage and the dégorgement process of yeast removal, just like Champagne. Try Brouwerij Bosteels’ DeuS Brut des Flandres, or Victory Brewing Company’s Jubilee, produced in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
Created in a range of styles worldwide, cider chimes with the cooler seasons here in the states. Gurutzeta Sagardo Naturala Sidra from Spain, Wölffer No. 139 Dry White and Rosé Ciders from New York and the cidres made by Le Père Jules in France offer different and delicious sparkling expressions. Kopparberg Alcohol-Free Mixed Fruit Cider from Sweden and the crisp, tart Somersby Non-Alco Cider produced by Denmark’s Carlsberg Group are suitable nonalcoholic alternatives.
Sparkling mead can be a sweet swap for the bubbles in your midnight flute. Made with a mixture of honey, yeast and water that undergoes two rounds of fermentation, it’s a delicate, dry beverage with a honey-tinged finish. California’s Heidrun Meadery and Maine Mead Works’ Ram Island series both offer quality fizzy options.
Another beverage crafted in the traditional method of Champagne, sparkling perries offer a unique, fruit-forward alternative. Produced in the UK with fruit from pear orchards that are up to 300 years old, Dunkerton’s Organic Perry has notes of tart stone fruit and white flowers with a dry finish. For a domestic option, try Sprecher Brewing Co. Perry Sparkling Pear Wine from Milwaukee, which delivers crisp, spicy and honeyed pear notes.