Nothing says celebration like the pop of a bottle, a glass of fizz.
On Valentine’s Day, you don’t have to make a speech, just raise your glass and give your loved one your full attention — ideally without the distraction of a camera phone.
For those in search of alcohol-free versions, we looked for drinks that have some fizz, not necessarily made from grapes.
If they are not too sweet and are fairly dry — like Champagne, cava, and prosecco — they can be drunk throughout a meal.
We took random samples from supermarket shelves and discovered it’s best not to expect them to taste like wine — they are much sweeter and cannot be compared.
We have already surveyed kombucha teas, fermented and naturally fizzy drinks which make a good Asian food accompaniment.
Before a meal, Ceder’s Crisp (on offer in Dunnes, €20 for 500ml) is good fizzed up with tonic water, sparkling water, or soda.
With gin botanicals, cucumber, and chamomile, it makes a drink reminiscent of gin and tonic.
There are plenty of reasonably priced ginger ales (oversweet for food) and zero-alcohol beers which we covered on this page in June — the survey is still online.
Whatever you choose, switch off the television, play some music, take it easy and enjoy Valentine’s night to the full.
Eisberg Sparkling Blanc €6.50
Produced and bottled in Germany for Halewood International UK, a company that also produces an alcohol-free Cabernet Sauvignon (red) and a rosé.
There are 5.8% sugars from rectified concentrated grape must (juice, pips and skins).
The taste is semi sweet, not like familiar white wines, but a pleasant accompaniment to Asian and smoked foods that tasters liked well enough as a sparkling juice, not a wine.
A Champagne-style cork pops nicely.
Carl Jung de-alcoholised Mousseaux 750ml €5
Though labelled semi-dry, this alcohol-free white wine has added sugar bringing all sugars to a moderate 5.2%.
One taster thought it had a peachy aroma, another that it tasted a little watery, but some gave it their top mark of the Champagne-style corked drinks.
Buy for the pop. Had fizz 24 hours later, Made in Germany.
Schloer pink bubbly 750ml €3.89
A sparkling grape juice drink from concentrate and carbonated water.
The sweetener is steviol glycosides, which with the grape juice delivers a low enough 5.4% sugars and was not as sweet as the vivid pink suggested it might be.
Fruity, but not grapey. Pop with the Champagne- style cork.
The next day it still had some fizz.
The Apple Farm sparkling Irish apple juice 250ml €1.95
A nicely balanced juice with a gentle sparkle and a little sweetness will be delicious with a vegetable or ham main course, and with a dessert of ice-cream (try pouring a little over it) or a fruit pie.
Made from apple juice preserved with ascorbic acid and with Co2 for fizz.
Produced by Con Traas in Co Tipperary. Delicious!
Screw cap keeps fizz well. Mainly in delis.
Irish Hedgerow sparkling elderflower 750ml €4.50
A low number of ingredients — mineral water, sugar, elderflower infusion and citric acid — deliver a refreshing drink which is not too sweet and has a decent amount of fizz.
Made in South Tipperary. In SuperValu and delis.
Lidl sparkling Italian apple pressé 750ml €1.99
Carbonated spring water, apple juice concentrate and natural flavouring (not specified) makes a pleasant, sweet drink which is not cloying. Good with ham/bacon/spicy vegetables.
The screwcap works well and, once opened, holds the fizz.
Fever Tree Sicilian lemonade 500ml €2.79
Added fructose, a form of sugar, and sugars from the lemons bring sugars to 4% and was not oversweet, “Nicely lemony” was the consensus.
A refreshing kick, perhaps from using the lemon skins, will suit Asian dishes with warm spices, and with fruit desserts.
Marks & Spencer apple, mango, and passion fruit sparking juice 750ml €3.80
Made in France and closed with a Champagne- style cork.
With lots of fruit flavours and high 12.6% sugars, it’s a drink best served with dessert.
With just 1% sugars, while tasting quite sweet, the brand’s sparkling Raspberry and Lemon Soda scored higher and is worth trying with a salty salad or smoked food.
This one has a useful Kilner style stopper.