There’s something about a glass filled with sparkling bubbly that makes the drink feel more festive. It’s in the bubbles, those light, airy, aromatic bubbles. Champagne is the holiday sparkling bubbly of choice, but really champagne is just champagne because it comes from the Champagne region of France. There are plenty of other sparkling wine options, dare I say some may even be better? For brunch, lunch or dinner, these champagne alternatives are ready to party. It’s time to pop open some bottles.
Probably the most well known champagne alternative and with good reason, Prosecco tends to be cheaper than champagne and with a fruitier, sweeter taste it pairs well with holiday appetizers and desserts. Made in the Veneto region of Italy from glera grapes you can get a decent bottle for under $15. We’ll toast to that.
After Prosecco, Cava is probably the most popular champagne alternative but after years of being the butt of jokes, it has finally arrived. The Spanish fizzy wine undergoes the same process as champagne but is so much more versatile. Today’s flavors range from sweet to dry, making it an ideal cocktail ingredient to surprise guests by serving celebratory cava cocktails instead of the expected French bubbles.
Speaking of cocktails…who came up with the rule that we have to toast with plain old champagne? Instead of making the bubbly the signature drink, make it just one ingredient in a sparkling holiday cocktail. Add cranberry juice and triple sec to sparkling wine for an appropriately named Poinsettia, make a simple Bellini for brunch and you can never go wrong with the classy French 75. Get the recipes.
Keep it Local
There’s no need to sip French, Italian or Spanish wine when Long Island is home to its own sparkling wine. Sparkling Pointe Vineyards follows the French tradition of wine making but you’ll find their vintages to be light and crisp with a range of sweetness to suit every taste.
This is the champagne alternative that is worth hunting around for. The German version of sparkling wine uses Riesling instead of Chardonnay as the primary grape. The result, if you can find it in the US, is a bubbly with a clean finish, a bit of richness and the spice flavors of the holiday season.