What mixes with unsweetened juice and bubbles, served in a wine glass?
June 12, 2014 6:15 PM   Subscribe

I recently bought a Mastrad Purefizz, which easily carbonates 750ml (roughly a wine bottle's worth) of just about anything. My goal is to create drinks to sip on at night, and I'm particularly interested in non alcoholic ideas (but that's not essential). I'm clueless about what tastes good with what, so I need your help!

I've been drinking seltzer & unsweetened grape juice with a splash of lemon, and that's great, but I have no idea what else to try. I'm looking for things that aren't sugary sweet (not interested in sodas) and whose parts or ingredients I can find at a grocery store or liquor store. Think drinks to sip out of a wine glass at night. With bubbles.
posted by 2oh1 to Food & Drink (30 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Another common juice used as a sweetener is apple juice. You could make a ginger ale sweetened that way.
posted by aniola at 6:20 PM on June 12, 2014

all the variations of what you're already doing are delicious. apple juice dilute with seltzer is my favorite; lemon- and lime-aid; lemonade with berries for flavor and color… Trader Joe's make a low sugar lemonade that tastes great, comes in a beautiful pink color as well as regular. Try cherry juice!
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:20 PM on June 12, 2014

Mint tea
posted by aniola at 6:22 PM on June 12, 2014

Have you tried water infused with cucumber and honeydew? It's SO good. You can also try basil, mint or other herbs in water and see what you like.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 6:22 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

Rosewater + seltzer + pear or peach juice?
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:23 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

Iced tea with a splash of lemonade and grenadine. They had this out in the lobby of a spa hotel I visited last week and it was a lovely, refreshing treat.
posted by mochapickle at 6:24 PM on June 12, 2014

I had ramen broth carbonated once, this was one of the stranger and nicer things. You said not sugary sweet, but savory is also possible.
posted by curuinor at 6:25 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

Pomegranate molasses + grape juice + mint? It can be quite tart though, so you might have to play with the mixture a little bit.
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:30 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Water with fresh lemon juice, with a pinch of salt to taste.
posted by carter at 6:33 PM on June 12, 2014

Carbonated limeade would be delightful.
posted by Sara C. at 6:33 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Tart fizzy lemonade with just a splash of Ribena. Drink it all summer long. Yum.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:36 PM on June 12, 2014

Plain sparkling water with a few shakes of bitters and a slice of lime.
posted by Fig at 6:45 PM on June 12, 2014

What mixes well to create darker or heavier drinks? That's what led me to the unsweetened grape juice initially. Refreshing isn't really what I'm going for - though, of course, I could easily make things that are like sangria or mimosas. That's great on a hot day, but I'm more looking for late night cool weather drinks (but not hot drinks)... times when I'd normally reach for a stout beer or a glass of red wine.

The Pomegranate molasses + grape juice + mint suggestion above sounds particularly interesting!

What other stuff would mix well with the unsweetened grape juice, or with cranberry juice?

Uhm... and what are "bitters"? I'm pretty clueless about mixed drinks.
posted by 2oh1 at 6:50 PM on June 12, 2014

Hibiscus! There are many google-able recipes for it (unsweetened or not) and I think the tart quality is delicious and lends itself well to sipping (also good to mix with other things -- ginger ale, lemonade, etc.). You may have to buy that online, but it's cheap in bulk and easy to make (soak it in hot water and strain).

Peppermint is also a good way to go and that's easily accessible -- most stores have tea that's only peppermint. That, a splash of simple syrup (which is usually one part sugar dissolved in one part water. I usually like to make mine a little less sweet, but it depends on what you want) and some soda water would be delicious. I've also done the juice of a lime, simple syrup and soda water with ice in a glass.

Pure cranberry juice (not ones with other juices mixed in) can also be a good mixer for sweeter things and soda water.
posted by darksong at 6:50 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

You know, I haven't tried this, but ginger syrup might help provide some of the bite you're looking for. I think it would pair well with the juices you've mentioned, especially with some lemonade. (Maybe even some bitters?)
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:16 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Whoa. Ginger Syrup? Normally, the word syrup would be a turnoff since it just sounds like sugary junk to me (though correct me if I'm wrong about that), but in this case... that could be something! Curiosity: Piqued!
posted by 2oh1 at 7:24 PM on June 12, 2014

Syrups that you make yourself can be super-sweet but you can use as much or as little as you want! And you can add in whatever botanicala/etc. you want -- so let chunks of fresh ginger soak, or fresh mint (not at the same time). The syrup can hang out in your fridge for a while -- and since it's usually one-to-one (sugar-to-water), you can make as much or as little as you want. And then you can add it to your drinks as you want (and it won't take a lot).

I am not big on sugary sweet things, but I like balance. Simple syrup is about as easy as you can get when it comes to basic sweetness. It's easy enough to make so easy enough to try.
posted by darksong at 7:37 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

This book has many, many recipes for tasty goodness.
posted by bfranklin at 8:03 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, here's a list of the stuff I fucked around with in addition to ramen broth:

Ginseng tea, green tea, other types of tea
Cow blood diluted 10x
Bubble tea
Vinegar drinks taste righteously sour
I tried jello, I think it was weird
I recall letting coca-cola go flat and re-carbonating it was weird, because the flavor is different
Pocari Sweat
posted by curuinor at 8:45 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would also try Gatorade
posted by curuinor at 8:46 PM on June 12, 2014

Bitters are alcohol infused with herbs or spices. They're used in relatively small amounts (sometimes just a few drops) in many mixed drinks. I also like a few shakes in seltzer with a twist.

You may also want to check out shrubs or drinking vinegars. They are refreshing and can be quite complex. For a really easy readymade option, you can purchase infused vinegars (I particularly like fig or espresso infused balsamic) to mix with seltzer.
posted by annaramma at 9:14 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

Seconding bitters. Campari (citrus-y, bitter, faintly spicy) is amazing in soda water, and not overly sweet.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:28 PM on June 12, 2014

Also, if ginger syrup sounds too sweet, you can make straight-up unsweetened ginger tea by boiling sliced ginger root in water, and carbonate that once it cools. Probably you will find that it needs some sugar, but maybe not!
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:34 PM on June 12, 2014

I've never heard of Campiri before, but based on what I'm reading on wikipedia, it sounds fantastic. Side note: there's a mention of it being served with wine. With wine? As in, a glass of wine with a splash of Campiri?
posted by 2oh1 at 9:44 PM on June 12, 2014

Apparently an acquired taste to most non-Middle Eastern people, but I am very fond of doogh, which can be made with carbonated water. It's a savory yogurt and mint-based drink. You can also add cucumber for some added crunch. It's really refreshing in the summer, but it is definitely a heavier drink.
posted by yasaman at 10:03 PM on June 12, 2014

With wine? As in, a glass of wine with a splash of Campiri?

Yup, that's a thing. Campari and sparkling wine (or still wine plus soda water) is tasty.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:06 PM on June 12, 2014

I had a mead that I made which got contaminated with a vinegar bacteria during a move from Pennsylvania to Missouri. It actually tasted pretty good diluted in some seltzer or as a salad dressing with some olive oil. You could make it yourself fairly easily by diluting some honey and adding in yeast and then letting it ferment. Then add some naturally fermented vinegar to it being sure to get the sediment and leave it for another few weeks. I didn't manage to drink the entire 5 gallons, but I did save about a gallon which I used quickly and wished I had saved more.
posted by koolkat at 1:28 AM on June 13, 2014

Sour cherry juice.
posted by catatethebird at 4:57 AM on June 13, 2014

Another vote for homemade infused simple syrups. It's definitely sugar, but you can add it to taste (for example, I make lemonade and iced tea to a significantly lower sweetness than most bottled drinks and they are lovely). Ginger and mint are both really good, but you could do any herb or spice (rosemary, basil, hot peppers come to mind that might go well in drinks) and they will keep for weeks in the fridge.

All you need to do is add 1 part white sugar to 1 part water (1 cup of each is a good place to start) and heat on the stove until the sugar dissolves, then add your herb or spice and let it cool before fishing/filtering out the mix-in and sticking it in the fridge.

Some ideas: grape juice + splash of mint syrup, grapefruit juice + tarragon syrup, the pomegranate molasses idea above could be done really easily with mint syrup (and will help temper the sourness)
posted by quaking fajita at 5:24 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't know how it is on the sweetness scale but mango nectar, that thick creamy mango juice stuff, tastes really great carbonated. The bubbles work through that thick mango mouthfeel in a really appealing way. I carbonate mine by making it alcoholic but your machine would work too. I'd be interested to see what a bubbly mango lassi tastes like too actually.
posted by shelleycat at 10:14 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

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