France Makes Coke-Flavored Wine; Americans Laugh and Start Planning Other Wine/Soda Combos
Worst addition problem EVER.
Collage by Kaitlin Steinberg
When I first read it on NPR's food blog, I thought I'd somehow started reading The Onion without realizing it. I glanced up at the header at the top of the page. Still NPR. Oh God, it must be true...
It seems it is true and also sad and funny and terribly confusing. French vintner Haussmann Famille has just released a red wine called Rouge Sucette (translation: red lollipop) made from 75 percent grapes and 25 percent water. That sounds okay until you keep reading and see that the wine also contains added sugar and cola flavoring. According to the NPR article, it is meant to be served chilled.
Red wine. Chilled. With Coke. Mon dieu!
Initially I was mad at France. I've already waxed poetic about my love for the country on this very blog, so naturally I expect more from the people who brought us coq au vin and Gérard Depardieu. But then I got to thinking. Okay, so wine consumption in France is down, and now the vintners have to adapt to the changing times. America needs to beat them to it!
So here, for your reading (and possibly vomiting) pleasure, are the top 6 wine-and-soda combinations that need to hit the French market next. Santé! And I'm sorry.
6. Squirt + Gewürztraminer
Though I've never been a big soda drinker, I've always loved Squirt. Most descriptions of it simply refer to its flavor as "citrus," but it's definitely an iteration of grapefruit soda. Gewürztraminer is both fun to say and a delicious sweet, off-dry German white wine. People often describe Gewürztraminer as having notes of passion fruit, lychee, roses and, yes, grapefruit! So the pairing is only natural if you think about it (and I mean really think about it). Though Squirt is fizzy, this wine would be still (that's flat for you soda drinkers) and would pair well with barbecue, Asian food and the 1950s.
5. Blue Sky Black Cherry Soda + Cabernet Sauvignon
Blue Sky is the "healthy" soda because all of its sodas are made with all-natural ingredients, and some of them are even organic. Just so you don't feel quite as bad about those empty calories. Black Cherry is definitely one of Blue Sky's best creations, because it actually kind of tastes like black cherry. Cabernet is a fruity red with high tannins and has hints of plum and black cherry. Cabernet grapes are often blended with other wines like Merlot, so why not soda? Pair this marvelous new beverage with red meat, dark chocolate and this weed varietal, apparently called "Black Cherry Soda."
4. Dr. Pepper + Red Zinfandel
As a Texan, Dr Pepper holds a special place in my heart. It was the beverage of choice at my awkward middle school parties, and its unique flavor means that it can pair well with just about anything. No, wait. It pairs with just about nothing. Except, in my opinion, a nice, peppery Zinfandel. Some people taste spicy strawberry or cherry in White Zinfandel's dark, mysterious cousin. I'd drink a Dr Pepper Zin with a nice, juicy burger on a date with my middle school crush, who still lives at home with his mom.
3. Canada Dry Ginger Ale + Chardonnay
The "dry" in "Canada Dry" originally referred to the fact that its ginger ale was dry rather than sweet, like a dry white wine. These days, it seems every soda must meet a sugar quota to be marketable, so even Canada Dry is on the sweet side. Good thing there's an abundance of rich, dry Chardonnay in the world. No, really, Chardonnay grapes are grown pretty much everywhere except Asia and Antarctica. It's oaky and nutty and pairs great with Asian food loaded with ginger. So sit down to some Thai ginger chicken and knock back a bottle of Chardonnale. No, wait. Chardinger Ale. Never mind.
2. Jones Cream Soda + "Blanc de Blancs" Champagne
Jones Soda is notorious enough for its own flavor combinations that I probably should just wait for the company to come out with Champagne Cream Soda on its own. But until they do, I recommend mixing some sweet, vanilla-y cream soda with an extra special "blanc de blancs" Champagne. It may seem blasphemous to muddle a fancy beverage only produced in a single region of France, but go with me on this one. "Blanc de blancs" means "white of whites" because this type of Champagne is made using only white grapes, as opposed to most Champagne, which is made using a mixture of white and red. It's described as rich, creamy and smoky with notes of honey, apple and maybe a little lemon. Top off a glass with some sweet cream soda to cut the dryness of the Champagne, and you've got yourself a drink to rival the ever-popular French 75 cocktail. Mark my words.
1. A&W Root Beer + Syrah Rosé
Historically, root beer was slightly fermented, and therefore had a low alcohol content. These days, it's primarily a nonalcoholic soda, but I think that's unfortunate. The sassafras root is positively crying out to be boozy once again! Enter a Syrah Rosé, dry and mineral with notes of almond, peach and even watermelon. In spite of some fruity flavors, a Syrah Rosé isn't particularly sweet, so it would pair well with a bitter root beer made the old-fashioned way. This Rosé Root Beer Wine would be best consumed with a nutty ice cream. Actually, since we've already come this far, let's just go ahead and turn it into a Rosé Root Beer Wine Pecan Praline Ice Cream Float.
Again, France, I'm sorry.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Houston dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.