If you are avoiding alcohol, dinner parties can be hard going. There's very little that can substitute for the rich, pleasant experience of a glass of wine, cupped in your hands and paired with the food on the table. But a few people are trying to recreate that experience with a non-alcoholic beverage, and the latest is 12 Noon to Midnight.
12 Noon to Midnight is a company started by two chefs who wanted something non-alcoholic yet food-friendly to serve to their guests. Like this Golden Star White Jasmine Tea we reviewed a little while ago, this beverage is based on tea, with some fruit juices added as well.
There are two flavors, one a peachy white, and another a sparkling dark pink. I tried both of them, and enjoyed them both quite a lot. But I wasn't sure if I would substitute them for wine, especially with food.
They both are extremely light and refreshing — not too sweet, and each flavor has only about 60 calories per 8 ounce glass, which less than half the calories of wine.
But how do they taste? And how do they compare to wine? Well, both are quite fizzy — as you can see in the photos, they foamed up quite a bit when poured into the glass. The lighter flavor has immediate notes of peach, apricot, and white grape, as well as an almost musty note that I attributed to the green tea. This actually was a little off-putting for me. But the aftertaste was lovely — a long finish of apricot tanginess. This was a little sweet for my tastes, but I could see serving it with a crisp green salad.
The second flavor, the Rouge, was drier. It smelled like Kool-Aid when I poured it out, but it was dry and bubbly on the palate. It had notes of dark cherry and plum, and very short finish. It reminded me of a light rosé wine.
Ultimately, I enjoyed these — they are extremely refreshing and fun to drink. But they don't have anything approaching the complexity and depth of real wine, and while I think they could potentially be paired with food, I would be cautious about what I served them with.
But they are so fun to drink, and not too sweet. I think their real strength could be as mixers for herbal syrups and other fun flavors, to create non-alcoholic yet refreshing and sophisticated (non-alcoholic) wine cocktails.
Have you tried 12 Noon to Midnight yet? What did you think of it?
• Find it: 12 Noon to Midnight, $75 for a case of 12 at Foodzie. Also available at Whole Foods, Wegman's, and other grocery stores across the country.
Related: Non-Alcoholic (Yet Special!) Sips for the Holidays
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Faith Durand)