Sparkling alternatives have grown in popularity over the past decade, and for good cause: they're fun, curious, and don't necessarily leave you with Champagne breath.
And while for many people, a celebration is a time to splash the cash on Champagne for some celebratory sparkle but, while there’s no denying Champagne’s quality, it’s not the only fizz in town. And although Cava and Prosecco make worthy substitutes, we’ve been in search of something a little more imaginative.
We’ve picked ten sparkling drink alternatives, highlighting a star buy in each category. From an English wine to rival anything the French can muster, to a sparkling choice from Japan (and with a few options for the dry drinker too) we think there’s enough fizzy fun here for everyone. So say au revoir to Champagne, Adios to Cava and Ciao to Prosecco, and offer a hearty ‘cheers’ to this lot instead.
If you have guests who insist on their fizz being French then display some savvy with a Crémant and save yourself a few pounds in the process. Its effervescent charms are akin to its more illustrious compatriots while the fresh, light and fruity flavours will suit whatever the festive season asks of it.
All of which makes this exceptional Crémant from Alsace an absolute steal. Buy now, Ocado, £11.61
Even if saké is not your preferred tipple, you'll likely find sparkling saké delectably drinkable. This award-winning alternative to Champagne is dangerously drinkable. It matches champers in having clean, fine bubbles: (thanks to a second fermentation in the bottle).
Taste-wise, it has a whisper of sweetness, but none of the cloying brassiness of prosecco. It's less alcoholic than Champagne, making it perfect for drinking in abundance, and it pairs beautifully with both savoury and sweet foods. Buy now, £26, Harvey Nichols
Naturally sweet, crisply tannic, light and fruity – you could make a strong case for perry being an even better food-pairing bubbly than its appley ally, cider.
And for all of those qualities, Chapel Pleck Perry – produced in the perry heartland of Herefordshire – is a great place to start. Made using the traditional Champagne method it has the best possible bubbles to go with the full-bodied flavour of fermented pears. Buy now, £12.50, Locally Sourced
English wine is now respected throughout the world and it’s the fizzy stuff the country does best. Hattingley Valley’s Hampshire terroir and team of expert winemakers produce some of the best sparkling wine in the land, and this rosé will certainly keep you in the pink this Christmas.
Creamy, bubbly and full of fruity flavours, with strawberry to the fore, it’s a classy English wine to savour. Buy now, £37.75, The Whisky Exchange
Mead is an ancient brew made by fermenting honey, which Gosnell’s has fine-tuned for 21st century palates, with added sparkle too. The waft of honey immediately gets the senses twitching, while the taste buds will be treated to light, citrussy flavours that gently fade to a dry finish.
Full of character and an excellent choice with which to welcome guests and create an impression. Buy now, £3.39, Beerhawk
When it comes to alcohol free wines we find those with sparkle more convincing than their still counterparts – the fizz can be so forgiving. This de-alcoholised Spanish wine is an outstanding option, with acidic grape and peachy fruits flavours harmonising in a surprisingly vinous body that tricks you into thinking it contains alcohol.
A grown up drink that’s both fizzy and fun. Buy now, £7.99, Drydrinker.com
Pop the cork, pour this pale, cloudy, fermented tea and your glass will quickly form a crescendo of bubbles. As they subside you’ll notice a fruity tea aroma and a flavour that starts slightly sweet and lemony and finishes crisp and dry.
A fresh tasting and deliciously different alcohol free option. Buy now, £8, Drydrinker.com
If you’re a beer drinker who wants to join in with the cork-popping action then grab yourself a geuze. Fermented with wild yeasts in Belgium it’s naturally bubbly and has a slightly sour tang to it. Boon Oude Geuze is a great example of the style, with fresh grassy notes and some peppery spice to liven it up – and if you prefer something fruitier then look out for a cherry or raspberry flavoured geuze instead. Buy now, £5.89, Beerwulf
Some of the best party cocktails involve mixing champagne with even more booze, but what if you’re looking for a bubbly cocktail that’s alcohol free? New drinks brand Savyll has the answer – their boozeless take on prosecco and peach combo the Bellini.
It’s sweetly sparkling, pleasantly peachy and has a hint of musty grape in the background – and unlike a boozy Bellini, you’re free to enjoy as many as you like. Buy now, £11.99, Savyll.
If you think cider lacks the necessary sophistication for Christmas, then perhaps you’ve not come across keeved cider. It’s made by a process that involves a secondary fermentation at a cold temperature and produces a drink that is naturally sweet and sparkling, without the boozy teeth of a strong farmhouse cider.
It’s quite an art, which Somerset’s Pilton Cider has perfected, and few things go so well with food as their delicious apple nectar. Buy now, from £8.49, Pilton Cider.