Chow Bella

Cascal Fermented Natural Soda: The Wine Cooler For Non-Winos

We heard about this product and just had to try it - Cascal. We love the Dry Sodas and we also love kombucha. We thought it'd be something like a blend of the two. It's marketed as a non-alcoholic wine-ish type product - especially with food pairing suggestions on the website and the logo looking like a tabletop stained by wine glasses. It's sort of a non-alcoholic, fermented, wine cooler, soda-type drink. We spotted them at Cost Plus World Market and grabbed the two flavors from the refrigerated cooler up front and gave them each a swig.

Even with 31% juice, they beverage didn't taste too sweet and it was bubbly but not so effervescent as to induce an instant belch. It's actually really delicious. They each had a floral quality that was a nice complement to the fruit and fizz.

Cascal comes in the following flavor blends:
Crisp White with notes of pear apple and magnolia. Pairs well with brie, sushi and strawberry ice cream.
Fine Dark with notes of honey and malt. Pairs well with goat cheese, barbequed meats and creme brulee.
Fine Dry with notes of apple and anise. This is the new one. Pairs well with blue cheese, pasta with red sauce and cherry pie.
Ripe Rouge with notes of cherry, chocolate and rose. Pairs well with asiago cheese, grilled beef and chocolate.
Light Red with notes of black current and mirabelle. Pairs well with blue cheese, pasta with red sauce and cherry pie.

We tried the Crisp White and the Light Red. The neck is covered with a plastic type covering which makes the easy open twist top easier to open. It might be a nod to the whole wine alternative thing too. They really taste just like the listed "notes" description. They describe it also as a "grown up" taste and that's actually a good definition. My kids probably wouldn't be into these but it's a nice alternative to a diet coke or the super sweet sparkling cider Martinelli's. The Crisp White would be a nice stand in for champagne at a baby shower or for any designated drivers. The Light Red was delicious too but if given the choice we'd pick up a four pack of the Crisp White for ourselves or our non-drinking guests.

We picked up our sample at Cost Plus -- at $1.79 ea they ain't cheap -- and it looks like Whole Foods Market carries this, too. We're not sure we'd plan the menu around the food pairing suggestions they give but we give them a thumbs up as a nice pool party addition this summer.

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