A while back we played around with carbonating drinks using one of the home soda makers. It worked reasonably well and we were pretty happy with the results. However, those things aren’t really meant for cocktails; in fact, the directions specifically tell you not to put in things like fruit juice. We of course disregarded that, because cocktails without fruit juice would leave us pretty limited. As it turns out, there is actually a device meant specifically for carbonating cocktails, fruit juice and all. This magical appliance is called the Perlini.
The Perlini had been on our wish list for quite some time when they graciously offered to send us one to try out (check out our Samples Policy to understand why we’re even talking about it). So we’ve been putting the Perlini through its paces, and we have to say it is very nice to have something specifically designed for carbonating cocktails. One of the first things we realized is that we no longer needed fizzy wine for fizzy wine cocktails! We could simply add still wine and carbonate the whole thing. Now that’s an exciting idea. So we pulled out a bottle of dry, light white wine with a flavor profile similar to cava and opened up a bottle of fizzy wine (cava, big surprise) to do a side by side comparison. We chose the French 75 as our go-to fizzy wine cocktail to see if using carbonated vs. still wine made a difference.
- 2 oz gin
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 2 tsp sugar
- fizzy wine
Shake first 3 ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass. Top with fizzy wine. Garnish with a brandied cherry.
For the Perlini version, add all ingredients to the shaker. Add ice. Carbonate. Shake. Strain into a glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.
- Nose: Lemon, roses, juniper, tart white wine.
- Palate: Sweet lemon, juniper, rose, acidic/minerally wine.
- Nose: Almost identical with a touch more lemon.
- Palate: Almost identical.
What we discovered is that there was little discernible difference between the two taste and scent wise. The Perlini version had slightly larger and fewer bubbles, but that was about it. Which is cool, as it means we don’t need to always open a bottle of fizzy wine just to make a cocktail or two, because then it goes flat before we finish it. 😦 (Though the Perlini folks also make the Perlage, which allows you to keep bottles of fizzy wine carbonated or to re-carbonate them).
We then realized that we could carbonate any type of wine we wanted, which is doubly cool. Suddenly we can noodle around with different flavor profiles! Very exciting. So we popped out to the store and picked up a bottle of Beaujolais to play around with. We tried several different base spirits to see what it paired well with. Brandy worked well, whiskey not so much, but Calvados turned out to be the winner. From there, we wanted to temper the fruitiness and add some depth. A splash of amaro did just the trick. Finally some Angostura and a bit of sweetness rounded things out and we were good to go.
- 1 1/2 oz calvados
- 1 1/2 oz lighter fruitier red wine like a Beaujolais
- 1 oz amaro (We used the Nardini)
- 1 dash Angostura
- 1 bar spoon simple syrup
Add all ingredients to the Perlini. Carbonate. Shake with ice. Strain into a glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.
- Nose: Dry apple, black cherry jam, hint of wood smoke.
- Palate: Fruit up front, apple and jammy cherry with nice acidity from the carbonation. Mid-palate is sweet oak, cola, and a little bit of wood smoke. Finish is unsweetened cocoa, cedar wood and a hint of tannin-y nuttiness like walnut shell. Carbonation really lightens the flavor.
Very tasty. The carbonation definitely adds a different dimension and really brightens up the drink. Fun!
We are definitely sold on the Perlini. It’s great in that you don’t have to always open a bottle of fizzy wine or club soda to make a sparkling cocktail, plus you can carbonate all sorts of things. If we had one complaint it’s that you can go through a lot of the little CO2 canisters. However they do sell an adapter that allows you to use the larger CO2 canisters for the home soda machines. Definitely worth investing in if you’re going to be using it a lot. Until next time, cheers!