Oh, you thought our Thanksgiving op-eds were bad? Gird your stockings for the least wonderful time of the year, when the merry gentlepeople of MEL attempt to outdo one another with the most heinous holiday takes we can unwrap. We can already feel the angry tweets nipping at our noses.
Personally, I’d rather drink a warm cup of fermented horse milk than down a flute of champagne. If you want to have a toast, get yourself some scotch, a good bourbon, ol’ fashioned sipping whiskey or even backcountry moonshine, any of them will class up your toast in a way champagne never could. Or better yet, grab a bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider. It’s not just for recovering alcoholics and the kiddie table, it’s a gold-medal-winning, alcohol-free beverage that’s also excellent for any special occasion. Martinelli’s has the same crisp, bubbly effervescence as champagne, but it actually tastes good, too.
Champagne is at its best in the hands of half-naked pro athletes as they spray it into the eyes of their coach and teammates after they’ve won a championship. Or when it’s smashed against the side of a ship. To say nothing of how it’s the perfect propellant to shoot a cork clear across a room, the money shot of alcoholic beverages. But drink it? That’d be like eating confetti. Champagne is meant to fall on, and stick to, the floor. That’s its ideal purpose.
I mean, if you want to drink it, sure, go ahead. It’s your headache. But you should know, you’re not impressing anyone. Champagne has the same vibe as renting a limo. It tastes like how a country club feels, or like how pretentious people sound. If you could turn a fake laugh into a liquid, it would taste like champagne. In short, champagne is the Ivanka Trump of the alcohol section.
Along these lines, the oft-used meme, “It’s only champagne if it comes from the Champagne region of France, otherwise it’s sparkling ____,” regularly serves as a reminder of the primary value of champagne — pretentiousness. Champagne is a means of saying, “I’m special,” without those words ever leaving your lips. For good reason, I guess — the most impressive aspect of champagne is the price per bottle. Like, “Word?!?! You paid how much?!?!” It’s very French in this regard.
We’re not going anywhere in this pandemic — or at least, we shouldn’t be — so flashes of status like bottle service at the club are now meaningless. You could pop corks at home on Zoom, but that would be worse than drinking what’s inside the bottle. Besides, at home, you’ll drink something you actually enjoy, not a collection of bubbles that’s guaranteed to leave you feeling as if someone is hammering a giant nail into your optic nerve the next morning.
Which, of course, brings me back to the real deal, never-go-wrong, goes-down-strong Martinell’s Sparkling Cider. The brand is family-owned and operated. It’s located in the Pajaro Valley, near Watsonville in Northern California, where they’ve been making crisp, delicious apple cider since 1868. And the recipe is perfection personified: Martinelli’s Cider tastes like the handcrafted product of a small-batch distiller or a family winery — there’s no factory feel or taste (with 50 gold medals as proof).
In other words, Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider is the spiritual opposite of champagne — it’s unassuming and unpretentious while still delivering the same fun and celebratory head of bubbles. Best of all, it’s good because of how it tastes, not good because of who sees you drinking it.
So if you’re going to celebrate tonight — and I can’t blame you if you’re not — grab a bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider, peel back the cap, pour some of that golden ambrosia into a glass and ring in a hopefully much better year with a drink that embodies seasonal cheer instead of capitalistic snobbery.