In the last post, we introduced you to the Sauvage, a wine proxy meant to resemble a a crisp white wine, like a sauvignon blanc. This time we’re deviating even more from what is traditionally wine into something which feels entirely different—the Zephyr. Finally, one with a bit more personality that we’ll examine. In this ultimate review of the Acid League Wine Proxy Zephyr, you’ll learn:
- What does the Acid League Wine Proxy Zephyr taste like?
- How to drink the Acid League Wine Proxy Zephyr
- Where can I buy Acid League?
- My overall recommendation
After the last two tries with Acid League, I had some hope for the rest of the set. With two more bottles to go, I am just waiting for one that I am going to have a knee jerk reaction to. But so far, with each of them, they have had a flavor profile that makes me go Huh—That’s interesting and I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing yet.
This time around, thinking I was going to have something similar to a red wine, I was prepared to have it with my steak dinner. But after the first sip I knew it wasn’t the right match and would plan to save it for another day instead.
It took me a while to figure out what to do with it besides pour it down the drain. But I'm so glad that I didn't! Read to the end to find out why!
What does the Acid League Wine Proxy Zephyr taste like?
Like the the prior two wine proxies, the Zephyr is not a de-alcoholized wine—and as I have come to expect, it tastes nothing like wine.
When pouring the Zephyr, it has a beautiful pale pink color, similar to a rose but more pink. So based on that alone, I immediately started getting juice vibes, but was curious about what it might actually taste like. The Nightshade had a surprising amount of tannins, so I was hoping something similar would balance this drink.
On the nose, the zephyr was immensely fruity with notes of strawberry, rhubarb and lemon. With this one, there is no surprise when drinking it. It tastes exactly as it smells: sweet berries. There was some vegetal and tart flavors due to the rhubarb, but ultimately it felt very one dimensional and sweet. You can’t taste any of the more interesting ingredients like the sichuan peppercorn at all. Honestly, this one felt even more flat than the other wine proxies.
When it comes to mouth feel, the Zephyr feels even more syrupy than the Sauvage. And because it’s so sweet, it’s a bit like drinking like an expensive strawberry lemonade—and you can’t drink very much of it straight from a wine glass.
How to drink the Acid League Wine Proxy - Zephyr
So because it’s so syrupy and sweet, I definitely think it needs to be served as a dessert wine as a small quantity or be served with some modifications.
If serving as a dessert wine, it could be served with something like coconut cake, pineapple upside down cake, or even strawberry shortcake. I would not serve it with strawberry pie because it would be sweet on sweet and too cloying—especially without the bite of alchohol. The fruit in the dessert would play off the fruit qualities in the Zephyr as well. I can see it playing especially well with tropical flavors.
If serving as a dessert wine, it needs to be chilled. Serving at room temperature would NOT be good. You could even use it as a way to macerate berries to add dimension before serving over something like ice cream or before putting on a fruit tart. If you’re going to make a desert where a gelée is required, it would be fantastic for that. In fact, I’m kicking myself for not making it into a gelée layer with vanilla cake and some fresh fruit and whipped cream filling. Now that would have been a show stopper!
If serving in a cocktail, I would use it in a tiki drink, a bramble, or something that is spirit forward that needs cherry. Since these are non-alcoholic drinks, I would definitely want to balance it out with something bitter with a lot of gentian or something else with more botanicals to add complexity.
On the flip side, I did something a bit more adventurous and used it to modify a classic Aviation cocktail with some strawberry flavor instead of maraschino liqueur. In this version, I don’t use my Drycraft Creme de Violette either and just sub the Zephyr and it works ok. You don’t get the same violet color, but you do get a ruby red drink that is still very pretty. Check out my recipe to for a Drycraft Aviation here.
Ingredient Call Outs
- Gluten Free
- Contains Sulfites
- Low in sugars (roughly 9 grams)
My overall recommendation
I would not buy Acid League’s Zephyr again unless I had a very specific use in mind for it, like for a dessert. It was too sweet for my taste and not versatile enough to use in a variety of cocktails.
Where can I buy Acid League Wine Proxies?
You can buy directly via Acid League for the best prices. Shipping is free for all orders over $125, and for orders under $125, shipping is a flat rate $7.50.