Never mind the name — which is proof perhaps that everything is taken by now — what exactly is a “culinary beverage,” as 12 Noon to Midnight claims to be.
I’ve yet to figure out the nuance of the term, but here’s what I can tell you: 12 Noon to Midnight is a non-alcoholic, sparkling drink, available in both white and red/pink varieties. It’s clearly intended as a wine substitute, but it is not positioned as a non-alcoholic wine. In fact, it is made out of tea (white, green, and black) and flavored with herbs and citrus “essence” — though the rouge version has actual pomegranate and red grape juice in it.
That all adds up, I suppose, to a “culinary” beverage.
The flavors are difficult to describe, and 12 Noon to Midnight is not lying when it says it is “unlike anything you have ever tasted.” Sparkling, cold, citrus-infused spiced tea? Sure.
12 Noon to Midnight Original is the “blanc” flavor, a light yellow drink with more fizz in it than you might think. The immediate kick is very tea-heavy. Black tea, mostly, and it’s prominent on the nose, too. You get spice — cinnamon and ginger — only on the finish, along with the citrus portion of the drink. Orange/tangerine, with maybe a touch of lemon. All of this comes together less deliciously than one would hope, but it’s not bad — and it’s indeed different. Lightly bitter, with a sweetish finish, it occupies more the realm of flavored sparkling waters than it does anything else. B
12 Noon to Midnight Rouge has a stronger flavor, and is a bit like the Original version in reverse. Here the sweetness is up front, a clear pomegranate juice kick, which then fades into an earthy, black tea character. You also get the tea on the nose, more so than with the Original. Rouge is a bit more straightforward but it still features a complex flavor that is at odds with the way it looks in the glass. Ultimately I like it just about the same: Pleasant and a little refreshing, but perhaps in need of more sweetness. B
60 calories per 8 oz. serving.
each $10 per 750ml bottle