What do you do when you want the taste of beer or wine, but don’t want the alcohol? There’s non-alcoholic beer, but that tends to be bland. Why not try something new? Something like a lollipop, perhaps? That’s the idea behind Lollyphile’s line of alcohol-flavored lollipops: all the flavor, none of the alcohol.
“Our alcohol flavored lollipops hit you with the flavor you want in a strong drink, without the hangover,” Lollyphile’s FAQ reads. Reading down the ingredients list, the source of that flavor isn’t exactly clear. There’s sugar, corn syrup, and “natural & artificial flavors and colors.”
But how does it stack up to actual alcohol? VinePair tried three wine flavors — Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay — and three beer flavors — lager, IPA, and stout. Here’s how close each lollipop came to the real thing.
Tasted most similar to the beer it was trying to emulate. There are the coffee and dusty espresso notes that are common in stouts. The only thing throwing it off is the rock candy sweetness, which turned out to be a recurring theme.
Has some green to it and the most subtle bitterness you can get in candied sugar. It’s also a little green tasting and citrusy as well. What it lacked in IPA flavors it made up for in tasty lollipop flavors.
Not like a lager at all. It’s far too sweet. There’s something a little drying to the lolly, too, though. Just don’t sip it next to a straight-up lager.
Smells like candy and is surprisingly dry. If you remove the acidity of a Cabernet Sauvignon (and the oak if that’s prevalent), you’ve got a lollipop somewhat close to wine. Sugary wine, that is. It’s the closest of the wine-tasting lollies.
Tastes like plain white rock candy. If it’s a Chardonnay, it’s a really thin, really light, really sugared-up and unoaked Chardonnay. There’s simply not much there.
A flower of sugar. Great as a lollipop, less great as a lollipop with a wine name.