A bottle of Jus Jus next to a pear, purple grapes, and a white flower.
Photo: Julia Sherman

The Sparkling Beverage We’ll Be Ringing In the New Year With

By Aileen Kwun
December 21, 2019
2 minute read

Artist, cookbook author, and chef Julia Sherman has had her fair share of memorable meals—her popular blog, Salad For President, posts photographs and recipes of the many dishes she’s shared in the company of friends and fellow artists: jerk shrimp and breadfruit with Simon Benjamin; green salad and dukkah with Joan Jonas, Gwenn Thomas, and Joana Avillez. But it was a happy accident that led to the idea of her latest project, Jus Jus, a sparkling alcoholic beverage made from verjus, a tart juice pressed from unripe grapes that’s typically used as a vinegary note in salads and marinades. Sherman had a homemade bottle of the stuff lying around, and one day discovered it had aged and fermented, producing a gentle fizz and a soft, mellow buzz when she tasted it. So she did what any artist-chef would do—she called up her winemaking friend Martha Stoumen, to experiment and see if they could make a batch of the stuff on purpose. Two years on, the duo has just launched their first pressing, a blend of unripe petite sirah and sweet muscat grapes, with an A.B.V. that’s so low, at 3 percent, that “it can’t be considered wine,” Sherman says, “but it’s similar to wine in that it’s always going to be changing from year to year.”

As a busy working mom, she also offers a practical and compelling case for Jus Jus: “Working in the food industry, there’s sort of a reason to drink every single night. It’s very hard to avoid, but I’m not definitely not sober, and I love to celebrate and enjoy the ritual of wine without having to get too drunk.” Hold the hangover; we’ll be popping a bottle of this come New Year’s Eve.