Jump with joy, because today is the first of June! I’m a little biased towards June’s greatness - it’s my birthday at the weekend - but if the current weather reports are correct, then this month will see a mega heatwave for the UK, and that is something to be excited about!
Where there’s sun, there’s fun. You’ll probably be getting the BBQ out (see our National BBQ Week posts from last week), having friends over, playing some tunes, and all that jazz. But a sizzling start to the summer desperately calls out for some tasty, thirst quenching drinks, though you knew that, right? And Ideally you want drinks that don’t require you to do anything; simply open and enjoy.
As luck would have it, I’ve come across a couple of new(ish) delights, both of which involve berries, and both would be perfect for when it’s hot, hot, HOT; Harry Brompton’s Berries & Cucumber Alcoholic Ice Tea and Pimm’s Cider Cup.
You might recognise Harry Brompton’s, Jo wrote about them in August after she’d been to London’s Feast Festival. Well, last month at The Cheltenham Jazz Festival, tucked away in the Waitrose Secret Garden, I was glad to find a little stall dishing out the Alcoholic Ice Tea. (Free booze with a flash of your Waitrose Card is much better than just a cup of tea or coffee *HINT HINT*) Anyway, not only did they have the original flavour, but there was the new Harry Brompton’s Berries & Cucumber.
Launched in 2013, HB’s Ice Tea is a blend of Kenyan black teas, craft distilled vodka and natural citrus. There’s more to it than all the usual super sweet ‘ready-to-drink’s, so much so that it actually won them a Great Taste Award in 2014! The new addition is a refreshing twist on the original; it combines the same black teas with juicy raspberries, tart cranberries and cooling cucumber. It’s been around since November but, with summer in sight, I feel like it’s just about to come into its own.
Lightly sparkling at 4% ABV, HB’s Berries & Cucumber has a clear, deep amber appearance with a zesty aroma of ripe raspberry notes and undertones of green herbaceous cucumber. Taste-wise, the sweet raspberries take the lead, followed by tea flavours and subtle tannins. Then the tart cranberries and savoury cucumber come in on the finish, making it incredibly moreish.
Served over ice in a plastic cup, with an excellent branded straw, and garnished with blueberries and slices of cucumber, I was sold. The tannins from the tea seems to be the thing that sets Harry Brompton’s apart from other fruit flavoured alcoholic drinks, and it’s an exciting and unique alternative; a sure fire hit.
Harry Brompton’s Berries & Cucumber Alcoholic Ice Tea is available from Waitrose for £2.00, though it’s on offer at £1.60 until tomorrow, so go stock up today!
The other new berry-infused booze is the Pimm’s Cider Cup. I know that every bleedin’ cider brand seems to have jumped on the fruit flavoured bandwagon, but this product, from the drinks giant Diageo, is a little different.
Pimm’s is a summer staple, us Brits all seem to go crazy for it as soon as there’s even a glimmer of sunshine outside, and although there’s a new version out – strawberry and mint – it was the Pimm’s Cider Cup that grabbed my attention. Crisp British cider blended with Pimm’s No. 1, and flavoured with those all-important hints of strawberry and cucumber.
Best drunk from a glass over ice, this has garden party vibes written all over it, and at 4% you’re not going to get embarrassingly drunk before it gets dark. The strawberry and cucumber stand loud and proud, and then the juicy apples creep in giving a sweet cider taste. The use of cucumber maintains a refreshing quality to the drink, and there's enough acidity to ensure it doesn’t taste overly sugary.
I’ve said it so many times before; I don't really like Pimm's. It's sweet on sweet thanks to mixing the spirit with lemonade, and although the added fruit garnishes draw me in, they always end up a being a bit macerated and minging. So as a Pimm's-a-phobe, I was surprised to find that I actually quite enjoyed this; the cider seems to balance it out, adding a bit more intrigue, and it’s simply a nice play on the classic flavours. Thumbs up!
You can find Pimm’s Cider Cup in Tesco priced at £2.29, though you can get 3 for £5.00, so grab a few bottles and light up the BBQ; this would accompany it perfectly.