Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Rekorderlig Cider Cooler Bag Gift Set Review

To a cider novice like me, fruit ciders are akin to going on your first blind date. At first, you are sceptical, believing that its going to be a disaster and you're going to be left sorely disappointed at the end result, moving on to curiosity when you see them for the first time, intrigued about what is in store, then (depending on your particular tastes in life) either developing a wonderful and long lasting relationship with them or walking away, saying that you'll meet again, but turning your back and running, far, far away...

So, it was with this sense of trepidation that I approached the well-known Scandanavian cider producer Rekorderlig's new Strawberry & Lime cider and cooler bag gift set (£15 at Sainsburys), packed within a fantastically compact cooler bag with 2 suavely shaped glasses to attract my attention and start the (metaphorically speaking) 'courting ritual'.

Rekorderlig was born in Sweden back in 1999, just as the cider boom was starting to grip the UK. More and more people, who mainly saw cider as the only thing in a farmer's daily diet, were getting swept along in the 'over ice' craze. Recently, UK sales of cider have hit the £1 billion mark, thanks to the rise in production of fruity ciders away from the traditional apple and pear based efforts.

I used the opportunity to get a few quality fiancé points in the bag and got my dear other half (I have been instructed to refer to her by the mysterious moniker 'The Lass') to get in on the act of sampling, as I treated her to a swiftly planned picnic in Stratford-upon-Avon.

After leaving the pretty stylish cooler bag in the fridge for the morning, along with the bottles of soon-to-be-consumed cider, I packed in the suggested ingredients of mint and lime into the bag and left en route to rural Warwickshire Thankfully (as drinking cider straight out of the bottle with the associated paper bag has mysteriously fallen out of fashion) contained within the cooler bag are two swanky glasses. Looking as cool as ABBA were in the 1970s, they look the part and are quintessential Scandinavian chic.

A quick dash up the motorway and we were there, frantically searching for a place for our al-fresco outing before the 'British summer rain' caught up with us. As we unloaded the hastily bought supermarket sandwiches, pork pies and cake, it seemed like as good a time as any to start making up my first attempt of 'cocktail cider'.

Pouring the cider into the glasses (still perfectly chilled, by the way... not bad since we'd been in the motor for 25 minutes driving), I ripped up the mint and dashed it in the glass, spliced the lime and plopped a slice into the top and gave a deft squeeze of lime juice to finish. Its the closest I've come to channeling the spirit of Tom Cruise in 'Cocktail', but it didn't impress The Lass in the slightest. 

Even though it was a Strawberry & Lime effort, I was happy that it didn't smell of the awful synthetic strawberry flavour that reminds me of lip balms. The strawberry-ness was there, but not overpowering, so I went into the first sip thinking it wasn't going to knock me sideways with an over-sweetened saccharine taste. I took a swift look over to the The Lass, who was, rather than sitting in quiet contemplation of the possible taste explosion that was to come, had simply knocked a quarter of the glass back and was busy getting attacked by a wasp. Can't get the company these days.

I had a slurp and was pleasantly surprised. The strawberry flavour was there, but again, not overpowering and the lime (which was probably a tad boosted by my squeeze of juice) gave a real freshness to the drink. The mint also had a helping hand in balancing the sharpness of the lime with the slight sweetness of the strawberry. 

It was then that The Lass saw that I had a job to do in reviewing the beverage, so gave her two pence worth by saying that it had a real blood orange kind of flavour to it too, which I had to say I agreed with, adding something of the exotic to the drink.

A very moreish drink, it didn't take long for it to be consumed in its entirety, which I think tells its own story. It is a great alternative to Pimm's, if like me, you find that too fruity and sweet.

Going back to the metaphor that I started the article with, if I could compare this drink once more to a blind date, I think this one has the potential for a second date... And third... And fourth...

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