Sunday, March 20, 2011

Drown your spirits


Crabbie’s alcoholic ginger beer has a stout, impressive looking bottle, trying to emulate the kind of vessel associated with real ale.

On first crack there is a light, spicy aroma of ginger, the head is very impressive and the  amber tint neither too cloudy nor too clear - the substance is there but it’s not all sediment. On tasting, however, the beverage is deceptively light. Crisp and benefitting from being chilled, the ginger taste itself is very mild, even if it does linger, and the bubbles aren’t really in evident. The drink is a very easy one, and it’s a wonder that there was any need for the invention of alcopops at all if this were an available alternative. With none of the bitingly sweet tones of the chemically enhanced likes of WKD and Smirnoff Ice, this feels like a much more preferable choice for those who prefer their alcohol to be sweet rather than bitter, even though the ingredients do point to the use of sulphites, sugar and sweeteners. Much is made of the elephant trademark dating back to 1801 and the emblazoned statement in ‘original’ ginger beer, but the ingredients are unlikely to set this far from the alcopop crowd. Still, this is ahead in taste and I would recommend for those who are after a refreshing brew with a light kick (4%).

Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry

On cracking there’s only the faintest hint of cherry, certainly not the sweet tang of cherry drop boiled sweets I’d associate with flavoured cola. The high fizz factor of a diet cola is present and correct, but the large head soon gives way to a tamer brew with that familiar brown-hued darkness to the liquid. With the drink loose in a pint glass the cherry aroma is no stronger than from the can; the first taste isn’t 100% smooth, but there certainly isn’t that acidic hit you’d get from a badly made artificial flavour. As with the odour, the taste is light, supplying an edge to the usual diet pepsi taste, doing the job of adding highlights without overwhelming the original. This is something I could get used to, if it were a standard addition to most shops’ pop lockers.

The ingredients feature the usual suspects with only calcium disodium an unfamiliar addition. Crucially the can states ‘contains no juice’ in order to cover themselves against people assuming that the use of ‘wild’ and ‘with other natural flavours’ goes hand in hand with organic or the drink being good for you.

Guarana Antarctica

Subtitled O Original Do Brasil, so I’m assuming that this is Portuguese and it’s a Brazilian drink with guarana as a chief ingredient. Guarana was marketed in the 90s, before Red Bull achieved fame, as a natural stimulant, appearing in drinks and chewing gum with promises of alertness. I tried the gum but don’t remember it having any particular effect

That ingredient list is dense as hell.

On cracking the can there’s a quick citric whiff, but this weakens quickly. The fizz on pouring is moderate, with a small head that subsides almost immediately. The colour isn’t that appealing, piss yellow in keeping with energy drinks but slightly less radioactive looking than red bull.
The odour in a glass is less citrus and more sugary, hinting at syrupy thickness. IT goes down smooth though, the sugar not leaving an unpleasant coating and a taste somewhat like muted lime. This does taste more natural than your average buzz beverage.


Made by the coca cola company, this beverage smells a bit like diet coke on first cracking the can, it looks like diet coke after you first pour, and it also tastes like diet coke, albeit with an unpleasantly metallic/soily aftertaste. I remember Tab clear being basically a way of having clear cola, but I can’t see the point in Tab at all.

Diet A&W root beer

On the crack you get a strong whiff of liquorice, very reminiscent of dental mouthwash. Whilst the gloop looks like your standard cola in the glass that medicinal taste is overpowering, with only a hint akin to sweet caramel from the ‘aged vanilla’ underneath.
Not something I’d like to sample again, definitely a stronger taste than the naturally brewed root beer I’ve tried before.

1 comment:

  1. I'm guessing this Tab is Coke trying to jump on some retro-bandwagon. Back in the early-80s, Tab was firmly Number 3 in the cola Market behind Coke & Pepsi.
    There's a joke about it in Back to the Future, firmly fixing its place in pop culture. I drank it back then but have no memory whatsoever of how it tasted.