Pretty high praise

Gran Steads GingerI must say that before these beverages arrived I was unaware that I was reviewing non alcoholic drinks and was rather looking forward to the sugary kick of some nice old fashioned ginger wine. None the less I persevered with the three bottles of drink that arrived on my doorstep.

The ginger wine is apparently made to a 150 year old recipe and is similar in its dark amber brown colour to the alcoholic version. Winner of gold in the Great Taste Awards, the taste is unexpectedly fruity from the lemons, which works very well with the ginger giving a pleasing tartness to balance the sweetness. Initially, it isn’t stronger than a fiery ginger beer, but wait a couple of seconds for the after burn - this packs some serious heat!

Gran Steads GingerThis unexpected kick comes from capsicum chillies which work rather brilliantly, providing slow-burn warmth from at back of the throat. This heat, like chillies, is quite addictive and this goes some way to replacing the kick of alcohol so that you don’t feel like you’re missing out. It tastes like a grown up drink, not as sugary as ginger-beer and without the fizz factor – and it reminds me most of a cordial. It would taste great as a mixer, over ice and warmed up for a lovely before bed drink. Of course, you could go and add a load of your favourite alcohol (rum and vodka would work well) and serve over ice.

Gran Stead’s also produce old-fashioned still lemonade; with and without the addition of ginger. I tried both versions and found them to be as good as my homemade lemonade, which is pretty high praise. They taste entirely natural without the synthetic lemon flavour that so many shop brands have. It’s very drinkable and refreshing, and the addition of ginger is complimentary for those who like the stuff.

What struck me most about these lovely drinks was the natural flavour and the balance in the ingredients. The products have the right amount of heat, the right sweetness and the right amount of acidity. They come in 75cl glass bottles and Gran Stead’s Ginger Wine is priced at £3.95 per bottle while lemonade is £2.15.

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The last time I experienced that lovely taste was in the late forties and fifties and I had given up hope of ever tasting it again.

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