I stumbled upon a bottle of Robinsons Strawberries and Cream cordial while stumbling round the cramped aisles of my local off-licence. In pursuit of caustic soda (don’t put this in your SodaStream kids) to put my drains back to polished perfection, I suddenly found myself at eye-level with a bottle of evil pinky-red liquid proclaiming itself in celebration of the 60th jubilee of our esteemed Queen Liz.
I’ve got a half-hearted relationship with the strawberry as a fruit. Highly regarded by others and occupying the upper echelon of pricing in the fruit world I reckon the strawberry looks nice – like a fruit beamed down from space – but taste wise, gets trumped by the raspberry, gooseberry, blackberry. People like to think of the Strawberry as quintessentially English and of course the concept of Strawberries and Cream is synonymous with watching tennis, which take it from me is a pretty minority pursuit. Read more »
If you’re experimenting with unofficial SodaStream flavours, Vimto is an obvious choice. A firm family favourite available in pre-made, syrup and official fizzy formats it’s a decent benchmark for working out whether SodaStream can equal the dizzy heights of a carbonated drinks factory.
Firstly though, what is Vimto? Well, to be entirely honest, I’m not sure. The label describes a ‘secret recipe’ before mentioning in the list of ingredients grape, blackcurrant, malt, spices and intriguingly ‘Anthocyanins’. Quite what the ratio of these ingredients is I can’t say, but what I can say is that to me, Vimto is a fruity, predominantly grapey kind of drink which reminds me of now banned (in the UK anyway) toxic eighties varieties and kool-aid and evokes an imagined ratio of 3 parts sunshine, 2 parts pot of honey, 1 part sherbet fountain. Read more »
The bunting went up this week and we temporarily donned conical party hats to commemorate the 100th bottle of SodaStream fizzed in SodaStream Review HQ.
Excitement over, it was time for me to roll my sleeves up and get on with the important business of trying another new flavour. I figured that after a recent run of Robinson’s flavours it was sensible to complete the series by trying to create SodaStream out of the most ubiquitous of squash flavours: Orange squash.
As a kid, orange squash could go either way. It was either the flavour you were disappointed to get: commonplace, tepid and diluted to within an inch of its life. Or it could be the best thing in the world: poured from pewter jugs on a makeshift table, ice-cold and joyously sweet after you had flogged your young lungs out dashing round your mate’s garden or competing masterfully in the egg-and-spoon race. Read more »
Squash, in general is a good concept. Take a small dash of concentrated fruit essence, add h2o of the common or mineral variety, serve ice-cold for the perfect combination of flavour and refreshment. Juice is good, but a) it’s expensive and b) sometimes it makes you more thirsty than when you started.
However, not all flavours work as a squash or cordial. Orange and lemon yes. Blackcurrant definitely. Apple… well, I’m inclined to say no, but then again, combine Apple with Blackcurrant and you’re back on to a total winner. Whose idea was it to add barley? Who knows which concussed lunatic decided to throw a cereal crop in, but whoever they were, they had genius on the side of madness and get a fruit-based medal. Lemon barley rocks!
So, what about Robinson’s Apple & Pear flavour, which I was forced to pick up from the shops due to a mixture of boredom and foolish risk-taking? We have already established that Apple is a recessive flavour in the world of squash so does Pear – lets face it, a pretty damn tasty fruit, but prone to quick-turning to mush – turn this drink to flavour gold and what is the impact of adding fizz? Read more »
Ribena was something I craved as a kid, but was rarely allowed. I think the twin combination of being more pricey than your average juice and also being famed for its epic sugar allowance, put it off my mum’s shopping list. Like anything you’re not allowed as a child, it took on an almost mystical symbolism and I prized those rare occasions when at a pal’s house or at my Gran’s, I got an ice cold glass of the good stuff or when once in a blue moon, Ribena hit buy one get one free territory.
These days I am free to buy cartons or concentrate of Ribena pretty much at will. Still pricey, but not anywhere near as expensive as most of the other much more boring stuff adulthood forces me to buy, it’s a luxury I can choose to afford. I don’t do it that much though. Maybe something about tastes changing as you grow older or the fact that it possesses pretty much zero refreshment value. It doesn’t stand up compared with similarly priced fresh juice and smoothie varieties. Read more »
As squash goes, you can’t do much better than lemon squash. Where orange squash is sweet, lemon squash is sweet and sour. Where blackcurrant is artificial, lemon is clean and refreshing. With or without barley, lemon squash has the power to refresh and hydrate. It really is water improved.
So, when I started thinking about trying some new unofficial SodaStream flavours, lemon squash seemed a natural choice. Having decided that, I realised if you’re going to make moves towards the squash world (or cordial or syrup or however you know it) and you want a fair playing field, you can’t do much better than Robinsons. Despite briefly sullying their stock with a short-lived and embarassing alliance with humourless semi-elite tennis player, Tim Henman, generally Robinsons have been a reliable antidote to dehydration on a summers day and also a reliable choice with a dash of honey when you’re bed ridden. Read more »