Cocktails are a curious and dangerous invention which can either leave you dancing to Heart of Glass by Blondie and talking to that girl/boy you’ve been pining for for months, or see you humiliate yourself, slumped unconscious in your chair having been sick on someone’s face.
The Mojito, a rum based cocktail, has had its own massive and primarily positive impact on my personal life (vivid flashback to an Old Street bar circa 2004), so whilst I try to avoid cocktails in general, I have been known to sip on its minty, citrus, crushed ice goodness and feel my face warming as the rum works its seafaring sea-shanty magic.
As a result, I was curious to see some six months or so ago that SodaStream had launched its own range of non-alcoholic cocktail mixers including the eponymous mojito. Though naturally suspicious of turning an alcoholic drink based on having some cut up lime and fresh mint, into a pre-mixed toxic syrup mixed with home-carbonated water, the concept was so weird that I couldn’t help but be intrigued.
SodaStream suggest that the drink should appeal to both drinkers and non-drinkers, indicating that you are welcome to add a dash of spirits if you feel the need and they emphasise that this is an adult flavour not to be trifled with through their more serious black packaging. At some point I will mix in some rumt, but for the purposes of this review I haven’t added any because a) I don’t have any and b), if I did, I think I could be bothered to make a proper mojito if I wanted one. This will be a critique of the cordial and whether that is a good idea. However, in order to gain some form of realistic mojito comparison I have filled my glass with ice, popped in a black straw, and I have put Steve Winwood’s Valerie on at full blast.
Initially, the prognosis looks good. I mix up a batch and am delighted to see the bottle of mix gain a kind of fluorescent neon tint which cannot be found in nature. I open the bottle and the smell of mint and lime pervades my senses.
The flavour on first and second gulp surprises me. I close my eyes and imagine someone shouting in my ear to have a conversation while I desperately try to make out what they’re saying. I grope for the feeling of flavour fakery, but my grab comes up pretty much empty. The flavour seems pretty authentic. A strong taste of lime, backed up by the aftertaste of mint and though a little overpowering, not so overpowering that it seems too artificial. It’s quite a complex flavour, more adult than I was expecting and credit to SodaStream’s flavour chemists for crafting the taste of an overpriced cocktail and not falling into the trap of making it too tasty.
Steve Winwood ceases insisting we ‘call on me’ and Mr Mister take up the noise with Broken Wings.
Criticism wise, it’s maybe a little too strong a flavour, so if you are going to mix this I reckon drop the dosage down to two thirds of the recommended. It’s perfectly pleasant a flavour to have without booze and would be a refreshing dose on a summer’s day, but it’s a little bracing during the current arctic season we’re experiencing. It’s a subtle flavour, but in the competitive soft drinks world, the taste of mint is always a bit distracting from the outright goodness of citrus. I can’t see it replacing any of the more sensible flavours which I actually like.
However, I will try to mix this up with some rum before too long and assuming that no unconsciousness incidents occur I will report back on my further findings. Until then given that Yes’ Owner of a Lonely Heart is fading out, I had better turn the tunes off before I get hit by Cyndi Lauper. The few hours before work is no time to be reminded that Girls Just Want to Have Fun.