Saturday, 24 December 2011

Magners Spiced Apple and Honey Cider

I think this is an appropriate choice for review for this time of year. Its very nearly mulled cider (but oh so far as well!) and its a little different.

I was a bit surprised earlier this year that Magners saw fit to jump on the flavoured ciders bandwagon. I guess its partly because sales are slipping and partly because flavoured ciders are 'on trend'. Why am I reviewing a flavoured cider? Well, its not far enough away from cider for me not to - I have reviewed a mulled cider and I have reviewed Honey Cider under the premise that both drinks are traditional and therefore ought to be included. I can safely say that I will not be reviewing the rhubarb concoction though! Rhubarb is for eating with custard and in a crumble... I don't want to drink it.

That over, I am unsure whether or not to warm this up and compare it to Heston's mulled cider. Being Magners I expect it suggests serving over ice... which is the last thing I shall be doing (sorry Magners marketing people:-).

A word on warmth. Well, actually a word on the temperature of cider for drinking... although being the middle of winter I expect its one to repeat nearer to the summer! Referring to Proulx and Nichols "Making, Using and Enjoying Sweet and Hard Cider", it essentially says that the sweeter the cider, the cooler it should be. Therefore a dry cider should be served ideally at room temperature, whilst a medium dry/sweet should be chilled. I find this a reasonably good guide, although I would naturally chill an eastern counties style cider as I find it more refreshing cold. That aside, I think that is generally good advice to follow. Note I haven't mentioned ice cubes at all! Also, some of the sweetest andmost chemically of ciders would probably be best frozen before serving... that way you cannot drink them at all - which may be a blessing!

OK, I have put this drink off for long enough.

Its a bright, light coloured drink - lighter I think than Original even. With a high fizz to begin with it soon settles down. It smells a little mulled, although to be honest there isn't that much smell going on. I guess this is to be expected (see my review on Magners Original). This drink it based upon original, albeit that there is some spices more familiar with mulling cider.

On the taste it is actually pretty interesting. THe honey does come through gently, and there is even a sticky aftertaste to it... mind you, that could be the cider:-) There is also cinnamon in there too which makes the honey, if anything, more pronounced. However, the citrus is lost on me. This isn't a bad thing. If cider is anything, its not citrus! Mind you, its nice to see that Magners are playing by the rules and not calling it honey and spice cider - which doesn't exist under UK law (a bit like Strawberry Cider!)

Asides from this, it is still very sweet, and this dominates throughout. I guess that it the market they are playing to. Its not chemically tasting though.

At this time of year, this Magners Special fits in nicely. I am not entirely sure how well it would taste heated though, and certainly would pitch it against many mulled ciders I have tried that are properly done with all the spices and a full juice cider.

So, for score. 55/100. OK, so its not a great scorer, but it is a step in the right direction!

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