Monday 11 February 2013

Aspall Mulled Cyder

"Seek and ye shall find"... or something like that! Okay, that is perhaps a touch out of context, but I have wanted to get hold of a glass of this cyder for some time. A business trip to York (it had nothing to do with Richard III!) and a stay overnight in the local Premier Inn was finally the answer. Not exactly the time or place for finding a cider that I have hunted for for over 2 winters.

I was so glad to find a real cider in a pub attached to a Premier Inn I shall name it too - the Dormouse, attached to the North York hotel... let's face it, if you have stayed at a Premier Inn the choice of real cider (or beer for that matter) is normally non existent. But there it was, a bowl of hot mulled Aspalls (and it was the real thing too, not just Aspall that was mulled. I made sure I checked!) Mind you, it was alongside the Strongbow and Magners:-)

Aspall Mulled Cyder is an elusive drink. Its not just me. For starters it is only released in the winter, and then you cannot buy it in a small bottle, Forget supermarkets... I think you can only get it in bag in box.

And so, parting with £2.25, it is ladled hot into a glass for me. I should add the weather is bitter - a day after the north experienced its latest bluster of snow. The car was misbehaving (the battery doesn't like the cold), I guess the perfect night for a mulled cyder - but for the sake of this blog I did my best to remain objective. On that note, here is the review.

The cyder is very hot (OK, not much Aspall can do about that eh:-). It is dark brown in colour and I have to say that I would describe it as bright - although it is really dark. The heat really kicks the smell up, and it smells heavily of cloves and a touch of spice too. It is slightly cydery, but more spicy than cydery. I tend to skip the cloves in my mulled cider.

The taste is something else. I am not sure if it is because I was cold, or that the staff at the pub were pleasant. It's probably just because Aspall have got the mulling of their cyder down just right. The cloves (somewhat mysteriously) fall way into the background in the mouth and I am getting nice levels of spice, a little orange, and a good cyder flavour. On the cyder side of things, it must be the Draught version as it has plenty of acid and a touch of tannin to give it body (although the spices add to the body too).

It is a sweet cyder, which works with the heat. The sweetening must have been with juice too, as it does taste a touch juicy... in fact, it is almost syrupy. Again, in this drink it serves the taste well... while I may not appreciate it in a cider (or cyder) it works well in a mulled version.

In all, this is not trying to be a fancy or clever cyder. It is a well done and well prepared mulled cyder; meant to warm, sustain and please as opposed to tickle all the senses (sorry Heston!). It does that well - and the score reflects that. A bronze apple for Aspall.

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