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In this recent hot weather, I am conscious of the need to drink plenty, but get bored easily by water and can’t drink enough of it to keep me hydrated – particularly at work where I am in a cool, air conditioned environment, which doesn’t really make you want to drink gallons of cold water!
At home I’ve been drinking lots of diet ginger beer – I find it is less sweet than most soft drinks, and quenches my thirst nicely, but at work I don’t have access to a fridge, only a supply of cold water, so I decided the next best thing was to buy a bottle of Belvoir Ginger Cordial.
The drink comes in an elegant, tall, slim, long-necked glass bottle, containing 37.5cl of cordial (priced at £2.99). It is fairly plain, with a cream lid, orange cream and yellow label with some gold trim, and pictures of lemon slices and pieces of ginger. A small label on the neck proclaims that it is “Crammed with the zest of freshly-cooked Ginger” (their mis-capitalisation, not mine!) The cordial itself is a pale lemony-beige colour and could easily be mistaken for lemon squash.
At first, I found it hard to gauge the right amount of cordial to add to my water. I don’t like strong drinks, so added a very small amount at first, so that the water was barely cloudy. I could hardly taste the ginger though, so added some more so that the resulting drink resembled weak lemon squash. This made the drink strong enough to taste. The bottle suggests that you dilute it 1 part to 10, but unless you are making up a jug full, this would be hard to measure accurately, so I just judged my measurement, although I’d say I probably added less than the bottle suggests.
The flavour is unusual. It is probably more similar to that of the more “fiery” taste of ginger beer than to the milder flavour of ginger ale, but it is not at all sweet and really does taste of real ginger – the “whole” flavour, not just the gingery “bite” which normally comes through when ginger is used as a flavouring. In flavour terms, I’d describe it as more like eating pieces of preserved ginger, rather than eating a ginger biscuit. It certainly doesn’t taste like the type of ginger beer we are now able to buy in cans and bottles, but as the bottle says, it gives the taste of a “real” ginger beer – so perhaps if you brewed it at home with your own ginger beer plant, it would taste more like this.
As a result, it is not the most refreshing of drinks, but it doesn’t leave an aftertaste and is a very clean, pure flavour. It is definitely an acquired taste – you would really need to like the taste of ginger to enjoy it – and I can’t imagine that it would be popular with children, as it is not sweet enough. It does contain lemons, but to vary the flavour slightly you could consider adding a squeeze of lemon juice or a slice of lemon. I currently drink it with still water, as this is all that is available to me at work, but it also makes a nice (and possibly slightly more refreshing) drink when mixed with sparkling mineral water or soda water.
I’m undecided as to whether I would buy it again, as it is not exactly what I was expecting, but as the bottle goes down, I may “acquire” more of a taste for it.
Overall, I would recommend this if you like the flavour of ginger and want to try something a bit different. The unusual design of the bottle would also make it an attractive addition to the table if you had guests visiting for a get together in the garden on a warm summer’s day. It looks a lot more classy than a bottle of squash on the table, and works out much better value than fizzy drink.
I didn't like this as much as my home-made ginger cordial (not singing my own praises by the way!). I thought that this did not bring through the subtle flavours of ginger, that it was just trying to be hot for the sake of it (my home-made stuff has ginger, chilli & orange peel in the mix, which sounds awful but is surprisingly yummy in the summer). I was a bit disappointed - Kez :(