While I love drinking wine, martinis and draught beer, I’ve never been sufficiently moved to write about it. Over the last year however, I’ve made some truly wondrous discoveries that are worth sharing. When I first arrived in England it was summer and we were introduced to the tradition of Pimm’s. Difficult to describe and certainly not a beverage of note in Australia, a jug of Pimm’s, lemonade and summer fruits is a sensation. But a sensation that costs a fair bit and with the summer that followed our first, not a sensation worth investing in frankly. So we put the Pimm’s on the back burner for a while and in the lead up to what has been our best English summer yet, we anticipated enjoying jugs of Pimm’s in the sunshine once again.
However, we discovered something else in the meantime that came to eclipse the Pimm’s punch and it comes at much more acceptable price. Stone’s Ginger wine is a supermarket bottom-shelf-dweller that you can pick up for around £7. It is not as herbal in character as Pimm’s but when mixed with lemonade and fruit offers, I think, a superior refreshment. It’s clean, crisp and perfect for summer and the fact that you can buy three bottles for the price of one Pimm’s – it’s a change worth making.
Over the course of this stella summer season, AT and I have been sampling the range of apple ciders and ginger beers on offer in the Maidenhead corner shops and booze bars. We became rather enamoured with the intoxicating high end tipples like Henry Weston’s Herefordshire aged cider, Sheppy’s, Thatchers and Henney’s. In the end we opted for the less alcoholic varieties as one bottle of Henry Weston’s left us down and out for the evening. When it came to ginger beer though, we were disappointed to find a much smaller range to choose from. In fact, in our local circle we’re only able to get Crabbie’s ginger beer and a couple of other brands loaded with shots of this and that. It wasn’t until a chance evening in Clapham’s Breakfast Club that we discovered the joys of Hollows and Fentimans all-natural ginger beer. Made with a few simple ingredients and traditionally brewed this ginger beer is the real thing. It’s not been flavoured with chilli and ginger syrups and it is astoundingly good served with a generous squeeze of lime. Unfortunately it’s only available at a Tesco in High Wycombe, so aside from our little side-journey to collect a few bottles after a trip to the Hell-Fire Caves, we’ve not had the pleasure of Hollow & Fentiman’s since.
But summer’s over now. The 30+ days have mellowed into pleasant sunny spells in the more comfortable mid-20s and it won’t be long now before we feel the first nip of autumn. Apple season is coming and I’m sure that means another round of apple-ciders before I bound into winter with a steady supply of red wine.