Monday 18th June 2018

Taste test: how much do you have to spend to get a good cider?

Cider
Have you got the cider spider inside yer?

Let me take you on a journey back in time.

The year is 1976. Sylvester Stallone is dominating the box office in Rocky and Britain is gripped by a drought that will become so notorious that it will be immortalised in old people’s diatribes about how younger generations don’t understand hardship.

Example
Young person: It’s a trifle warm in here, can I open a window?

Old person: Warm? You don’t know the meaning of the word. Why, back in 1976… (Interminable rant ensues)

Additionally, since the music industry has apparently forgotten that bands like The Who, Queen and Led Zeppelin exist; the Wurzels are at number 3 the UK charts with their – inexplicably popular – song I am a Cider Drinker.

Somerset has never been so mainstream. This is the Golden Age for the South West and, as is often the case (apart from the brief infamy and foot and mouth); it owes much of its fame to cider.

Fast forward 40 years and, whilst a lot of the fame has gone, little else has changed. This is especially the case if you live – like me – in a miniscule hamlet, surrounded by a teeming metropolis of literally nothing. I’m not exaggerating: I was still hearing that jarring AOL dial-up jangle two thirds of the way into the first decade of this millennium.

Cider Supermarket price Average rating How it made us feel
Thatchers Gold £2.70 2/5 a bit sad because it was like drinking elephant tears
Strongbow £1.16 2.5/5 like being judged by my dad
Bulmers £2.40 3.7/5 sun streaming through a window and a bad hangover
Basics £0.49 0.90002/5 my sick tastes better
Suffolk Cyder £1.80 3.3/5 never been so blootered in my whole life

Cider, conversely, has experienced the greatest career redirection since a chemistry teacher agreed to cook Meth in New Mexico*. Hmm, that makes two drug references in as many blog posts- I may want to take a little look at that.

But seriously, cider, I hardly recognise you. Since 2000, Britain’s rampant youth alcohol problem has exposed itself with all the subtlety of a crotchless wetsuit and the cider market has excitedly expanded to fill the demand.

As well as the multiplication of brands, there has been a concurrent diversification in flavours. The ‘forest fruits’ option is now omnipresent, despite the fact that it tastes like a pint of blended gummy bears with extra sugar thrown in. (When I am supreme ruler, I will ensure that these are consigned to the pit of oblivion. Also, any liquid that tastes of Kiwi, but is purporting to be cider, will be treated similarly.)

Nevertheless, we all clearly like cider so, as I am aware that my blog posts are supposed to be about money saving, the Mouthy team had a little taste of a few of the available ciders. The question we needed to answer was the one on the tip of everyone’s tongues: with all the variety out there, do you need to pay more to enjoy a nice cider? I bought five different ciders from the local Sainsbury’s and asked my testers to give them a taste ranking out of five, and to tell me how drinking each one made them feel.  The results of our – highly empirical – experiment are as follows…

So there you have it, Britain.

There are three conclusions that we can reach with this exhaustive and sophisticated research. First, it’s clear that you will never be satisfied by any cider sold in a 3 litre bottle, unless you have burned off absolutely all of your taste buds.

Second, the expensive and authentic Thatchers Gold cider performed poorly in the taste test when compared to its cheaper competitors like Suffolk and Strongbow. This is heartbreaking to a Somerset boy like myself, who has grown up with the amber nectar on tap in every single pub, bar and daycare. You’ll have to make your own judgements.

Third is the realisation that, given that I have copied the above comments from my colleagues verbatim, the Mouthy Money team is just as weird as I am.

*Breaking Bad reference

Tags:
Drew Guppy

Drew Guppy

Mouthy blogger

Somerset man lost in London. Trying to get a bit less woeful with money.

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