The soft stuff

It all began with Schloer the soft drink you could serve at a dinner party without loss of face. Now there’s a glut of adult drinks jostling for fridge space. Eddie Gibb went a- tasting.

Adult soft drink. It‘s almost a contradiction, isn‘t it? i don't want none of yer namby. soft drinks bring me areal. grown up. HARD drink. I hear you order loudly in the crowded bar. But still. the drinks industry continues the search. as if for a Holy Grail brimming with the elixir of life (with added ginseng. of course). to find a soft drink adults will buy, and buy again. And it‘s not difficult to see why. when you compare prices with that other triumph of style-over-substance -- the premium bottled lager. For approximately a quid you could buy


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either, but the soft drink manufacturer pays no alcohol duty: this has got to be a profitable business.

So it looks like we're in for another long. hot summer of soft drink marketing campaigns. The biggest hype for a newcomer award goes to liptonice, made ‘surpn’singly’ with tea and backed up by an ever-so-ironic deconstruction ad with voice-over by Angus Deayton. It’s basically fizzy lemon tea and is sweeter than most adult drinks oddly, the Light version with Nutrasweet seems to be sweeter

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lemon tea mix. you‘ll know pretty much how it tastes. it got a mixed response from our tasters from ‘foul‘ to ‘much more refreshing than Coke'. This is intended to become a major brand. not a culty little drink for the style conscious.

Lemon tea was also the original flavour of Snapple. which is already voguish in London and should be in Scotland by the end of the month. Snapple arrived from America and is imported in the original chunky,

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resealable bottles. The main selling point is that it‘s made with all natural ingredients. The lemon tea version is OK. but the Pink Lemonade was much more refreshing and tasted just like. er. real lemonade. ‘A real hot day drink.‘ remarked one member of our inexpert tasting panel.

Purdey’s. which comes in a distinctive aluminium-look bottle. has been around for a few years but has never gone for the mass market approach. Purdey's makes some pretty big claims about its healthy properties: ingredients include Damiana ‘a natural stimulant and aphrodisiac‘ and Prickly Ash Bark. described as ‘a local anaesthetic‘. it tastes predominantly of apples. but now you mention it. there is a slightly woody. barky taste to it. Personally. I didn't feel that rampant after a bottle, but it was refreshing and not too sweet.

If you're going all out fora pick-me- up. the makers of Gusto draw your attention to the stiff belt of Amazonian guarana (2000mg. to be precise) and Korean ginseng this drink contains. Hard to know if there was any buzz from the guarana. but the drink tastes almost alcoholic. in a sweet Martini kind of way. The lemonade version. which also has guarana. was unanimously preferred because it's much sharper almost like bitter lemon.




Here’s a real back-to-basics soft drink recipe in time for Wimbledon. It comes from The Penguin Cookery Book by Bee lilson, which was published in 153.

2 oz pearl barley (4 tablespoons) 2 pints water

2 lemons

sugar to taste

Wash the pearl barley and add to the water in a pan. Peel the rind oil the lemons and add to the water. Simmer until the barley is soft. Strain and discard the barley and rind. Add the juice of the lemons and sweeten to taste.





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