When Fentimans got in touch to ask if I'd like to try out some of their drinks, I was intrigued because it's a company I'd never heard of. They describe themselves as "creators of botanically brewed drinks made using time-honoured methods which preserve the flavours of the finest natural ingredients".
This seems to be their guiding principle because it's even stamped on the bottle caps. I went to investigate online and find out a bit more about them. I love the story of how the original product, ginger beer, came into being : "Fentimans was founded in 1905 when Thomas Fentiman, a Yorkshire iron puddler, was approached by a fellow tradesman for a loan. A deal was struck and a recipe for botanically brewed ginger beer was provided as security. The loan was never repaid so Thomas became the owner of the unique recipe. He began making botanically brewed ginger beer and delivering it door-to-door using a horse and cart. He sold it in handmade stone jars stamped with an image of his dog ‘Fearless’ who still features on the bottles today." The business is now owned by the great grandson of Thomas Fentiman.
As the ginger beer was the first product to be produced, I thought it should be the first one to sample too. I haven't drunk ginger beer for years - my grandad always used to buy it so this was a real trip down memory lane ! It has a very light colour - you could mistake it for lemonade - and the ginger flavour is quite delicate. You can certainly detect it but it doesn't have the spicy bite that some ginger beers have. Very refreshing with a crisp flavour and just the right amount of fizz.
Next, I tried the curiously-named Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger. I was expecting this to be quite sharp or even bitter but it tastes like a naturally-flavoured, refined version of orangeade. Again, very refreshing, with a lovely sweet, fruity flavour and enough bubbles to tickle your tongue but not make you burp uncontrollably !
Best served chilled, these would be great over ice in the summer for refreshment on a hot sunny day. They're also great to help digestion kick in after a big meal. Ginger beer always used to help with morning sickness during my pregnancies too. As the label mentions "botanical brewing" and "natural fermentation", I had a moment's doubt about whether they had any alcohol content (particularly the ginger beer, which can be alcoholic or kid-friendly, depending on the brand) but they appear to be soft drinks with no alcohol content at all.
The rest of the range sounds lovely too, with some delightfully old-fashioned variants available : Victorian Lemonade, Rose Lemonade, Curiosity Cola, Cherrytree Cola, Dandelion & Burdock and Brewed Shandy, as well as a range of mixers including Tonic Water, Light Tonic Water, Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £1.50 for 275ml
for more information : www.fentimans.com
Disclosure : I received the products in order to write an honest review.
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