Sunday 25 June 2017

Summertime thirst-quenchers to survive the heatwave (review)

Baby, it's hot outside ! I like bright sunny days, especially at the weekend or when I'm on holiday, but it's been absolutely sweltering lately, so keeping everyone's liquid levels topped up has been of the utmost importance. Luckily, I've received several new drinks lately to help encourage everyone at the Madhouse to keep drinking, starting with English Tea Shop's new iced tea teabags.

The range is made with the finest organic teas, herbs, fruits and flowers, to create an array of tantalising flavours to be enjoyed chilled. From zingy blends to fabulously fruity concoctions, there is a cool brew to satisfy every taste. We received Cool Breeze (Peppermint & Strawberry with a hint of Hibiscus - RRP £9) and Indian Summer (Green Tea, Lemongrass & Citrus - RRP £8.43), but there are also Summer Haze (Lemon and Hibiscus with subtle notes of Rosehip, Orange and Lemongrass - RRP £9) and Berry Boost (Pomegranate and Blueberry, complemented by Hibiscus, Rosehip and Apple - RRP £8.79).

You need to be slightly organised and plan ahead because the iced tea starts like normal tea, with boiling water. After letting one of the large tea bags steep in boiling water to release the flavours, you can top up with cool water but it will need to be chilled for a few hours or even overnight to reach optimum temperature. You can add sugar to taste and garnish with ice cubes and slices of fruit or fresh mint leaves for a healthier alternative to most of the sugar-packed ready-made iced teas on the supermarket shelves. I wasn't sure what the kids would think as it has a more sophisticated, natural and less sweet flavour, but they loved it. It appeals to adults with a more discerning palate too. 

The next one surprised me because it was flavour that I wouldn't have associated with a drink - Cinnamora, with a cinnamon flavour. Cinnamon is bang on trend at the moment, but it also offers a number of possible health benefits - it is a strong antioxidant, can help with indigestion and potentially promotes better cholesterol and diabetic control, although this has yet to be proven. The drink contains Cinnamomum Zeylanicum (which is a type of cinnamon) Extract, Citric Acid, Sucralose and water. There is no sugar, artificial flavouring or colours.

Available in both sparkling and still varieties, it is a refreshing, natural-tasting drink that reminded me somewhat of coconut water. (In fact, I checked the ingredients, convinced it was made with coconut water but no, it's regular water !) The cinnamon flavour is there and it's recognisable but it's subtle so it won't overpower your tastebuds if you're not a huge cinnamon fan. Sophie didn't like it (but she doesn't like the taste of cinnamon), I thought it was slightly bland but would happily drink it because I love the fact that it contains almost zero calories and was created by two doctors who want to encourage healthy living, and Pierre absolutely loves it and would happily guzzle it all day long ! I checked on the website - Cinnamora uses only Cinnamon Zeylanicum which has insignificant quantities of coumarin and Cinnamon has been given Generally Recognized As Safe status by the FDA at dosages of up to 6 g/day, which is equivalent to 12 bottles of 330ml Cinnamora a day. It's available on amazon, in selected retailers and on their website with an RRP of £1 a can with £2.90 postage, or £7 for 7 cans with free postage.

Another healthy option is the Naked Pressed range of juices, made with fruit, vegetables and spices. To achieve a fresh taste that's bursting with flavour, Naked select only the best produce and then cold press the juice with chilled pressure, squashing the ingredients, whilst preserving the natural flavours. There are three varieties : Bright Greens is a mix of seven juices, including apple, cucumber, spinach and wheatgrass, masterfully blended to be slightly sweet and invigorating. Lively Carrot, a five juice blend, includes carrot, cucumber, orange, lemon and apple, combined with vanilla bean and turmeric for a sweet and spicy flavour. Bold Beet is a blend of five juices, as vivid in colour as it is in flavour, containing beetroot, cucumber, carrot and apple, with a hint of ginger. The Madhouse kids love fruit juices but I knew they would be put off by the colours and the mention of vegetables, so we had a blindfolded tasting game. (The girls were instantly on their guard but Pierre thought it was great fun !) They liked the green one (until they saw it !), but they weren't keen on the other two. As a healthy, refreshing choice for discerning adults, they are a great way to start the day though, especially as they count as one of your 5-a-day, and they contain less sugar than many fruit juices. RRP £3.79 for 600ml (Bold Beet, Bright Greens & Lively Carrot) or £2.29 for 250ml (Bright Greens & Lively Carrot)

And finally Rocks Drinks Sparkling Elderflower, which I cheekily told the Madhouse Kids they wouldn't like so that I didn't have to share it ! It's a refreshing, delicate, sophisticated flavour that is perfect for sipping over ice on a hot summer's day. It can be enjoyed on its own or mixed with prosecco or martini, enhanced with sprigs of fresh mint and slices of lemon, lime or cucumber or even used in summery desserts, such as granita or jelly. It's available in independent retailers, farm shop, delis, restaurants, pubs and online priced at £1.99 per 250ml bottle.

What about you? Have you discovered any exciting new drinks lately? What's your favourite summery tipple?

Disclosure : We received the products in order to write an honest review.

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