Ceder’s Wild non-alcoholic gin.
Over the years I’ve tried many low or non-alcohol drinks, all the way back to Kaliber which was a lager advertised by Billy Connolly, but I’ve never before had one where I didn’t want to take a second sip.
As we were planning a ‘Dry January’ feature we’d been on the lookout when a very helpful assistant at our local Co-op – where we’d previously found The Lakes and Wicked Wolf – directed us to a new display which offered Ceder’s Wild priced at £18 rather than £20. I wish now they’d had a half bottle, or a miniature.
As with many drinks I haven’t liked, the problem seems to be mainly mine as this a big selling non-alcoholic spirit, available from Amazon, Tesco and other on- line sellers. Mistrusting my brutalised taste buds I went in search of other opinions, and learned from a feature in the Sunday Times that Ceder’s is up there with Seedlip (a juniper free spirit which I haven’t sampled) in terms of popularity.
The paper’s panel were tasting Ceder’s Crisp – apparently the citrus and cucumber concoction in the stable – but I noted as with the Seedlip Grove 42 they said the lack of alcohol muted the ‘kick’ and ‘oiliness’ of the drink. Nevertheless the tasters seemed to find the tipples acceptable with ice and a slice.
According to the West London based makers this “Alt gin” is based on exotic botanicals found only in Cederberg Mountains of South Africa’s Western Cape: including Rooibos and Buchu, a “magical plant used for thousands of years by indigenous people of South Africa”. Along with the requisite juniper berries, coriander and clove also feature, though I couldn’t discern any of these when I sniffed the newly opened bottle.
It was a faintly medicinal smell and not the least bit like any gin I’ve previously sampled, but it was the taste of the undiluted liquid which really put me off: thinly hinting at a citrus or floral foundation.
Still (if you’ll excuse the pun) as your intrepid reviewer I did try adding some premium tonic to the original measure, without improving matters. Having tipped that down the sink I tried another small quantity diluted with a sizeable shot of orange squash, and managed to get that down. However, the bottle has stood untouched in the larder for the past fortnight and I will be happy to post it to any of our followers who wants to go Wild.
I’m also surprised that these presumably duty free drinks are so expensive, though Lidl – the purveyor of the excellent, easy on the wallet Finton’s – is selling its own one for £10 a bottle. No doubt I will one day find a 0% drink I enjoy, but this trip down Temperance Terrace did remind me of a favourite cartoon: where Peanuts’ Linus is offered a tea towel in place of his missing security blanket.