Good cider should provide all of the pleasure that comes with biting in to a crisp, juicy apple coupled with the hedonistic delights provided by alcohol. The Magners, Kopparbergs, Gaymers, Strongbows and Woodpeckers (you see the trend here, don’t you?) of the world, do little to rouse my haughty tastebuds, but there are many Ciders out there that do. Here is the first:
Thatchers. Without doubt my favourite discovery since I ditched 3l plastic bottles of White Lighting – yes, I went there – for proper Cider.
At 7.4 % vol Katy is fairly intoxicating – two 500ml bottles are enough to finish me off for the night (though there is enough units in one bottle – 3.7 – to gobble up my daily allowance, and some, in one go). At £1.80 each Katy is my ideal companion when I want quality in my glass, but pounds in my piggy bank.
Despite being fairly strong, Katy is the Champagne of the cider world: light, refreshing, sparkling and gentle in taste and a good clear, golden colour is enough to make me smack my lips in anticipation of my first sip.
Katy Rosé, on the other hand, a medium Rosé Cider made from ‘the rosiest of Katy apples’, sounds delicious but is on the contrary quite disappointing. It lacks the pazazz of Katy Cider and tastes somewhat on the weak side. It is a whole 2% weaker than Katy Cider in fact and it is revealed in the taste. A pretty blushing cider that looks good but has a watery disposition.
Then we come to Thatchers Gold. At 4.8% I’d expect it to taste even weaker than Katy Rosé, but instead it tastes fuller and richer. It is golden, as the name suggests, in colour and less refined than the single varieties, but it is tasty and refreshing and slightly drier than others. Slightly cheaper than Katy at £1.60 for a 500ml bottle.
My most recent Thatchers find is New Old Rascal. I j’adore the playful copy on the bottle’s label and it was the fox burglar on the front that made me pick it up in the first place. Yes, I’m a stickler for a quirky, good quality label – remember Jacquart? And I almost always judge a book by its cover. Half the pleasure is in what our eyes behold, after all.
New Old Rascal, so named because Old Rascal was only available on draught, is as cheeky as it’s name suggests. It’s 4.5% vol but at £1.80 costs the same as a bottle of Katy. This cider is golden and juicy. It’s scrumptious in fact. Like Gold, Old Rascal is made from a variety of english apples that are sweet and tasty, but because of this it means this cider isn’t quite as refined as dear Katy. But then, with all it’s quirks, how could it be?
The scores then, if you please, George Dawes:
Katy – 5/5
Katy Rosé – 1/5
Gold – 3/5
Old Rascal – 4/5
Next on my list: Thatchers Coxs – another single variety cider, like Katy… mouth now watering incessantly.
Images: Thatchers website [www.thatcherscider.co.uk]