Thursday, 29 April 2010

Simply Hibi- Hibiscus drink

Simply Hibi Hibiscus DrinkMade by: Ibis Organics

Origin: UK

The Roselle plant (Hibiscus Sabdariffa) is a variety of Hibiscus grown for its nutrient properties. It is consumed in a variety of different ways, however variants of a soft drink are most popular in the Caribbean, Mexico & Central America, Africa and Malaysia. Contrary to popular belief it's not the actual flowers or petals that are used to make drinks, but the calyces (flower casings) of the plant. When the calyx is ripe it turns a deep, bright red colour and is ready for use. The calyces are cored and then infused, and the colour, flavour and nutrients leach out. Hibiscus has started to generate increasing interest as part of a new group of 'superfoods', prized for their nutritional and especially antioxodant properties.

This drink is a deep maroon colour. The colour is intense, with plenty of purple highlights and becoming opaque at the core, like a young red wine.

Nosing this it is rich, sweet, earthy and with a distinct vegetable note. Here we have freshly crushed blackcurrants, leafy and with beetroot overtones, and steamed artichoke. There is also a little freshly turned earth (reminds me of a cabernet franc wine), and a twist of black pepper...

The palate is light, and dominated by sweet, juicy blackcurrants. In contrast with the aroma it contains few of those vegetable notes, with only a little leafy character and a rhubarb stem detected in the background. A gentle tartness develops, which has a pleasant 'mouthwatering' effect, before the drink ends in a short finish.

Packaging claims: Rich in Antioxidants

Ingredients: Hibiscus infusion 85% (Hibiscus and water), glucose-fructose syrup (15%)

Price: Should be about £1.40 for a 250ml PET bottle, available from Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Booths, Holland & Barrett and other health food and independent specialist outlets

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

the Berry Company Goji juice drink

the Berry Company Goji juice drinkMade by: the berry juice company

Origin: UK

The Goji berry is the red berry fruit of the boxthorn shrub. It is also known as the Wolfberry, derived from the Greek origin for the plant Genus. The plant is a relative of the chili pepper, tobacco and deadly nightshade plants, and most commercial plantings are to be found in Northern China. In the past ten years Goji berries have started to generate increasing interest as part of a new group of 'superfruits', prized for their nutritional and especially antioxidant properties.

This Goji drink is pale burnt orange in colour, showing good intensity. It is cloudy/translucent and contains some fine fruit pulp in suspension.

On the nose rich, thick apricot puree, followed by more stone fruits: Mangoes this time. The sweet, fleshy aroma is given a 'lift' with a heady note of passionfruit.

The palate is lighter than the nose would suggest, with satisfying flavours that combine soft orange stone fruits (apricots and peaches) with their tropical cousins (mangoes and passionfruit).

The drink develops from an initial sweetness, akin to white grape juice, to turn pleasantly sour on the finish. The use of passionfruit comes into its own here, providing a tangy freshness and balancing out those sweeter notes. Another interesting release from the berry company.

Packaging claims: No artificial colours, no artificial preservatives, no sweeteners, in partnership with Heart Research UK

Ingredients: Water, pressed Wolfberry/Goji fruit (20%), fruit extract concentrate, pressed passion fruit juice (10%), natural flavour malic acid, antioxidant ascorbic acid

Price: Should be about £1.50-£1.60 for a 330ml PET bottle, available from Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Department stores and health retailers nationwide

Power Horse Sugar Free Energy Drink

Power Horse Sugar Free Energy Drink
Made by: Power Horse Energy Drinks GmbH

Origin: Austria

Imported into the UK by: BTM International UK Ltd

For this review, we are pleased to welcome our guest reviewer Mr Matt Chambers. Matt, together with his wife Karen, is the esteemed founder of Whisky website and blog 'Whisky for Everyone', one of the preeminent influencers working in the world of Whisky today. Here is Matt's review:

Power Horse is an energy drink that is produced by the Austrian food and beverage giant S. Spitz Company. The company was at the forefront of the development of energy drinks in the early 1990s and the Power Horse brand first appeared in 1994. This makes Power Horse one of the first energy drinks on the market and it remains popular throughout mainland Europe. The S. Spitz Company was founded in 1857 and their headquarters are located in the city of Linz. The Power Horse energy drink range stimulates the drinker’s metabolism, responsiveness and is believed to enhance sporting performance. This is achieved by the inclusion of high levels of natural chemicals such as caffeine and taurine in the drinks

Another Austrian, named Dietrich Mateschitz, saw the potential of this genre of drinks and decided to develop his own energy drink. He based his new beverage on the Japanese caffeine based drink Lipovitan, which first appeared in the 1960s. Mateschitz named his new energy drink Red Bull and the rest is history, as they say. Red Bull has gone on to dominate the energy drink market since its launch in 1997, especially in the USA where it has almost 50% of the energy drink market share. The success of Red Bull and Power Horse has led to many copycat products appearing around the globe.

This drink is the SugarFree version of Power Horse. The colour is a vibrant golden yellow and the nose is sweet yet refreshing. There is a combination of vanilla, chewy fruit sweets and candy floss. Cutting through this is a distinct citrus note that is reminiscent of lemon zest and this helps balance the more obvious sweeter element.

On the palate, this is light, juicy and refreshing. There is an initial saltiness (think of brine or sweat), and while this may sound unappetising it is actually to the contrary. This characteristic combines with the zingy citrus zest from the nose to give a crisp, sharp and refreshing drink. The sweeter elements then begin to appear, especially those fruity chewy sweets (think of bubblegum or fruit pastilles) and the candy floss.

The palate ends with a feeling reminiscent to something like a cream soda. The finish is short yet refreshing with the fruitiness and citrus zing again prominent, although the citrus becomes a little more sour. At all points the elements remain slightly understated.

Whilst not being fully aware of the medical or scientific benefits or claims of this Power Horse SugarFree drink, all that can be said is that it is a clean, refreshing and crisp beverage. It is very pleasant and easy to drink and not as obviously sugary as some of its competitors. You can imagine drinking a can of this on a hot day or after doing some exercise.

Packaging claims: Low energy, sugar free special drink containing taurine and caffeine, with sweetening agents, contains 80mg of caffeine, not suitable for children, pregnant women, and people sensitive to caffeine, suitable for diabetics, do not mix with alcohol, high caffeine content (32mg/100ml), pasteurised

Ingredients: Water, acid (citric acid, sodium citrate), carbon dioxide, taurine 0.4%, glucuronolactone, colours (plain caramel, riboflavin), sweeteners Acesulfame K, Aspartame), flavouring, caffeine, inositol, vitamins (niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12)

Price: Should be about £0.70 for a 250ml can, available from larger branches of Tesco (world foods section)

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Firefly Lemon, Lime & Ginger 'Detox'

Firefly Lemon, Lime & Ginger 'Detox'Made by: Firefly Tonics

Origin: UK

This non-sparkling 'detox' drink is a pale, matt lemon yellow colour. The colour fades out to clear at the rim. The liquid is slighty cloudy and contains some fine particles floating in suspension.

On the nose light but immediately attractive aromas: Sultanas, baked apple, crumble topping, lemon butter, sweet spices (ginger, cinnamon)...altogether appetising.

Flavours on the palate are light also, but satisfying and without the dilute quality found in many flavoured waters. That moreish style is replicated here, with flavours of softbake cookies (oat & sultana), more apple crumble topping, and gingerbread.

There is a lovely, zingy thread of citrus acidity running through this, balancing the sweetness perfectly. The heat of the ginger spice comes through late on the finish, bringing with it a pleasant warmth that coats the mouth and lingers. An entirely refreshing experience.

Packaging claims: Natural energy, detox, absolutely nothing artificial

Ingredients: Still water, fruit juices from concentrate: white grape (22%), lemon (4%), lime (3%), apple juice extract, botanical extratcs (ginger, nettle, dandelion, burdock, rosemary) 1%, natural flavourings

Price: Should be about £1.50-£1.60 for a 330ml glass bottle. Available from Waitrose, Holland & Barrett, Department stores, healthfood stores, and specialist food and delicatessen outlets nationwide.