Reviewed by Andy Bennett
When planning an evening of entertaining friends, does Aldi spring to mind when thinking of where to buy drinks from? If not, it should now.
As a self-confessed snob when it comes to lager, I would normally shy away from supermarket own brands having been disappointed in the past. This view is now quickly changing having tried Aldi’s Sainte Etienne lager. Although not over impressed with the light red and silver can’s appearance, the promise of a traditionally brewed lager and premium quality and a thirst built from a hard afternoon’s working ensured the drink was quickly opened and the contents poured.
Light in colour and not too gassy, in my opinion the taste is markedly better than other supermarket’s own brand lagers. At 4.8% vol, it is strong enough to allow a decent flavour without being too strong and sweet.
A perfect drink for drinking at home as well as at summer barbecues both whilst cooking the food and for sharing amongst guests. At just £2.79 for 4 x 440ml cans, it is also considerably cheaper than more premium brands of similar strength and it’s got to be said – taste.
My wife’s question summarised my feelings for Sainte Etienne when she asked if I would buy it again. My answer? With its taste and price combination, I would be a fool not to.
Next up in our trial of Aldi’s drinks is the Spanish 2012 Toro Loco Rosé. An appealingly vibrant pink in colour, in part due to its raspberry and cherry influences, the bottle looks simple yet fun – the Toro Loco translates as Crazy Bull and this is shown in the image of a corkscrew in the shape of a bull’s head. The taste is light, dry and crisp, a very easy drinking wine. The fruitiness is subtle but definitely present. A hit amongst our dinner guests with even steadfast dry white wine drinkers returning for a top up. Obviously a common occurrence with the Toro Loco Rosé a multi award winner in 2013. At its price, it is the perfect bottle to enjoy as a mid-week drink or amongst friends on its own or with food.
As a gin drinker, I was thrilled to see we would be trialling Aldi’s Oliver Cromwell Dry London Gin. It has an impressive award winning history including blind tasting where it came out above premium brand rivals at least twice its price.
The gin comes in a green bottle and trying it neat first, it has a pleasant lemony smell and is clear and very dry. There is no bitter aftertaste which can often accompany some gins. Adding a slice of lime, some tonic water and serving over ice to friends, we did not tell them the brand just provided them with the drink. We were met with positive responses all round. These varied from the gin lovers re-declaring their love of gin, from the misinformed convinced it was their brand of premium gin we were drinking to the usual non-gin drinker who stated that he could get used to this and learn to love it quite easily. Everyone was surprised when we revealed the brand and price. At just £9.99 for 70cl, even if you have a favourite gin already, give Oliver Cromwell gin a try, serve it to friends or enjoy on your own. Either way, I can almost guarantee it won’t be the last time you pour yourself a glass.
For more information or to find your nearest Aldi store visit www.aldi.co.uk.