Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fentiman's - A Grown Up Soda

With our amazing contact (singular) in the food industry, Court & I were lucky enough to receive free samples of some sodas that have just recently entered the North American market. I have seen it available at Sobey's Urban Fresh, but am not sure where else it's sold. Their North American website has more information on availability and the British website has a little more information in general on the drink itself. We received the samples a couple of months ago, but with our recent busy schedules and a baby on the way the tastings had quite a large gap between them. We started out checking out the press pack that we were sent, and it was clear from that that these are marketed as an adult beverage. After trying them out as mixers I'd have to agree - these sodas are good, but they really stand out in cocktails.

Our first tasting was done with at an impromtu dinner party with some friends, trying them straight for the first time. The results were as follows:
Victorian Lemonade - had mixed reviews, if you like natural lemonade you'd like this as it's strong and quite tart, most thought kids would not love it and that it might be good as a mixer
Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger - generally liked, fresh, like Orangina with a hint of ginger
Dandelion & Burdock - mixed reviews, three liked it the best the other two did not like it at all, very licorice-y like Ouzo and Sambuca
Shandy - generally liked, a bit refreshing and similar to a light beer
Ginger Beer - so much ginger it tastes spicy, potent!, feels like it should be mixer
Curiosity Cola - smells and tastes like coke bottles candy

The second tasting was just me and my brother Norm (Court's husband). I came over assuming we would do a similar tasting to last time, only this time with alcohol... but it turned into a pretty drunken night as each taster was a full size high-ball. We started off with the Ginger Beer; while it had seemed too strong to drink plain, it was excellent in a Moscow Mule (2 parts Ginger Beer, 1 part vodka, 1 part lime or lemon). We each had a couple of these, and they were potent but delicious and refreshing, and would be perfect in summer. Next up was an Arnold Palmer (2 parts Victorian Lemonade, 2 parts iced tea, 2 parts vodka) and after that a modified Tequila Sunrise (4 parts Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger, 2 parts tequila), both of which worked well. I would not recommend using saskatoonberry syrup in your Tequila Sunrise as a substitute for grenadine, however. After that, my notes get (understandably) a little messier. I know Norm started drinking a mix with the Dandelion & Burdock and said it was very good, and I was drinking Curiosity Cola and Crown Royal which was also good, if a bit too sweet. A good night with good drinks - and no hangover the next day!

Finally, to accompany the Mother's Day lunch I had I made one of my favourite drinks - Pimm's Cocktail. It's made with 2 parts Victorian Lemonade, 1 part Ginger Beer, and 1 part Pimm's; added to that are slices of strawberry, lemon, cucumber, and oranges (I used a mixture of navel and blood). For a 1 litre jug, use 400ml lemonade, 200ml ginger beer or gingerale, and 200ml Pimm's. This is the perfect summer drink and was a big hit. Pimm's however, is very difficult to find in Edmonton. If anyone knows where you can get it, let me know! I had to pick up my current bottle the last time I was in BC.


  1. Great review, great product. If you are going to a Keg restaurant in the next little while ask the server about the drink special "Dark and Stormy", made with Dark Rum, and Fentiman's Ginger Beer. A few stores in the Alberta market carry the Fentiman's. Planet Organic, a couple of the Sobey locations. Also if you want you can call a company called Yorkshire Rose in Calgary, they carry all the flavours, and do shipping throughout the province.

  2. Go here and do a search, I found 32 places in Edmonton for Pimm's -

  3. Thanks! I used to have that site bookmarked but for some reason couldn't find it again.

  4. My hubby and I are always looking for glass bottled soda because there's just something about it that makes it special. Now we'll have to go out and check this out! Thanks for the review :)

  5. I recently tried the Dandelion and Burdock and I think I'm hooked.

  6. Hi, I live in the UK and I adore Fentiman's ginger beer. If you can ever get your hands on it in the US though, this truly is the king of all ginger beers. My friend lives on a farm and his parents run a farm shop which stocks this stuff. Whenever we go over to visit him I always buy as much as I can carry!