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British Beverage Scene
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:26 am    Post subject: British Beverage Scene Reply with quote

Hi everyone, I'm doing a little research and am curious to know a little about the liquid side of the vibrant and growing British food scene. Are there more artisanal or micro beverage makers springing up? I am looking into everything from spirits , wine and beer to coffee and tea. If anyone knows something I'd love to hear it. Or if anyone knows of a good British publication that deals with beverage, I'd appreciate hearing about that too.

Thanks in advance!
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erin,

Look for CAMRA the Campaign for Real Ale. They will most likely have information.

There is 'Yorkshire Tea' but somehow I don't think it is actually grown in Yorkshire.

Tea has been grown in the South-west, Cornwall I think. Wine has been grown successfully in the South of England - Sussex definitely and quite likely in the South-west too.

Spirits - well sloe gin has been made in Plymouth for at least 3 centuries. Other than that there is Scotch but again that's been made for centuries.
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LGT



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 8
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:52 pm    Post subject: British beverage scene Reply with quote

Hi Erin,

I'd say that with the rise in popularity of organic, "slow" food in the UK over the last few years, there's definitely been an increase in interest in organic beers and ales, mead, ciders and non-alcholic drinks such as elderflower cordial. There are lots of small breweries producing what you might call "artisan" beers and ciders (CAMRA is a good place to start, as Griffin suggests) and also lots of companies such as Belvoir producing fancy-sounding, "rustic-style" cordials and juices.

As for hot drinks, there's now a hige range of teas and coffees available in the UK, whereas not so long ago everyone bought one of the standard brand-names of teabags, and coffee was instant Nescafe from a jar. Herbal teas are growing in popularity - it might be interesting for you to browse through the shop online functions of one of the big British supermarkets, to see just how mainstream these kind of teas are now.

I hoep this helps a bit - good luck with your research!
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Griffin and LGT, thank you both very much! I have really not known where to start with this, but you have both given me a lot to think about.

Now, from what I understand, the UK is not generally a cocktail culture, but are there local drinks that you're average Yank probably doesn't know about?

Thanks again!
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LGT



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 8
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Erin,

Whilst the UK is admittedly not really a cocktail culture, there is certainly an after-work-bar culture, particularly in the bigger cities, that is in a way an updated version of "cocktail hour", as it were. In my experience, most young professionals out for a few drinks after-work will probably choose wine/clear spirit & mixer (women) and beer/lager (men) - this is of course a massive generalisation, but still!

In terms of local drinks that the Americans might not know about, I'm not really sure - I mean, there are of course loads of micro-breweries that foreigners will be unlikely to have heard of, but we don't really have regional drinks as such. Having said that, cider is always though of as very West Country/Devon/Somerset, simply because that was where it orginated in the UK, and where it is predominantly still made. The only other example I can think of is Boddingtons, a famous Manchester brewery; its bitter was known as "the cream of Manchester" and it is still, I suspect, more popular in Manchester and the North-West than anywhere else (in fact, bitter in general is though of as more of a Northerners' drink, whilst those soft Southern pansies in That London stick to lager...again, mass generalisation from me here!)

Hope this helps! Smile
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Someone tell us about scrumpy!!
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LGT, Thank you very much! My next question was going to be about cider and you've anticipated me. Oh, and welcome to the forums!

David, I'd like to know too. What a wonderful word, 'scrumpy'.
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scrumpy is cider, because to make it you've got to scrump or pick apples. I think that's a South-west word, cos as LGT says that's where that thur zoider do come frum.

Many people also buy wines to drink at home and there is a culture of buying up either beers or lagers to watch sports matches. As I am sure there is in the US, Canada and Australia... especially Australia! Wink

LGT is right to highlight Belvoir who do what one might call 'hedgerow' cordials. Elderflower cordial is a definite winner and has been made throughout Enger-land for a loooong time. Elderflowers are tiny cream-coloured flowers that grow in big clusters and are collected before they turn into berries (which are made into a wine).

Originally in Britain, everyone drank beer or ale because the water was unsafe!! Even kids... which explains a lot! There may not be a cocktail culture as such, but there is a tendency to drink to excess called famously, binge-drinking.

Gin was famously causing trouble in the 18th century because it was cheap and everyone would buy it to get out of their heads for a while. Hogarth's print 'Gin Lane' shows the dreadful effects of 'Mother's Ruin' as it was called.

Belvoir are at this address: http://www.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk/
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great info Griffin! I was wondering about cordial, I had always been under the impression that it was a form of alcohol, but as I have been researching it, I've found nothing to prove or deny that. So, does it contain alcohol?

The Belvior cordial, etc. look positively luscious.

Scrumpy, I like it even more now.

You both have given me a lot to think about. Tea grown in the south-west! I never thought.

How's the Cornwall sparkling wine?
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
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Location: England

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erin,

Cordial is usually a concentrated juice that is diluted with water. Elderflower for example uses only about four millimetres of cordial in the bottom of the glass. Ideally you then add a small splash of lemon juice and top up with water. The taste is unique, refreshing and there is a faint floral scent.

I haven't had the Cornish wine, but the Sussex wine I had was gorgeous.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
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Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Griffin, I adore the flavor of elderflowers. Now that I think about it, didn't you comment once on my site about making elderflower cordial?

Hmm. . . I'll have to check into Sussex wines. Thanks again, I really appreciate the help.
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Griffin



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure I must have said something about them. A friend in Virginia tho' had no idea what it was, so I didn't think you had it in the US, tho' I was surprised. I'd be extremely surprised if it wasn't made in France too.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
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Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if we have it here, we may, but it isn't utilized. I only tasted elderflower for the first time in a cocktail last summer at my favorite restaurant Txori. I believe it was St. Germain. It is so delicious and it seems to be catching on here, a little at least.
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LGT



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 8
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phew, I have some catching-up to do....Griffin, you a veritable font of knowledge on all things Brit beverage-y!


Elderflower cordial is lovely, and that kind of drink is certainly gaining in popularity - Marks and Spencer, for example, do a nice range of similarly-flavoured non-alcoholic drinks such as sparkling pear something-or-other (I think meant to be a trnedy alternative to Shloer...not sure if this is just a British thing but at family meals when I was growing up, Shloer was the ONLY choice for kids, pregnant ladies and elderly ladies who weren't considered hardy enough for actual alcohol!)

Interesting point about what cordial actually is - got me wondering whether the French sirop is the same kind of thing? And I have a feeling that things like Grenadine and Cassis can also be termed cordials - not sure about that though.

Can't really add much to Griffin's info re scrumpy, other than to second that it's delicious....and I'm ashmed to say I've never tried an English wine, but hope to rectify that asap.


P.S. Many thanks for the welcome, Erin!

P.P.S. I love that Hogarth picture, Griffin, but have to say that amongst my friends, gin is most definitely for winners!!
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LGT,

I am fond of my drinks!! I used to live in Sussex, grew up there so I recalled the Sussex Wines. One name I seem to remember was Lamberhurst, but can't remember if it's Sussex. Like you, I'd suspect that the French sirops are a type of cordial.

I love my gin too! Bombay Sapphire for preference.

Erin,

If you can find an Elder bush that looks like the one we have here, gather the blossoms when they appear and make some Elderflower cordial. There's a recipe here by Sophie Grigson;

http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/516164
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