I’m writing about Heston’s mulled cider out of season, Waitrose brought this to the shelves at the latter end of 2015 in time for bonfire night and also to catch the Christmas crowd. I bought a bottle before Christmas but stuck it in the cupboard and haven’t had it since. That’s partly due to the fact I don’t drink so it’s not the most obvious thing for me to write about and partly because it sounded a bit horrid and I wasn’t sure I want to try it. I almost cracked it open when I had my work colleagues round for dinner but there was a greater interest in aperol spritz and wine so it stayed in the cupboard, then I took it back home for Christmas certain that someone would want it at some point, but the bottle just got funny looks and stayed on the shelf so it came back to London. So here we are on the cusp of March and the festive drink has not found it’s place so I thought I’d take the plunge and give it a go.
What is a bit confusing about this product is that I had always believed that mulled wine or cider should be served hot, but it isn’t clear from the bottle if it should be warmed before serving. Certainly the past tense terminology in the name suggests that the mulling has already happened and so if it is already mulled do I just pour it from the bottle and drink? Then I got to thinking that maybe I don’t even know what mulled means. Is the mulling process letting the drink infuse with spices and the warming up bit has nothing to do with the mulling process? I was so confused! The bottle wasn’t explicit on the matter and said the following things:
- Toffee Apple Mulled Cider. Mulled cider enriched with the flavours of toffee & caramel for a lively, complex and irresistibly drinkable finish.
- Refrigerate after opening and use within 5 days.
- No need to mull it over – apple and dark caramel is a classic combination providing a cider with a refreshing depth of flavour.
I took the above to mean that all the work required had been done and Heston’s brew was ready to go straight from the bottle. Consequently I assumed that mulling refers to the infusion of flavour rather than the heating process which is good to know and the long wait to try the drink was proving educational.
I poured out a glass and it was a satisfying golden colour, it looked crisp and fresh. The cider smelt of vanilla and candy floss which would be fine at a fairground but as a winter tipple it was incongruous. I took a sip and it was gross! It did have that farm like taste of cider but it was blasted away by sugary, butterscotchy, cream sodaish flavour that made for a horrible combination. I know the bottle stated that it was toffee apple so the sweetness was to be expected and I was happy to make a leap of faith and give it a go, but sadly I wasn’t proved wrong. This was another fail for the Heston range and I’d be very surprised if it returned this year.
Heston From Waitrose Toffee Apple Mulled Cider – I think it was about £5 for a litre