Intense mouth-filling flavours
Mother Root Ginger Switchel is one of my favourite alcohol-free drinks, a bold, gutsy mix that punches you in the taste buds and gives the same sort of full-of-body, cheek-puckering experience that one can get from a good acidic wine. Not that a switchel is a wine substitute – it’s not trying to imitate anything else, although its use of vinegar offers a nod to the fact that fermented grapes have worked their magic in different ways in both wine and switchels. It’s a big mouth-filling flavour that makes confident use of apple cider viengar.
Following the success of their ginger switchel, Mother Root have now come up with a second drink, this time centring on the flavours of marmalade. It’s an inspired choice. Although it’s gentler than the ginger-and-chilli flavours of their first production, the bitterness of orange evokes a similar mouth response. The nose is disconcertingly vinegary – one needs to be careful to balance the mixture of tonic and switchel. Too much of the latter, and the aroma tips over into chip shop. But get the mix just right (it’s not hard – they give proportions on the bottle, but I was greedy and added more) and it’s delicious. It opens with the strongly acidic hit of cider vinegar, mellowed by the warmth of brown sugar, with a touch of tea to give a tannic complexity, and then, coming through as a second act, the beautifully balanced sweetness, acidity and tartness of a good seville orange marmalade. I could imagine sitting sipping this with some good blue cheese in front of a wood fire
Or this drink may well be available from your high street supplier – we’re sorry we cannot check them all but you might like to.
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