8.30pm last night I was given my orders.... Go to Asda Buy me alcohol Must be chilled So off I go without a complaint (knowing full well I'll be able to purchase myself a few large Grolsch bottles). Upon finding the solitary chiller cabinet I see that the only chilled booze they have on offer is the oddly titled Mike's Hard Lemonade. So, with all good intentions, I pick up a pack of 4 and head home (after paying of course). I had the honour of trying a bottle, but I'm not sure if this was because she wanted to see if it killed me before she tried it...hmmm So.....to the review Introduction: Mike's Hard Lemonade originates from the good old USA, where it seems to have a strangle hold on the alcopop type market. I'm almost certain that it's only recently appeared over here in the UK, maybe only a year or two ago, going by what I have read about it elsewhere. This drink seems to market itself as more of a traditional American street corner lemonade with added vodka (of the cheap kind, I must add). Not that it isn't an alcopop as such, but I just don't think there really is a market for what we would call alcopops in the USA...so of course, they need to market differently to get attention. Packaging: Available in packs of four 275ml bottles, or as a single bottle. The carboard sleeve around the four pack is black. The bottle labels are black....it's all black! BLACK! *cough* As well as the black, there is obviously the brandname, and a logo (outline of a lemon), all coloured in yellow. Also there are a few daft slogans such as "grabs you by the lemons" dotted about the bottle. This
is repeated on the cardboard sleeve. Contents: As you know, this is based on American lemonade. So you can assume that there is shedloads of sugar involved! The label doesn't really give any information as far as ingredients and nutrition goes...but you don't often find that on bottles of alcohol anyway. The kick comes from added vodka to a strength of 5% ABV, so the stuff is on a comparable strength to Smirnoff Ice and other superior brews. Taste (and smell): Upon removing the bottle cap (I did it with my teeth....hard man innit!), first thing that hits you is a strong citrusy aroma....To be honest, I couldn't describe it as lemony, but more like the smell you get from a soft drink such as Citrus Spring. Weird, but not bad. First taste wasn't bad at all, in fact I could describe it as quite pleasant. Being a fan of homemade lemonade, I could instantly sense the similarity. It wasn't overly fizzy, was very sweet, and you could definitely taste the lemon flavouring (who knows if it's real lemon or not?!), although it wasn't overly strong. Very smooth tasting, and easy to drink. This was not one of those other cheap alcopops (VHF anyone?) that tastes every bit as enjoyable as Windolene. It's not the nicest of the alcoholic lemon-based drinks by far, but it is by no means the worst of the bunch. It's drinkable, certainly, but there are much better drinks out there. Cost/availability: You can buy it at most supermarkets now, as well as almost all off-licences (barring the snobby ones like Thresher's). Usually around 50p a bottle, or £2 for four (amazing that ain't it?). I managed to get ours from Asda for £1.32 for four! That's 33p each...bargain eh?
I'm almost certain that I have spotted a Cranberry flavour, but I may have been hallucinating or daydreaming at the time...so don't quote me on that! Contact: Their UK website is - www.mikeshardlemonade.co.uk Currently the drink is imported and repackaged in Dorking, Surrey. I will add the exact address when I get home tonight, as I obviously don't have a bottle sat here on my desk (or one hidden in a drawer, before you ask!) To sum up: This is a nice, cheap alternative to the likes of Smirnoff Ice, and reminds me a lot of the now defunct Two Dogs lemon brew that was around in the days of Hooch. Not the sort of thing that I would pick up normally, as I'm a beer fella. But it did meet the approval of the boss, so it must be pretty OK. My advice when drinking this is to make sure that you either dip the bottle (invert it a few times), or pour in to a glass, as the vodka tends to lurk at the bottom making it a little harder to drink as you reach the last half of the bottle. If you manage to give it a little mix, it makes all the difference! Mike's Hard Lemonade gets the thumbs up from me, as it means I can get my wife drunk for only a couple of quid ;) Thanks for reading, and happy drinking! Marc