I've avoided "Squash" type drinks for a few years as they never seemed to quench my first and generally left me with a less than pleasant aftertaste. So when a colleague at work persuaded me to dry a glass of Rocks Organic Orange Squash, I was expecting more of the same. I was in for a pleasant surprise though, as this really did taste of orange, it actually quenched my thirst and bonus... no nasty aftertaste.
Next shopping trip to Tesco, I decided to treat myself to a bottle.. It's packaged in a real retro style with a funky cap and a bright orange label, so it was easy to spot amongst the usual suspects with their promises of no added sugar. It also states on the label that it makes 5 litres, which although I have not measured, probably is about right as you really don't require very much of the squash in the bottom of your glass to make a cool, refreshing beverage.
It's not cheapest on the shelf, I paid £1.78 at Tesco but it is organic, approved by the Soil Association, made from whole fresh organic oranges, has no artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives and most importantly it tastes great.
Rocks Organic has been making Organic Drinks in Twyford, Berkshire for over 20 years They use organic Ingredients and avoid the use of additives and artificial sweeteners in their recipes. However, the Rocks Organic Orange Squash is a squash I have not tasted until a couple of weeks ago.
I expected the squash to have that 'healthy' taste that comes with some products that are marketed organic. Often this is a more intense taste. I wondered whether the squash would be more like orange juice than squash.
Rocks make squashes in a variety of different flavours. They retail at around £2 a bottle and can be found in some supermarkets and healthfood shops. I have found that usually the entire range can not be found in one place; my local Tesco only stocks a couple of the flavours.
Water, organic sugar,organic whole oranges (15%), citric acid, organic orange oil.
The only preservative in this squash is the citric acid. This means that you have to keep the squash in the fridge when it has been opened. It also means that you avoid the chemicals involved in normally preserving squash.
When diluted, the squash contains 120 calories per 100ml.
The squash comes in a recyclable breen glass bottle. The metal screw lid and labels are in a funky orange, green and yellow design. There is a strange cartoon character on the label - an orange with hair skateboarding amidst drops of orange juice. Simplistically bonkers is how I would describe it. The back part of the label contains product and nutritional information.
Drinking the squash
Rocks recommend that you dilute the squash 1 part squash to 6 parts water. I find that this produces quite a strong squash and that when diluted a little more still gives a great tasting drink; it also makes the squash last longer and saves cash. I think also, that by diluting it more you can reduce the sugar content - always good!
The squash tasted better than I imagined it would. It has an intense citrus flavour which avoids any hint of synthetic stuff that can be tasted in cheaper squashes. It does fall neatly between drinking orange juice from a carton and an ordinary squash .
I had given up drinking regular squash generally - as it is quite a synthetic experience. However, Rocks has pleasantly suprised me and I have been enjoying drinking a few well diluted glasses in the garden in this warmer weather.
I definately think it is worth paying that bit extra for a drink that has less rubbish in it and tastes this good.
Orange squash had, to me, always been one of those ubiquitous staples that most households possess. Although there are clearly differences in taste between brands, particularly between "no added sugar" and "regular" products invariably you got a sweet squash whose flavour could be varied only by the amount of cordial added to the glass. Even the "high juice" varieties never seemed to capture the natural sweetness, acidity and variety of a fresh orange.
The nearest I got to true orange flavour was via the high juice offerings from the likes of Robinsons. Then, at a friend's house I had a really cracking glass of squash that actually tasted of oranges... I was converted.
Rocks Organic orange squash is certainly the closest thing to a fresh, fruit-filled experience without drinking pure fruit juice. It's a tart, tangy experience that reminds me somewhat of slightly off-sweet fresh oranges. It leaves the mouth salivating from the natural acid but in a pleasant way.
The cordial is quite thick and gloopy compared to regular squashes and it must be kept in the fridge once opened as there are no preservatives to speak of (save for a bit of citric acid). It's recommended that you dilute 1 part cordial with 6 parts water although personally I find this too strong and I use much more water. The great thing about this squash is that you can make it very dilute without losing the flavour of the oranges, unlike weak regular squash which just tastes nasty! Once open the cordial is best consumed within 2 weeks but I've kept it longer without any degradation of flavour. Do shake the bottle well before serving as it tends to separate slightly.
The orange works very well made up with hot water and so is a great drink when suffering from colds (particularly with added honey).
Although there is consistency in terms of sweetness/acidity I have found that there is a variation in the flavour of the cordial from batch to batch. I suspect that this is due to the fact that it is made from fresh oranges which, naturally, vary in flavour. That the only ingredients are water, sugar, oranges, citric acid and orange oil is perhaps the clue. The product is 15% whole oranges (which when put alongside a Robinson's High Juice at 55% seems rather mean) but somehow this tastes a whole lot fruitier than its mainstream cousin. I suspect that 15% whole orange is not the same as 15% juice! The orange oil is, perhaps, the source if that slightly tangy aftertaste - and perhaps not to everyone's liking.
There are a few packaging issues with the product. The first is that the screw cap is metal and can be fairly sharp - just something to bear in mind. I've not been cut by it but younger children might need to exercise care.
The second packaging issue relates to the way the product pours. The cordial is quite gloopy and so the bottle can get rather sticky if drips are not wiped away. You also find that sugar crystallises around the thread of the cap and this can cause a bit of a sticky mess and possible leaks if the bottle is not stored upright. The glass bottle is, of course, fully recyclable though!
If there's a big downside to the product it is that it is not stocked everywhere. Waitrose sell it, as do larger branches of Tesco. Expect to pay a little more than for a High Juice although only by a matter of pence. Given the superior taste I'm more than happy to pay this premium.
We use to buy Robinson's fruit squash but we were not comfortable with some of the additives they put in the squash, namely Sodium Benzoate. Sodium Benzoate is a preservative, a colouring and it is commonly use in carbonated drinks. Sodium Benzoate is the same as E211.The combination of ascorbic acid (vitamin C, E300), sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate may form benzene, a known carcinogen. Sodium Benzoate is also one of the cause of hyperactive behaviour in children.
We discover Rock's organic orange squash. It contains only natural ingredient such as water, organically grown sugar, organic whole oranges (15%), citric acid, organic orange oil. Rock organic orange is also gluten free.
Shake the bottle to mix the fruit bits in the squash, you can make a lovely orange squash with still water or carbonated water. The freshness and tangy taste make this drink a very refreshing alternative to the other kind of carbonated drink, high juice and fruit squash.
Rock orange is available at most major supermarket. The price of the orange squash have been varied recently. It used to retail at £1.64 but it is £1.78 now. Hence, whenever there is an offer on Rock orange squash, we would stock up several bottles.
Rock Organic orange squash is a healthy drink, it is good for children and adults as it does not contain any preservatives and artificial colouring. Though it is more expensive than a normal squash, it is worth every penny for all the benefits.
A healthy whole organic fruit drink.