It's fair to say that I quite enjoy a 'tipple' or two of alcohol with my preference being wine, lager or pear cider. I do only drink on a weekend these days though contrary to popular belief (boring I know!) and a glass or two these days is enough to suffice after a hectic week of being a busy mum and housewife. I'm not a keen lover of liqueurs or shorts so when I was offered a small glass of this - Crabbies Ginger Wine I actually recoiled at first as it just didn't appeal at all.
My husband's aunt lives next door to us and being 86 years old always offers you a sherry the minute you pop round to see her but on one occasion she greeted me at the door and offered me a glass of the latter. I politely declined but my husband had tried it on a previous visit and assured me I would love it.
Having taken the plunge and tested a very small glass I had to admit it was moreish and I was slightly gutted with myself that I had been missing out for not trying it sooner, and decided if the price was right I would treat us to a bottle for occasional use if I happened to see it in a Supermarket but I wouldn't be going out of my way to hunt it down.
*~*Price, packaging & availability*~*
It was by sheer luck that I spotted this product at my local Iceland store in the run up to Christmas. Having sampled it a few weeks previously I didn't think it would be sold somewhere with a limited alcohol stock as Iceland tends to sell only a few of each branded drinks the most popular being wine, lager and alcopops and doesn't sell drinks of this nature normally so I was quite surprised to see this on sale there. It is available from most major supermarkets and at Iceland retails for just £5 - for a 70cl bottle I deemed this to be of excellent value as it's the sort of drink that is consumed occasionally so a bottle should last quite a while.
The drink itself is presented in a tall cylindrical glass bottle which is a deep emerald green in colour. The glass has a slight transparency to it and the volume of the liquid can be seen to determine how much remains but it is difficult to see what colour it is until it is poured into a glass.
Apart from a simplistic label on the front depicting the logo and what appears to be a picture of thistles, the whole bottle is simply designed but the rich deep green colour of the bottle is eye catching enough on it's own.
To access this fine drink there is screw top lid which I have to say isn't the easiest to open and as this is our 3rd bottle in 6 months I can say with confidence that it's the design and not just my cumbersome fingers. Once opened the lid is easy to replace but it's as though it breaks away from the thread making it difficult to tighten when screwed back on.
*~*Our experience of drinking this*~*
I first came across this beverage when I worked part time in my local pub. I worked for 12 years from 1997 to 2010 and there was a bottle of Crabbies Ginger Wine on one of the optic dispensers behind the bar..the same bottle from me starting work there to when I left I must point out! This was primarily a reason why I didn't want to taste it as this lone bottle had stood barely touched for 12 years so that didn't really sell it to me at all as you can imagine, so when I did try it I was quite surprised at how smooth it tasted and confused to it's lack of popularity.
At 13.5% volume this isn't to be consumed lightly and a small measure of 25/ 30ml is enough to tease the taste buds to give a good indication of how it tastes.
On opening the screw top lid (eventually) there is a strong ginger essence escapes from the bottle and it's fair to say that if you are not a fan of anything ginger flavoured or fragranced then it wont appeal at all. The drink emits a strong ginger fragrance and is very appealing to myself as I am actually a fan of ginger drinks such as ginger beer and alcoholic ginger beer (also made by Crabbies). On pouring into a glass the ginger wine is thinner in consistency than one expects and is a pale green in colour. I was quite surprised the first time I saw the colour of this as I expected it to be of a more brown hue similar to ginger beer so the green took me somewhat by surprise.
The ginger wine may not look appealing in a pale green colour, but as soon as I sipped it I was instantly smitten. There is an instant sharp ginger tang that strikes at the back of the throat and it does take your breath away at first so no gulping! Tiny sips are favoured to really relish the full taste of this drink as it is at it's most wholesome when taken it tiny quantities.
The drink is very smooth and reminds me of a brandy like substance as it's very warming and one small measure is enough - it's not like a Bailey's where you feel like instantly drinking more. I find this to be a very palatable drink on it's own though have also experimented by sipping this as a tall drink with lemonade and ice and it is quite a refreshing beverage when drank in this way - similar to Crabbie's ginger beer with it's refreshing bite.
If you are a fan of drinks that offer a 'bite' then I would highly suggest Crabbie's Ginger Wine. It's not for the faint hearted however as the ginger taste is *very* prominent throughout and doesn't fade at any point. The drink is very still so don't expect any bubbles as it's a smooth pouring and drinking beverage that makes a sharp impact the second it hits your tongue and back of the throat. It's a very warming drink that heats every part of your body once swallowed with the 'heat' lingering for a while afterwards and again reminds me strongly of brandy with it's warming properties and is perfect in the colder months when the weather is cold.
For just £5 I think this is an absolute bargain as it just lasts and lasts. Because it's not the sort of drink you would gulp down followed by another and yet another, one bottle will last a reasonable amount of time. I wish I had tested this sooner and when I think of that lonesome bottle at my old workplace I feel quite saddened that it was never picked on a busy Saturday night but realise now that people just didn't know what a lovely warm drink they were missing out on like I didn't.
Crabbie's Ginger Wine can be mixed with an equal measure of whiskey to create a 'Whiskey Mac' which is apparently a 'truly warming experience'. I'm not a fan of whiskey at all but my husband is and has tried this commenting on it's indeed warmth but equal 'knocking out' effect!
I really like this drink as it's so smooth and warming and a perfect end to a cold night and it has actually replaced brandy as a firm favourite. A fantastic price and such a warm soothing drink makes this a perfect Winter warmer in my opinion.
John Crabbie's distinctive elephant trademark stems from the Scots merchant adventurers who pioneered trade with countries from the Orient, from which they still buy the herbs, spices, fruit and ginger (a reputed aphrodisiac and cure for 'mal de mer') for Crabbie's original Scottish Green Ginger. It was during the time of the Raj that another Scot, a Colonel MacDonald, first created the famous 'Whisky MacDonald' or 'Whisky Mac' - Equal measure of Crabbie's and Scotch whisky), a truly warming experience.