It’s the start of my holiday, and I’m going back to the Pembury to meet my ciderkick. I’m becoming familiar with this pub, to the point that we now have school-style nicknames for it: Pembs, Pembo, tonight I go for Pembski. It’s busy when I arrive and I have to grab a chair from a table covered in half-finished pizzas, Mary Celeste style, I assume the occupants had to escape in a hurry.
Another lady we don’t know is sitting opposite me, waiting for a friend. I go to the bar, where the ciders on offer are a Springherne Dry, (which I find a little to dry) and the London Cider Co, Rooster at 5%. I’ve tried Rooster here before, and decide to give it another go. It’s a deep mahogany colour, flat, and last time I found it a bit watery, but this batch seems a lot sweeter.
It’s fruity, but heavy with sweetness, like treacle, or a bag of cinder toffee on Whitby pier, or a nose-bag of sherry sweets. Pretty much like having freshly pressed apple juice, or as my friend describes it, like vomming that apple juice back up and drinking it again. In a good way.
We’ve begun to chat to our new friend, and she seems very jolly as she tells us how her mother was alcoholic, her father was murdered with neuroparalytic poison, by the Russians, and her husband committed suicide. I suspect her previous table may have been the one with the half-eaten pizzas and I have the feeling I should get the hell out of here, but she heads off to the bar to get more drinks for everyone. It would be rude to refuse (and potentially fatal).
On her return, after I check the new pint of Rooster for neuroparalytics – tastes alright, we discuss a new world order and realise that what’s missing from Russia, North Korea and the Middle East, is cider. I decide that I will take a travelling pop-up cider bar to the angry nations of the world, to show them that all they need is a proper scrumpy. I just need a van and a blue helmet.
It’s hard to find out more about the Rooster, as the London Cider Company don’t seem to be online. However, the Rooster has definitely plumped up his feathers since I last met him. It’s very easy to drink, and echoes the warm feeling you get from having a bag of Werthers Originals, if you’re over 65. I imagine.
The effects of the neuroparalysis wear off my mid-afternoon the following day.