It’s coming up to the last weekend of the 6 Nations tournament. Looking at my ‘drinks cabinet’, I see I have an Irish, a Welsh and an English cider. Well well, sounds like a good excuse to have a 6 Nations cider-thon. Unfortunately, I’m not even sure Italy makes any cider, it seems the blues are missing from the group, so the 3 Nations it will have to be.
St Patrick’s Day has just been, so first up will be Ireland. I received, as a birthday gift, a box of Craigies Irish Cider, in the post. Thanks, Laura and Frankie! One bottle has languished on my drinks cabinet for some time, the others quickly went missing.
I was short of Irish props for a photoshoot. Then I had a brainwave. When it was over, I came round on my kitchen floor, looking at the vegetable shelf. That’ll do. Potatoes. Sorry Proinsias O’Dochartaigh, it’s going to be potatoes. However, I have recently received another addition to my drinking vessels – an Irish pewter tankard, featuring a relief of a story from the life of St Colman of Lynn. Very fitting.
That’s enough background, here comes the cider. This model is the 2012 Ballyhook Flyer. There’s a curious picture on the front of the bottle of what appears to be a three-wheeled pram. Apparently, this is the Ballyhook Flyer, which is famous in County Wicklow, where Craigies is from. It seems that the Flyer is the finest machine to ever have entered the Grangecon Soapbox Derby. It’s an armchair on a tricycle. Let’s be honest, the Irish are not famed for their automotive production. Just the DeLorean. That reminds me, I have a driving lesson tomorrow, can’t get bladdered!
Craigies is a hazy orange, lightly sparkling cider. It has a good, fruity nose, It smells rich and sweet. However, the taste is much more dry, but nicely dry, with a sharpness to it. The bottle tells me, this 5.8% Ballyhook is made from Katie, Dabinett and Bramley variety apples. Upon pouring the last of the bottle out, the drink has now become an opaque, pale-brown colour like iced-coffee. I’m risking my life as the Flyer builds momentum. It even looks pink, now. There seems to be some dark solids at the bottom of the glass.
I don’t remember the sedimentation with the previous bottles, but then cider drinking is not an aid to long-term memory. Nor short term. Still, if they’re brave enough to ride the Ballyhook Flyer soapbox racer, they’re brave enough to chug a few of these ciders. It doesn’t taste any different the the rest of the batch, so I ease off the brakes, and go into third gear, ignoring the bumps.
Craigie’s recommend this cider with chicken or pork. I just tried it with some basque cheese, and it really did bring out the flavour of the cheese. So that’s nightmares tonight, as well as a hangover tomorrow. The blobs of dark dissolve into little clouds at the bottom of the glass, as we near the final straight.
Ballyhoo Flyer, is much like its namesake, an unconventional, yet comfortable ride, if you don’t mind the lack of control. Just before the finish line, I panic and stall, crash through a garden wall, crush a garden gnome, open the door and run away.