Value for Money: Lemon cordials

Two all-natural Irish brands win the top prize for taste, if not necessarily price

 

Glenilen Farm Lemonade Cordial
€5.99 for 1 litre
Glenilen Farm may only have been born in the 1990s, but it has long since established itself as an Irish brand that exudes quality. It makes very good yoghurts, very good cheesecakes and – as we can now testify – very good lemonade. It has a very lemony flavour, if not as bitter as we would have liked. It is made with 33 per cent lemon juice, water, sugar and nothing else. It is pretty high in sugar and is not by any measure cheap, but it does promise that a 1 litre bottle will make 5 litres of lemonade.If we allow 250ml for a glass, we will get 20 glasses from 1 litre, which might make the hefty price tag more palatable.
Verdict: Lovely
Star rating: * * * *

Naturally Cordial Lemon & Lime
€5.99 for 500ml
This is a really, really lovely drink from a small Wexford producer that makes Glenilen Farm look like a multinational. It is a gorgeously lemony cordial and has a nice tartness to it. It is made with 21 per cent organic lemons and there are organic limes in the mix as well. The ingredient list is pleasingly pure and the company’s catchphrase – “making the world more cordial” – pleasingly cute. All things equal, this would get five stars and finish on top of the pile. But all things are not equal, and the elephant in the room is its price. We saw this selling for €5.99 for half a litre in a Fresh outlet in Dublin’s Smithfield. That makes it a full six times more expensive than the mass-market products. Is it better? Absolutely. Is it six times better? Probably. But it is still hideously expensive.
Verdict: Gorgeous but at what price?
Star rating: * * * *

MiWadi Lemon
€1.99 for 1 litre
This is the cheapest of the cordials we tried. It reminded us of a time – a long, long time ago – when fizzy drinks and fancy fruit shoots were but a distant dream and all Irish children could hope for on a hot summer’s day was a glass of cold MiWadi. The brand has changed a lot since the 1970s, the biggest probably being the dramatic reduction in the amount of sugar to be found in concentrated cordials of this nature. There is no added sugar in this product and virtually nothing by way of calories, so you can drink as much of it as you want without fretting about your waistline. There is, however, aspartame in the mix and we were somewhat unsettled by how pronounced the artificial sweeteners were.
Verdict: Cheap, and it tastes it.
Star rating: * *

Robinsons Lemon
€2.19 for 1 litre
As with the MiWadi, this is low on sugar and high on artificial sweeteners, although the more intense lemony kicky meant that its artificiality was a little bit harder to detect. It is cheap and wildly available and has a nice sharpness that appealed to us. It is nowhere near as nice as the more naturally and locally produced products. But it is okay, and we would d be happy enough drinking a glass on a hot summer’s day.
Verdict: Grand
Star rating: * * *

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