FOR a classy, alcoholic summer drink that's not wine try Burrow Hill Bottle Fermented Sparkling Cider. Fizzy ciders used to be bottle-fermented before the Second World War. Since then, they have been more cheaply carbonated, acquiring a coarser bubble and losing their complexity of flavour. There has been a tiny revival in the last two years of bottle-fermented cider; the new Burrow Hill cider is one of only three made in Britain in this way. It is the best - very dry, with a complex, rich flavour, the traditional cider apple bitter tang, and a lovely, fine fizz ( pounds 5 from Burrow Hill Farm, Kingsbury Episcopo, Martock, Somerset, tel: 0460 240782, also by mail order; pounds 5.50 County Stores of Taunton, Fortnum & Mason, Longmines of Somerton, Wellington Wine & Cheese Shop, and Pier Luigi Zanata of Hull). The other, quite different, bottle- fermented cider I like is 1992 Gospel Green Traditional Method Sussex Cyder Brut ( pounds 3.53 at a farm famous for its cheese: Gospel Green Cottage, Gospel Green, Near Hazlemere, Surrey, GU27 3BH, tel: 0428 654120; pounds 4.25 Jereboams of London SW1 and SW7, pounds 4.50 The Horsham Cheese Shop and The Guildford Cheese Shop, The Richmond Wine Centre and Corbyns of Uckfield). Following South-eastern tradition, this is made from eating apples cut with Bramleys rather than cider apples. It is perfumed and gently appley with nice acidity from the Bramleys.
Also new, and made by the Burrow Hill Cider people, is the 1993 bottling of the delicious Somerset Royal Cider Brandy, a lovely alternative to Calvados, smooth, appley, toffeed and complex. From the farm, it costs pounds 20 per bottle, pounds 11 per half, also by mail order; also available from Majestic, West Country Tesco, selected Safeway and Waitrose, John Lewis, Adnams of Southwold and Tanners of Shrewsbury.
ANOTHER delicious new summer tipple, very low in alcohol at 'not more than 1.2 per cent', is Fentimans Ginger Brew (85p for 275ml, Oddbins). Arthur Fentiman first manufactured this lemony, very root-gingery drink at the beginning of this century. His great-great-grandson has revived the recipe, which had been dormant for some 20 years. Ginger Brew gets its complex flavour from root ginger, capsicum, lemon speedwell, yarrow and juniper in a base of sparkling mineral water, sweetened, but nicely balanced by lemony acidity and a strong, gingery kick in the tail.