£9.99 - 70cl
A few weekends ago we invited some friends over with the plan being to cook some Caribbean food. Needing some drinks to go with that, I ventured into Aldi to pick up ingredients to make Pina Coladas and Strawberry Daiquiris - a good white rum being essential for both, I purchased this bottle of Aldi's own brand.
The rum is clearly taking aim at Bacardi Carta Blanca, a rum with a rich history and few real rivals. I always have Bacardi in stock which made direct comparisons with this Aldi rum very easy to do. On opening the bottle, the smell was less distinct than Bacardi, and that theme ran throughout everything we did with this rum. Two side by side Pina Coladas made with the rival products produced a clear, distinct winner. The unmistakable flavour of Bacardi wasn't present when using the Aldi rum. This could be remedied by using slightly more of the Aldi rum, but that negates the fact that it is cheaper, and also got us tipsy faster as the alcohol percentage is the same at 37.5%!
Strawberry Daiquiris and rum and cokes followed and each time we had the same issue - We needed to pretty much double the measure of rum each time. Suffice to say, the bottle didn't last long! With the quantities increased, this is a decent rum with a nice flavour and none of the drinks we made that night went unfinished.
As far as price goes, this rum is fairly good value at under £10. A bottle of Bacardi of the same size retails for £16 but is regularly on offer for £13, so a small saving can be made by buying this.
If you love the unique favour of Bacardi then this rum is not for you at all. As a cheap and more subtle alternative though, this is a reasonable product. Cocktails will be more understated and a rum and coke made with this will be adequate enough. The only time I could see myself buying this again would be for a party to batch make a large number of something, I think on balance though, it's probably worth paying the few pounds extra for Bacardi in almost all circumstances.
£14.19 - 1L
£9.99 - 70cl
With summer in full swing, I recently decided to make some citrus infused vodka at home, which provided me with an ideal opportunity to try another supermarket spirit brand. I ventured into Aldi and bought their Tamova Vodka. As with other reviews, it's worth mentioning the target product - which should be fairly obvious from a quick glance at the bottle - the lettering and colour scheme being very reminiscent of Smirnoff.
Before making the citrus vodka, I tried the Tamova both neat and in a couple of cocktails. What immediately hit me was the smoothness and crisp finish there was with this compared to Smirnoff. I was surprised that it was a step above the named brand in both areas, leaving no bitter aftertaste like the named brand. In cocktails, vodka is often used to add alcohol to a cocktail already strong in flavour such as an Espresso Martini. Using Tamova in this cocktail, I could tell no difference at all compared to Smirnoff.
The conclusion then is that this vodka is highly recommended as an alternative to cheaper named brands and personally I much preferred it to Smirnoff and found it to be about on a par with Russian Standard, albeit significantly cheaper. These lower end named brands are rarely found below £14 for 70cl these days, so this Aldi product offers a decent saving.
It's worth noting though that this isn't a premium vodka and can't really hold a candle to Grey Goose, Ciroc or Belvedere. If you're wanting an outstanding sipping vodka or something to make a top notch Caprioska, then you're best sticking to those high end products over this one.
As for my citrus vodka - I think I'll be trying a different recipe next time as it ended up too sweet for my liking. That really shouldn't take anything away from this vodka though which is another fine example of an excellent supermarket alternative.
£14.19 - 1L
£9.97 - 70cl
Aldi Gin is quickly gaining notoriety amongst savvy gin enthusiasts as a real gem of a product. From discussions amongst colleagues at work, articles in newspapers like the Independent and even prestigious spirit awards, it's hard not to have heard something positive about this spirit. But is it any good?
The first thing that struck me was the price - it's very competitively priced, and a cut below all branded rivals. The second thing that struck we was that the packaging and presentation which is clearly taking shot at the market leader in the London Dry gin category, Gordon's.
With so many different styles of gin on offer in supermarkets these days, it's worth noting that this is very distinctively a "London Dry" gin, and fans of more floral or herbal gins are likely to be disappointed. If your gin of choice however is something along the lines of Gordon's or Beefeater, then this is certainly a product worth considering. The alcohol percentage of 37.5% matches Gordon's and the smell as you open the bottle is comfortingly similar to those who have a familiarity with London Dry gin.
Taste wise, the similarities continue, without being a carbon copy of Gordon's. The gin certainly has juniper front as centre as does Gordon's, but to my taste, it's slightly more harsh with a little more burn. Pulling the tonic water out, this gin makes a very decent G&T, and with a good tonic and a twist of citrus, the differences with its pricier rivals almost disappear.
More high end cocktails such as a Negroni and a Martini highlight the weaknesses of this gin, and I would certainly recommend something more expensive and smooth if these are the types of drink you enjoy. As a substitute for Gordon's for simple, straightforward G&T's or for throwing into a shaker for something like a Long Island Iced Tea, this gin is highly recommended. My final experiment with this gin involved pouring some into a Kilner jar over sugar and freshly picked sloes. The result of which you'll have to wait 2-3 months for!
In summary - Highly recommended as a substitute for Gordon's or other branded London Dry gins, but doesn't hold up well compared to more bespoke craft style rivals, which is probably exactly what the intended market of the product is.