Originating from Sweden 17 years ago, Rekorderlig was produced by three people, a married couple, Anders and Helén, and their friend Håkan. As the brand grew over the years, it has seen a global expansion, which includes coutries in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The company has recently started shipping to South Africa, and is available in a few major cities, including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban, at various stockists.
There are three flavours available in the South African range, including Pear, Strawberry – Lime, and Wild Berries. The review is based on personal opinion, as well as some public feedback from small sample tests.
The Elephant in the Room
After a small case study and sample testing, there were one or two concerns raised by a few of the testers. So, before I get into the actual review, I’d like to address the debate on whether this is in fact a cider.
By definition, a cider is made from fermenting apples. And while there are many variants based on sweetness, fruitiness, sugars, and the likes, the baseline is still the juiced apples. But, before wielding your pitchforks, it is worth noting that Rekorderlig is a Premium Cider Company brewed by Abro Brygeri, a 4th generation family brewery that brews premium quality beers for the European market, and was started in around 1856. The brewery started brewing Rekorderlig Cider in 1999.
The most glaring confirmation, however, that this is not a cider, nor claiming to be one, is on the labelling itself. As is seen on the front of the bottle, at the bottom, is the term “Perry.” By strict definition, this a brew of fermented pears, but in recent years has included other fruits as well.
To be brutally honest, however, I wouldn’t classify the three available flavours in South Africa as either a cider or perry. Made with the “purest Swedish spring water”, the process is a whole lot different than either of the two conventions above. To sum things up, Rekorgerlig is much better classified as a cocktail, or, simply, a fruity alcoholic beverage. There are some strict regulations in some countries as to how to categorise prodcuts (such as what constitutes a cider), policies that also imposed in South Africa as well, with some stringent laws and regulations for liquor brands, as part of the Liquor Amendment Act, 1961. Just as all wines, whiskies or champagnes (or rather sparkling wines) aren’t created equal, these facts are better left disputed between the true connoisseurs.
Flavour and Taste
Unlike most ciders, Rekorlerlig doesn’t have the same bitterness to it, and offers a softer liquor for your palate. As stated in the introduction, there are three flavours available in the local market, offering a unique taste sorted to the individual. In fact, I found Rekorderlig to be suspiciously similar to a soda or any other fizzy drink. And that’s not a bad thing. The familiar appeal makes it easy to pick up, without the need for it to become an acquired taste, as many will deem their alcoholic beverages of choice to be.
Rekorderlig is also sweet; much sweeter than any cider I’ve ever drank previously. Some studies have shown Rekorderlig (the Apple and Blackcurrant variant as the sweetest) to have a sugar content approaching that of the average bottle of Coca-cola. Although, from a health standpoint, it may not be the greatest option, but I found that having Rekorderlig with dessert made a good pairing. If you’re going to have dessert anyway, why not? Having only discovered the pairing of Rekorderlig with something sweet by chance, I didn’t quite cater for that in my sample tests.
The sample study revealed a few things about Rekorderlig, not to mention how different my taste in drinks is against the norm. While most people preferred the Pear flavour, only myself and one other person voted for the Strawberry – Lime as their choice. Despite the small sample size, 80% of tasters enjoyed the Pear flavour of the three. Often the suggestions on drinks are overlooked, with many people having their own preferences, but serving Rekorderlig chilled with ice is the order of the day. The other serving suggestions for each of the three flavours do add a bit of spark to the drink, but don’t make such a big difference overall, as the drinks are already quite flavourful and flagourant.
One observation about Rekorderlig was that it was enjoyed by everyone who had sampled it, even amongst those who don’t enjoy alcohic drinks, and who particularly don’t drink wines or ciders. True, this isn’t your typical weekend or social drink, but can easily be enjoyed by many.
An interesting fact about the 500ml bottling of Rekorderlig is that due to Swedish recycling restrictions. All ciders produced in the country were to be served in 500ml bottles to assist the government’s commitment to create a green environment. And, as these things play out, such changes have a way of becoming something permanent, if not iconic. The 500ml bottle has even become a category unto itself around the world, 500ml SKU.
To put things in into perspective a bit, I’m not the biggest consumer of fizzy drinks, having the odd can twice or thrice each month. Similarly, I’m not fond of many ciders, or similar drinks. That said, I’d much prefer having a Rekorderlig as a replacement for these drinks whenever I do decide to have a glass. Even better that it can be easily paired with food and desserts of your choosing. Having scored high among casual/social drinkers who don’t enjoy the hard and bitter liquors, perhaps it fits into a market share not often targeted.
The RRP for a 500ml bottle of Rekorderlig is R50, while a case would typically sell for R480, and is available at selected stockists in major cities in South Africa.