My top 5 for the year are:
Cottees ‘Blackfellowes Creek’ Raspberry Cordial
I almost overlooked this winsome drop which wears its polysaccharides with a lop-sided grin and a dash of larrikin charm. Almost too subtle for its own good but, given space and and a clear palate, this pleasant little cordial will amuse and surprise you like a wet kiss behind the bike sheds from an over-friendly student teacher.
Golden Circle ‘Uluru Dawn’ Paw Paw and Desert Pea Cordial
Not one for the traditionalists, perhaps, but this little ‘trier that could’ is a cordial that will well reward return visits. It’s come in for a little criticism, deserving perhaps, that the ‘desert pea’ content is merely additive 409 (Arabinogalactan or Larch gum) dressed up with a wicked streak of one of the randier silicates: but a world-class cordial maker should not be afraid to use a little licence when the end product is as satisfying as this.
Remember not to ‘climb’ it out of respect! Encircle it, carefully, respectfully, and savour its dry sweet taste rising above the food additive landscape like a fat kid on a penny farthing.
Sunnyboy Apple-Peach ‘Intercourse’ Cordial
There are those who find the name vulgar but I find it merely fitting. The reconstituted powdered apple and peach juices making up 17% of this awesome syrup really do rut like Yukon stags across the pine-strewn earth of your taste buds, spraying fruity semen and musk in equal measure. The viscosity has to be seen to be believed. Undiluted, this liquid will cling to the side of the glass like an autistic boy hanging on to his mother at the dentist. Immortal, magic, erotic!
Homebrand ‘Valley of the Auburn Foals’ Lime Cordial
There are those who turn their noses up at this marque but, for mine, they’re missing out on one of the best value cordials on the market. Certainly there’s nothing particularly interesting about the initial flavour as it roars loudly across your palate like a Lebanese family in a metallic orange Ford Falcon but the ‘fructose’ after-taste must be experienced to be believed. It’s like being belted across the back of the head with a frozen lemon-vegemite brick while masturbating into a cup of horse-radish sauce. It’s simply that good. And did I mention the value for money?
Berri ‘International Date Line’ Tropical Fruit Cup
My pick of picks for 2006. Simply a magnificent cordial without equal. It’s got it all: acetates, benzoates, pectins and nitrites all dancing furiously for your attention behind a regular police line-up of rough-as-you-like it freeze-dried fruit juices. It’s angry, it’s daring, it’s political. It votes politely with its gluconates while simultaneously smashing down the parliamentary doors of your pre-conceptions to brutally usurp the liberal democracy of your placid taste buds. Amnesty International doesn’t know how to handle this sweet-talking fire-brand!
But rarest of all, it bears the subtle but unmistakable mark of its glorious maker like an HIV-infected sharp in a wind-tossed hay-stack. Swill this onto your upper palate for long enough and you can definitely taste the ennui-stinking skin-soup of a 42-year old Maltese factory-hand at the end of a life-wasting 12-hour shift in Box Hill. Marvelous, absolutely marvelous. The closest thing a cordial will ever come to being a time-zone.