There’s only one humble icon which truly sums up what it was like to be a child growing up in Britain. One classic staple that was the highlight of any school packed lunch, or a summer picnic with your parents during the holidays.
It’s not Cheese Strings. It’s not Babybel. It’s not even Mac and Cheese. I’m talking about Ribena blackcurrant squash.
There is something magical about this fruit drink. As children, this was served at every school canteen and was put on the dinner table when you invited your mates over for some after-school tea. Every parent would have a bottle of it lurking somewhere in the house.
However, as time has passed, supermarkets have created their own Ribena versions of blackcurrant squash. It was time to do another taste test, so we paid a visit to three different supermarkets to try their juice.
At first glance, when I added the water to the cordial – it looked like a murder had been committed. The water was nothing but red. Nothing like Ribena in the slightest – which put me off a little.
Despite this hiccup, I wanted to see if the taste would be better than the traditional classic. I was completely wrong on every level.
There was no flavour, no sweetness, no juiciness. I genuinely thought I hadn’t poured enough cordial. Was this even a squash? All I could taste was a faint fruity cup of water.
I was deeply disappointed with this soft drink. Waitrose had simply sucked the life out of a childhood food favourite. Never again.
Score: 1/5 (Waitrose Blackcurrant Juice Squash: £1.30)
You can buy Waitrose’s blackcurrant here.
This was the cheapest soft drink within the bunch, so I was weary the quality would not be up to scratch as Ribena.
However, this drink was also the same colour as Waitrose – it was RED. This almost made me fly into a fit of rage. However, I was hoping this wouldn’t be as bad as Waitrose in terms of taste.
The gods luckily answered my prayers. The taste was spot on and it almost gave me deja vu to being back in the school lunch hall.
Ribena should be scared of this, because Lidl have proved a cheap and effective way for mothers to get kids to drink water and ingest some vitamin C. A solid performance.
Score: 3/5 (Lidl Blackcurrant High Juice: £1.09)
You can see Lidl’s products here.
We aren’t exactly limited for choice are we, as Tesco also have their own blackcurrant soft juice. I was really hoping this wouldn’t dye my water red as well.
Well, hallelujah indeed. The cordial turned the water into a beautiful shade of deep purple – the way it is meant to be. It almost brought tears to my eyes.
The taste, dear reader, was also exactly the same as Ribena. Delicately sweet and fruity – I was overjoyed. Even the expensive price didn’t even put me off.
(Note: Tesco did not have any normal blackcurrant squash, so I had to settle with apple and blackcurrant instead).
Score: 5/5 (Tesco Quadruple Strength Apple & Blackcurrant Squash No Added Sugar: £1.75)
You can buy Tesco’s blackcurrant squash here.
Ah, the sweet taste of Ribena. It is still glorious almost 20 years later when I consumed my first drop. It has blessed many a life with its blackcurrant-based goodness.
When I was younger, I didn’t like a glass of squash to be too strong, so I would pour in the tiniest of Ribena cordial then top it up with water. Fast forward to the present day, times have changed. I make sure my squash is overpowering with fruity flavour.
I am glad to say Ribena hasn’t changed since those school days. A little bit on the expensive side, but nonetheless it’s a classic drink for any occasion. Hungover? No problem. Thirsty? You’re covered. Need something other than water? Say no more.
Score: 5/5 (Ribena Blackcurrant Squash: £1.50)
Waitrose didn’t even come close to competing with this food giant. Tesco was pretty much identical in terms of appearance and flavour, and for that it deserves second place.
In third place we have Lidl, which was a very strong contender. The red colour was the main reason for its downfall in the end.
I would probably stick with Ribena, if I had a choice. So, without further ado, Thank you Ribena, as without you we would have died from scurvy during our childhoods.
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