'I tried Nando's' new cocktails - there's one lemon and herb fans will loathe'

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'I tried Nando's' new cocktails - there's one lemon and herb fans will loathe'

Although it has a decent enough wine and beer selection, I for one have never really considered Nando's to be the sort of place to head to for a long night of drinks with pals. I've never really ventured beyond the bottomless Diet Coke option - until now.

The popular flame-grilled chicken restaurant has shaken up its menu after launching its first-ever frozen cocktails: the Sunset Slushie and the PERI-cante.

Both priced at £7.95, these 190ml beverages couldn't be more different, catering to drastically different tastes just like Nando's has been doing with its famous sauces for more than 30 years.

The boozy beverages have only been rolled out in a few restaurants across the UK so far, and I'm lucky enough that one of these happens to be my local Nando's in Salford Quays, Salford.

'I tried Nando's' new cocktails - there's one lemon and herb fans will loathe' rriddqixxiqezinvThe two cocktails couldn't be more different (Julia Banim)

Needing no excuse for a cheeky Nando's on a Tuesday night, I headed down there to try them for myself, unsure what to expect or how well the beverages would pair with my usual Butterfly Chicken order with medium Peri-Peri sauce. I ordered both drinks at once, and, if the waiter judged me for sipping both interchangeably, then they did a good job of hiding it.

'I stopped drinking booze on dates and it made life much more exciting''I stopped drinking booze on dates and it made life much more exciting'

Both drinks arrived quickly and were gorgeously chilled. Looking out of the window at the grey Salford sky, I found myself longing for the heatwave a few weeks back, when these beverages would have gone down an absolute treat.

'I tried Nando's' new cocktails - there's one lemon and herb fans will loathe'The drinks were far summery than the weather outside (Julia Banim)
'I tried Nando's' new cocktails - there's one lemon and herb fans will loathe'The drinks cost me £7.95 each (Julia Banim)

Sunset Slushie (£7.95)

First up we had the Sunset Slushie, a sweet little mix of vanilla vodka, peach liqueur, pineapple, and mango. This is a satisfyingly thick, slightly syrupy treat of a drink that will delight anyone with a particular penchant for fruity cocktails. My partner remarked that it put him in mind of a Solero, and indeed it did bring back summer memories of sucking the last remnants of melted ice lolly while sitting out at the park on a scorching summer's day.

A gentle, sunny crowd-pleaser, the Sunset Slushie will likely become a firm favourite among Nando's customers, not least because it doubles as a pretty good tongue soother for if you end up overdoing it on the extra hot dipping sauce. If you still pine for Nando's mango and lime marinade (gone but not forgotten) then this is the tipple for you. Lip-smacking stuff.

'I tried Nando's' new cocktails - there's one lemon and herb fans will loathe'The Sunset Slushie made for a pretty good tongue soother (Julia Banim)
'I tried Nando's' new cocktails - there's one lemon and herb fans will loathe'A sunny crowd pleaser (Nando’s)

PERI-cante (£7.95)

As pleasant as the Sunset Slushie was, I was more intrigued by the daring-sounding PERI-cante, another frozen cocktail mixed with vodka, smoky mezcal, lime, and a hint of chilli. The dash of chilli here is a pretty generous one, let me tell you, and I could feel it in my nostrils after just one sip.

As someone who loves cocktails with a spicy twist, I was in absolute heaven. The heat is balanced out nicely with the cool zestiness of the lime, while the smokiness of the mezcal adds something a little extra. Overall, the PERI-cante, which is Nando's take on the classic Picante, tastes more like something you'd order at an upmarket cocktail bar than at a family-friendly chain restaurant and was my favourite by far out of the two.

Lemon and herb fans may well loathe it, but if you like your Peri-Peri chicken extra hot, then this is absolutely the beverage for you.

'I tried Nando's' new cocktails - there's one lemon and herb fans will loathe'Those who order their Peri-Peri extra hot will adore the PERI-cante (Julia Banim)
'I tried Nando's' new cocktails - there's one lemon and herb fans will loathe'The PERI-cante was my personal favourite (Julia Banim)

All in all, I enjoyed both cocktails, and would happily reorder. My boyfriend, who admittedly isn't a lifelong Nando's fan like myself, was also impressed and felt the drinks far surpassed his expectations and, in his view, the food.

Although both distinct in their own way, I was able to happily sip away at while enjoying my meal (Butterfly Chicken, Macho Peas, and, naturally, Peri-Peri Chips), without impacting the flavour of the food. I can also imagine taking the time to enjoy a relaxing after-dinner cocktail at Nando's, something I'd never before envisioned.

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The PERI-cante was my favourite, being more of a sharper, grown-up drink with a bit of zip to it, but I could also see myself ordering a round of Sunset Slushies for an instant poolside feel.

These limited edition drinks are part of a trial, and are currently only available at certain restaurants: Kings Cross, Westfield Stratford City, Battersea and Waterloo Station, Brighton (Marina), Crawley, Liverpool (ONE), Hull (Princess Quay), Birmingham (Selly Oak), Wolverhampton (Bentley Bridge), and Salford (Salford Quays).

Julia Banim

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