Clodagh Davis produces her award-winning range of cordials in Co Wexford, using the freshest local fruit

Brought to you by Dunnes Stores.

Lots of great business ideas are sparked from spotting a gap in the market, but Clodagh Davis wasn’t aware she was planting the seeds of her business Naturally Cordial, when she started making her own cordial drinks for her young son. When he started secondary school, Clodagh brought her recipe to her son’s school for a small fundraiser and the drinks went down a storm with the kids and adults alike, so when she was made redundant in 2013, she decided to start producing her unique fruit drinks.

She now makes a whole suite of flavours as Naturally Cordial, and she also produces four delicious cordials for the Simply Better range in Dunnes Stores. “We use the whole fruit in our cordials and they’re made to a traditional recipe,” says Clodagh. “It’s a simple process but it’s hard work. All our citrus fruit is organic, we get it from a local supplier, and we get all of our strawberries, blackcurrants, rhubarb and raspberries within a 12-mile radius here in Wexford.”

Using soft fruits from her neighbours is of huge importance to Clodagh, not only does it give her drinks a unique and distinctive flavour, but she is passionate about supporting the local farmers: “Ribena used to take blackcurrants from about nine farms here in Wexford but a few years ago they changed their policy and a lot of farms in the area were at a loss. This is my way of supporting them.”

SIMPLY BETTER FLAVOUR 

Clodagh produces four tasty flavours for the Simply Better range, Wexford Blackcurrant is one of those: “We also have Apple, Cucumber & Elderflower; Irish Strawberry & Orange; and Irish Raspberry & Rhubarb. They’re all equally as popular with customers. Blackcurrant is a really deep, intense flavour, so you either love it or you don’t. The raspberry and rhubarb is a really good flavour, and lots of people will go for blackcurrant in winter and strawberry or apple in summer to have a nice variety.”

Last year, Naturally Cordial won Gold, Silver and Bronze at the Blas Na hEireann food awards. The Gold award was for the Simply Better Irish Raspberry & Rhubarb Cordial: “I’ve been there as a finalist many times and watched someone else pick up awards so last year was fabulous. You know the judges really know their food, they’re experts, and to have your products that you worked so hard on recognised at something like that is amazing.”

Clodagh has also seen a demand for her drinks in restaurants around the country, as chefs look for drinks that are just as focused on quality and provenance as the dishes on their menus. Parents will be very happy to know that Naturally Cordial drinks are “below the sugar levy”, as Clodagh explains: “That’s where my cordial is quite unique, most other cordials would use at least twice as much sugar as a preservative. We’ve reduced that and we now pasteurise to maintain the shelf life.”

The fruit mixers are also great fun for children, and adults, too. “I don’t drink much,” says Clodagh, “so I love a cordial mocktail. You can combine them with tonic water and angostura bitters or add other juices like passionfruit or mango for a really nice range of mocktails as well as cocktails. You can dress the glass and kids can have loads of fun adding the fruit, straws and umbrellas. Kids love nothing better than a fancy drink.”

So, on a warm summer’s day, what is Clodagh’s ideal drink? “I love the Simply Better Wexford Blackcurrant, a slice of lime and lots of sparkling water and ice in a nice glass – delicious!”

Article from the May/June 2020 issue of Irish Country Magazine, out now.