A Bunch Of Ginger Ales

I have been on a bit of a rant against High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) lately. It started some time ago when I made my first batch of orgeat and compared it to the Fee Brothers’ Orgeat. The Fee’s was foul stuff, and I dumped the entire bottle down the drain. Since then I’ve been occasionally destroying the kitchen making a number of homemade ingredients like orgeat, more orgeat, passionfruit syrup, grenadine, and rock candy syrup. In all cases I’ve been using organic cane sugar, and have seriously begun to appreciate the taste of a quality sugar in a beverage.

I began to notice some of those “artisanal” sodas, like Jones Soda and Stirrings Ginger Ale, and have been checking the ingredients. If it was a flavor that sounded interesting – and it contained cane sugar – I bought a bottle. My wife has been going crazy since I’ve been packing the fridge with this stuff lately. Sheesh. I could have worse habits.

Some of these sodas have been quite good, and some mediocre. The Jones Sodas are simply fantastic. If you have not tried one yet, please do so. I love vanilla cream soda, and Jones is one of the best, along with Polar Premium Classic – or something like that. The Polar website does not list this exact soda, though it does list the typical version with HFCS. They are not the same, not in the slightest. Many of the others I’ve tried – like Boylans, Mercury, and a few others from the local Whole Foods Market – have been decent but I haven’t found anything that comes close to the Jones. Yet. I’ll keep looking.

Until then, I’ve been exploring making my own sodas. I’ve got a little studying to do, since most of the information out there has to do with fermented sodas and I’d prefer to have more control over the carbonation. I love carbonation. I love those big fat sharp bubbles that almost cut my tongue. So I’d prefer to carbonate by forcing carbon dioxide into the soda rather than experimenting with yeasts and temperatures until I get it right. Maybe I’m fussing for nothing, but I have a habit of over-studying a subject before starting something. Oh well, I do enjoy the knowledge-gain.

Ginger Ales
While these sodas are good or great, none have sounded too appetizing if mixed with rum. And it’s all about the rum, and a rum & ginger with a squeeze of lime is a simple, quick, enjoyable mix. So I went out looking for ginger ales made with cane sugar, and managed to find just a few. I decided to compare these against some of the typical ginger ales, and some of the not so typical ones.

Alas, so many ginger ales are regional. I seriously wish that I could find Vernors around Boston, or Blenheim’s.

The High Fructose Corn Syrup Selection
Oh, boy. I get to swig down some HFCS. And I do it willingly! All in the name of science…

(I’m not going to mention prices on these HFCS ones since they’re fairly typical prices.)

Schweppes
Ingredients: Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup and/or sugar, citric acid, natural flavors, sodium benzoate, caramel color.

Sweet, tiny sharp bubbles, small amount of ginger, very crisp feeling but a mild taste. HFCS isn’t too noticeable – at least it’s not horrid. Overall, not bad, but definitely not enough ginger by a long shot.

Canada Dry
Ingredients: Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural flavors, sodium benzoate, caramel color.

Much softer than Schweppes in the bubble department. Drier, but not by much. The ginger amount is about the same, but the ginger seems a tiny bit sweeter.

Seagrams
Ingredients: Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup and/or sugar, citric acid, sodium benzoate, caramel color, and natural flavoring.

Bubbles are almost as sharp as the Schweppes, but there’s very little taste. Really, why bother? This is a waste of good carbonation, and I’m left feeling sorry for a bunch of ginger plants that gave up their existence for nothing. It’s sad that this contains more preservative than natural flavor.

Polar
Ingredients: Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural flavoring, and caramel color.

Not a lot of taste here. Bubbles are mediocre – smooth and tiny. Somewhat sweet. Pretty much a waste of time though. No sodium benzoate though, which has got to be better for the taste – if there was more taste…

Summary
The HFCS isn’t so terrible is all of these. Granted, none are as sweet as a Coke or a typical Cream Soda, so maybe I was afraid for no reason. But none have much taste, in my opinion. The ginger is quite mild in all of them, like an afterthought – or an active thought that this stuff needed to taste different when compared to seltzer. My pick is the Schweppes, but I primarily chose that because I love the bubbles. They are all equally boring in taste, so I have to pick for some reason, right?

The Cane Sugar Selection
As I mentioned, I was not able to find too many ginger ales made with cane sugar. Well, not “pure” ones at least – I did find some Jamaican-style ginger ale, some ginger beers, and a ginger ale seltzer. I’ll get to these “oddball” ginger ales after I go through the “typical” ginger ales.

Outrageous Ginger Ale from Natural Brew
Ingredients: Sparkling filtered water, evaporated cane juice, brewed ginger, natural flavors, citric acid.

I bought a single 12oz bottle of this, but I seem to remember that a 4-pack was about $4.50. Don’t quote me on that though. Natural Brew is a division of Smucker’s – http://www.smuckers.com/fc/brands/default.asp

This stuff has lots of ginger taste, is fairly sweet, with very smooth carbonation. It’s got a hint of oddness to it, not unpleasant at all, just different. I’m going to take a wild stab and guess that this might be from the use of Jamaican ginger. (Note: After tasting the Reed’s below, this guess is more of a hypothesis.) It is very good, but I can imagine better. And the carbonation is too soft for me.

Stirrings’ Ginger Ale
Ingredients: Triple filtered carbonated water, sugar, citric acid, ginger extract and other natural flavors.

Update: Interestingly enough, the Stirrings’ website says “Our Ginger Ale is made with triple purified water, real ginger, Mexican lime and cane sugar. ” Lime?

This soda comes in a 4-pack of 6.3oz bottles, for about $5. That’s quite expensive for a ginger ale, but if it’s worth it…

This has an incredible punch of ginger, far more than the Outrageous above. The ginger is mildy sweet in itself – perhaps because they use ginger extract? Beyond the ginger itself this is a bit sweet – sweeter than the HFCS ones above but still far from a Coke. The bubbles are tiny, but still a bit sharp. (The bottle calls the “Champagne bubbles.”) This is very good, though the ginger itself is slightly imperfect. http://www.stirrings.com/

365 Ginger Ale
Ingredients: Filtered carbonated water, pure cane sugar, natural ginger flavor, citric acid, and caramel color.

This is Whole Foods Market store brand, and is priced quite aggressively at $2.29 for a 6-pack of 12oz cans. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/

This has a decent amount of ginger flavor, but it seriously comes across as the quality of a store brand. I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s just that it not quite as refined as the two above. It’s a little sweet, and the bubbles are very smooth – barely above the Outrageous. Chances are good that I’d grab this if I were throwing a party – it’s about 1/6 the price of the Stirrings’.

Boylan’s Ginger Ale
Ingredients: Carbonated water, cane sugar, citrus oils, natural ginger flavors, citric acid, caramel color, sodium benzoate

I bought a 4-pack at Trader Joe’s and seem to remember it being about $4, though it could have been $4.50. This is in line with most others in this area, like the Outrageous. This company from New Jersey makes a number of sodas made with cane sugar, and also produces a small line called “The Natural Kind” without artificial flavors, artificial colors, or preservatives. Alas, no ginger ale in this line. http://www.boylanbottling.com/

Small bubbles, but crisp. A bit sweet but not too far at all. Decent ginger taste, but still milder than I’d like. It has a much milder taste than the Whole Foods’ 365, but the Boylan’s does taste a bit more natural. The bubbles in the Boylan’s are much better though, which isn’t too difficult against the 365. The Boylan’s has noticeably more taste than the Schweppes, and actually has better bubbles, too.

Summary
Though none of these are perfect, they are all above the HFCS selection. They have more natural tastes, far more ginger taste, and are simple better tasting all around. Stirrings’ wins this round easily. The Boylan’s comes in second, but it might actually be preferred by many since it tastes more like a typical ginger ale than the others. The 365’s bargain price is not to be missed at the right times though. And if you might prefer the Outrageous, if you happen to like its slight oddness that I guessed was Jamaican ginger.

The “Atypical” Selection
These are not what I consider to be typical ginger ales in the style that I grew up with, so I call them “atypical.” They certainly have their own categories, so categorize them how you like. One is made with 80% fruit juice and I just can’t call that typical. Another is a Jamaican ginger ale, and having tasted it in the past I can not file this along with Schweppes or even Stirrings’. The last two are ginger beers, which are typical less sweet than ginger ales and pack more ginger flavor.

Knudsen Ginger Ale Spritzer
Ingredients: Sparkling filtered water, white grape and apple juice concentrates, ginger root, natural flavors.

I got this at Whole Foods Market. A 6-pack of 12oz cans was $4.69, so it’s about in the middle of the cane sugar ale pricing. This one is certainly unusual because it contains 80% fruit juice. Yet they call it ginger ale. And the can also says its a “flavored sparkling beverage from juice concentrate.” How typical is that? Even though it doesn’t contain cane sugar at least it has natural sweetening from the fruit juices. http://www.knudsenjuices.com/

The smell of the pear juice hits as the can nears my mouth. It’s sweet, and there is ginger in it. The bubbles are very small and far between so I’m not a fan of the carbonation. If you wanted a different taste to your fruit juice this is the way to go. It is quite good but it’s just not a ginger ale, and I would be hard-pressed to use this in for mixing. (Though some mixologist might put this to good use in a cocktail.)

Reed’s Premium Ginger Brew
Ingredients: Sparkling filtered water, sweetened by a blend of Canadian white water clover honey and pineapple juice from concentrate, fresh ginger root, lemon and lime juices from concentrate, and spices

A 4-pack of 12oz bottles was $4. This bottles uses the phrases “ginger brew” and “Jamaican style ginger ale” so categorize it however you like, but I can’t directly compare this to Canada Dry. Also, it’s sweetened with honey and pineapple juice, so it doesn’t really fall in with the sugar cane drinks. http://www.reedsgingerbrew.com/brews.html

This packs some strong ginger tastes, but not the same type of ginger as those above.Between the Outrageous above and this bottle I will attribute this difference in taste to the use of Jamaican ginger. Then again, this contains a whole bunch of ingredients that aren’t in the other ginger ales, so I can’t be too sure. This is fairly sweet, with tiny smooth bubbles. Luckily there’s a good deal of those bubbles so my desire for carbonation is satisfied. Overall, this is a very good drink, and the taste difference will probably grow on me and I’ll like it a lot more. There’s no doubt of the quality in this one, it’s just that the taste is a little different right now.

Reed’s makes several variations of this ginger ale. I’ll have to try some of the others.

The Ginger People’s Ginger Beer
Ingredients: Water, cane sugar, naturally pressed ginger juice, natural ginger extract, citric acid, natural flavor.

Another Whole Foods Market purchase, a 4-pack of 12oz bottles was $5.50 putting it at the high end of these sodas, though still far cheaper than the Stirrings’. Apparently this won an award – Most Outstanding Beverage – from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade. The Ginger People make a whole slew of ginger products – I even purchased some of their ginger extract today. http://www.gingerpeople.com/

There is quite a bit of ginger in this, by far the most so far. The aroma hits before the bottle touches my lips. This has so much ginger that it gives a bit of a spicy burn at the back of the throat. And this stuff kinda tastes like they roasted the ginger – though this isn’t possible given the ingredients. Perhaps they age it? Vernors ages some (or all?) of their ginger drinks.

This is not very sweet, very tiny bubbles and a decent amount though I’d wish for more. Very high quality. I’m not sure what else I can say about it other than I simply *must* try a “Darkn Stormy” with this ginger beer. Outstanding.

Barritt’s Ginger Beer
Ingredients: Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, natural and artificial flavoring, citric acid, sodium benzoate, gum arabic, caramel color, guar gum.

This seems to be available at most good liquor stores around me. I have no idea how much I paid for it. Let me be upfront by stating that I am *very* depressed that the beer I got was made with high fructose corn syrup, not sugar. And canned in Florida. And look at those other ingredients – guar gum? I did not get the real thing. I’m very depressed. http://www.barrittsgingerbeer.bm/

This has a very good amount of ginger in it. Not as much as Stirrings’ or The Ginger People’s, but more than the Reed’s. So for ginger strength, this comes in third. It’s fairly sweet, but does have the tinge and burning sensation of HFCS. The bubbles are very good – medium seized, slightly sharp, and plenty of them. It is quite good. I can only imagine how good the sugar version is. Even still, this is good enough to continue buying.

Summary
This is an easy decision – The Ginger People’s Ginger Beer is outstanding. Simply fantastic. The Reed’s is very good, too, though it has that blend of ingredients that make it quite unique. The Barritts, despite the HFCS, is quite good and comes in a close third. The Knudsen’s fruit juice stuff is simply out of the running. Though it’s very good and high quality, it just does not belong here amongst the others.

Overall Summary
Well I’ve spent almost 3 hours now sampling 11 carbonated ginger beverages and I’m not quite burnt out yet. But I’m tired as hell, so I certainly can’t continue.

This entire comparison was intended to pick a ginger ale suited for mixing in a Rum & Ginger. To that end, the Stirrings’ is probably my first choice. I’d probably pick the Whole Foods 365 next, unless I wanted some powerful bubbles and then I’d grab the Schweppes. Go figure on that last one. But this choice for mixing is a bit of a guess at this point, and I’ll have to do some comparisons with rum. Hopefully very soon.

But another wildly different cocktail is the Dark n Stormy, traditionally made with Barritt’s and Gosling’s Black Seal. The ingredients are almost identical to a Rum & Ginger – rum, lime, and ginger beer instead of ginger ale. I can’t help but think about a Dark & Stormy made with The Ginger People’s brew, and I’ll get right on that as soon as possible. I’m curious too, about making one using Gosling’s Old Rum. Hell, it’s the same rum as the Black Seal – just aged longer. Will a Ginger People and Gosling’s Old make for an upper-crust Dark n Stormy?

Not to skip it in the end, I have to mention the Reed’s again. This stuff is very good, but a bit unique for mixing. For me. One of the talented mixologists out there should be able to create something using this ginger ale.

Edited 11/16/07 – Added Boylan’s Ginger Ale.

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46 Responses to “A Bunch Of Ginger Ales”

  1. Shawn Says:

    Thanks for that review of ginger ales/beers. I’ll have to try the Ginger People’s brew. That sounds great. Reed’s Premium Ginger Beer is okay, but I like the Reed’s Extra Ginger Beer better. More ginger kick. Also, I highly recommend the Reed’s Spiced Apple Cider. It’s a sparkling apple cider spiced with your standard mix of spices, but with a lot of ginger. It comes in 12oz bottles like the other ones, but you can also find it in a 750ml bottle. Fun for a holiday dinner, if you have guests who don’t drink alcohol. Not sure how I would mix it in a “real” drink, though.

  2. Recap Sundays - Other Grandiose Posts from the Mixosphere Says:

    […] Scott discusses a bunch of Ginger Ales, and throws in a few Ginger Beers for good measure […]

  3. Emily Says:

    This is my favorite for a Dark and Stormy – Cock n’ Bull Ginger Beer. I picked up a case at my local Cash and Carry making the price ~$1.25/bottle. It is sold at my local grocery store for ~$1.99/bottle. This is very spicy stuff with no HFCS. The bottle lists it as produced out of Hopkins, MN. I am in Seattle and find this at many stores.

    I’ve done some experimenting with making my own ginger beer. I did not ferment mine and the results were pretty good, if a little too sweet for my taste. I found the recipe here:

    http://endlessbanquet.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_archive.html

    You’ll have to search in the page for “ginger” to find the recipe for Super Ape-Approved Ginger Beer as the site doesn’t allow direct links to recipes.

  4. Aaron Says:

    I really like Reeds, and I’ve made quite a few Dark & Stormy’s with it. The trick is to use a bit less brew than you would a regular ginger ale, a little more lime, and a rum with a bit of a punch to overcome the sharp ginger taste. I believe the last time I had Reeds I made one with Flor de Cana (18 maybe?) and a dash of brandy. Although the Flor does not have as much punch as, say Mount Gay XO, the brandy’s kick actually helps accentuate the rum a little. Have yet to try Reeds with Goslings Black.

  5. Scottes Says:

    Shawn, I have a feeling that if you like the Reed’s Extra then you’ll love the Ginger People’s. It’s a different taste from the Reed’s, but they both are very high quality.

    Emily, thanks for the recipe! I am hoping to start making some sodas next week, and ginger beer is 3rd on the list. I have to do ginger ale and vanilla cream first. I just have to…

    Aaron, I like the Reed’s too, quite a bit. Thanks for the tips, since I was a bit dumbfounded on how to mix it!

  6. the modern serf Says:

    you should try the goya ginger beer. spicy as hell, cheap, and available at pretty much every grocery store in boston (or at least allston.)

  7. Scottes Says:

    Dang, I was in a Latino grocery yesterday grabbing some Mexican coke. I never thought about looking for Goya ginger beer. They had tons of Goya products. I will keep an eye out though. Thanks!

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  9. Dr. Bamboo Says:

    Thanks for the breakdown on all these brands! Aside from the big brands (Seagram’s Schweppes, Canada Dry) the only others I’ve seen locally are Reed’s, Knudsen’s, and 365. Our local Whole Foods carries *some* Stirrings products, but I don’t recall seeing their ginger ale…I’l have to double-check.

    Now I really want a Dark n’ Stormy!

  10. Scottes Says:

    Doctor, check liquor stores for the Stirrings’ products, as well as the big chain supermarkets. They are worth some effort in finding them. They’re expensive, but they are high-quality products.

  11. Cynthia Papierniak Says:

    Hi,
    I’m not desperate enough to start brewing my own sodas, but Goose Island (Chicago) makes HFCS-free Root Beer and
    Orange Soda. Both are great.

  12. Adam Says:

    Have you seen the Ginger People in local stores? Ive never seen it down here. I went to the site, but couldnt bare paying all that shipping! It doubles the price!

  13. Scottes Says:

    Adam, I got it at a Whole Foods Market. You’ve got 5 near you, but I haven’t seen them in every WFM so you might want to call first.

  14. Adam Says:

    Thank you! I will hunt down a Whole Foods… I think they have a sister company of Genuardis, Ill check them out.

  15. the modern serf Says:

    upon further inspection, the goya is HFCS-based. however, when i was in blanchards today, i saw “A.J. Stephan’s jamaican style Ginger Beer” which is made in Fall River. they were selling it by the bottle for 99 cents.

  16. Rick Says:

    I’m going to have to chime in on all the good comments about Reed’s. It’s the only ginger beer I can find, and I’m quite happy about that.

    What is the difference between their regular and premium?

  17. Scottes Says:

    MS, I just saw AJ Stephan’s the other day and grabbed a vanilla cream and a ginger beer. I thought the vanilla cream was a little light in taste. I’ll find out about the ginger beer later this week.

    Rick, Reed’s page is down, so I copied this from cache:

    Reed’s Original Ginger Brew was our first creation, and is a Jamaican recipe for homemade ginger ale using 17 grams of fresh ginger root, lemon, lime, honey, fructose, pineapple, herbs and spices.

    Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew is the same recipe, but has 25 grams of fresh ginger root for a stronger bite.

    Reed’s Premium Ginger Brew is the wholesome ingredients version of Reed’s Original Ginger Brew, sweetened only with honey and pineapple juice.

  18. quazi Says:

    Try Blenheim’s extra hot. Good carbonation, strong ginger. Does have HFCS though but is top of the hfcs heap by far.

  19. Rob Says:

    Hey. Just thought I’d chime in on the whole ginger beer thing seeing as it’s pretty much the only soda I drink. Personally, my personal favorite is Barrit’s or Regatta both are Bermuda stone ginger beers. I have yet to figure out exactly what that means, but I’ve had one or two other Bermuda stone ginger beers, and all of them had fairly similar taste profiles, so I’m guessing that’s a fairly well defined style of ginger beer. I think the Regatta product is an organic etc. product (http://www.regattagingerbeer.com/). That said, for your dark and stormy (note, a dark and stormy is different from a Dark N’ Stormy, the latter being 50% Gossling’s Black Seal and 50% Barritt’s and sold in cans while the former is defined more loosely), I find there is really no substitute for a good Bermuda stone ginger beer and Gossling’s, or perhaps another black rum. I have tried with a large number of different ginger beers and a few different rums. Also, I should note that my favorite dark and stormies only used a dash or so of lime juice, barely mixed in, and used proportions of about 3:1 rum to ginger beer (my favorite was made by a private caterer on a ride from the Royal Navy Dockyards back towards Warwick and Paget, and my second favorite is from the bar at the Horizon’s cottage colony, by reputation the bar at the Lantana resort by the Scaur Hill fort used to have an amazing one, but they’ve been gone several years). So sue me, I’m more or less a son of Bermuda, at least in part.

  20. Scottes Says:

    Thanks for the tips Rob. As soon as I get some time, I have been planning to go over the dark and stormy, the Dark N’ Stormy, and ginger beer. One of these days soon…

  21. Dave Says:

    I grew up in the Detroit area and so was always partial to Vernor’s Ginger Ale. It’s great as an ice cream float and as a Boston Cooler which is made with vanilla ice cream and blended. Funny that now you can not find it in Boston. We also had Bull Dog Ginger Beer which I believe was a Detroit product. I enjoyed that as a soft drink until some one introduced me to Bull Dog and gin on a hot summer day. I enjoy sampling the various ginger beers and most are pretty good, but there are very few good ginger ales. Most seem more a citrus drink than ginger. Vernor’s is still gingery as it always has been. Here in Tulsa it is only sold as a mixer, so sales volume is nowhere as great as if they marketed it as a soft drink. The result is a higher price, around 75 cents to a dollar per 12 ounce can, but at least I can still get it to tide me over between visits to Michigan when we truck back cases of the stuff. And then there are the ginger beers I can get at Wild Oats, now owned by Whole Foods.

  22. Dave Says:

    Since my posting in which was mentioned the Boston Cooler, I have been informed the drink made with Vernors Ginger Ale and vanilla ice cream was named for Boston Boulevard in Detroit where the drink was supposedly first concocted. You’ve gotta try it. I think ginger beer and vanilla ice cream would make a similar and delicious drink.

  23. Jim Says:

    OK….I’ve been reading up for awhile on all this….Vernor’s Ginger Ale and Hires Root Beer fight for first American soft drinks….Dave, check out Vernors.com for its history…NOW who can clarify the differences between: ginger ale, ginger beer, ginger soda, ginger soda ale? In Chicago, we get Vernor’s Ginger Soda but not their Ginger Ale. Ginger Beer is almost impossible to find except at high end shops. I never thought to ask the Bermuda bartenders which ginger product they were using in their various dark and stormys when we were there. So, Scott, what have you decided?

  24. Mike S. Says:

    Great post! I love ginger ale/beer and this review of a bunch of them is very helpful. If I may add my own preferences:

    Ginger ale = Fever Tree, my hands-down favorite (along with literally everything else they make).

    Ginger beer = tougher, since they’re a bit harder to find. I’ve enjoyed both Bundaberg (from Australia) and Cock ‘n Bull (from right here at home). I’d love to try genuine Barritts from Bermuda, but can’t find it anywhere.

    Cheers!

  25. Jon K. Says:

    After reading this wonderful post I was very much inspired to go find some great ginger ales. My drink of choice whenever I go out has now been a Rum & Ginger with a wedge of Lime. I can’t think of a better drink for almost any occasion. Anyways, after purchasing a few of these myself, I found that they all did lack a certain ginger punch. I think I have found an amazingly good Ginger Ale. It’s called Blenheim Ginger Ale. I must first say that I do not think they make their product out of “pure cane sugar,” and they are expensive, I bought a single bottle for $1.50. However, they do not use high fructose corn syrup, they use sucrose instead. The ginger ale is so good because it packs a ginger punch, has a lulling sweetness, and the bubbles are very well rounded, not overly powerful, but not mild either. I’m willing to send you pictures of this wonderful stuff if need be. If you can’t find it locally, I’m sure you can find it online. Good luck sir!

  26. Donna Says:

    I love ginger beer, as it is something that was introduced to me by my grandmother as a child. I went to a Jamaican restaurant in L.A. and had a wonderful homemade version as an adult an it began my craving. I have tried Blenheim’s ginger beer and ginger ale and find that the ginger ale is better. The ginger beer has a strange aftertaste. I have also found this with Stewart’s. My favorites are DG Jamaican GB, Cock & Bull, Goya, and Regatta. Reeds has too much going on for it to be enjoyable (don’t really care for pineapple in my ginger beer). Goya is probably the most accessible, the cheapest and is also given an extra kick with the addition of capsicum (what makes pepper hot). Vernors is also a favorite stand-by.

  27. Scottes Says:

    I’ll have to try the Goya, since so many have said that it’s a good one – and i like the kick of capsicum. It is quite common around here – I’m not sure why I haven’t tried it yet. And I’ll have to try the regatta – I’ve seen it at Whole Foods Markets before. Thanks!

  28. Evan Says:

    Best combination: Blenheim Hot and Ron Zacapa, with lime. No doubt about it.

  29. Rolley Says:

    Great review of rum and ginger ales Scott!
    I enjoyed that read.
    In Australia, right down the road from the most famous (Bundaberg) Rum distiller, is the Bundaberg softdrink factory, they make awesome Ginger ale, and they also make 1 of australia’s best sarsperellas.
    The bundy ginger ale is a proper brewed ginger ale, old style, brewed with all the flavour of local grown ginger roots, no fake ginger crap – and it goes great with tons of rums. And the Sars is fantstic, if you can sample some decent sarsperellas, decent ones, like ones that are brewed from the sarsperella root, get them and try them with some big bodied rums (like.. maybe.. pyrat, appletons, bundaberg 8, and so on)..
    Anyway, nice stuff, and keep your eyes out in any shops for imported bundaberg ginger ale/beer, or brewed sarsperella! : )
    Rolley

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  31. Marci Says:

    Ran across your web page. We too have cleared our shelves of all food items containing HFCS. The only soda made with sugar I have found in our area (Vermont) is polar classics. However you can make your own simply by adding sugar and flavor to plain carbonated water (seltzer). I’m very glad to see that more people are jumping on the ‘no HFCS’ bandwagon. I agree with you 100% – the stuff isn’t just bad for ya, it tastes bad too.

  32. Farrell Says:

    I’ve been googling the cosmos looking trying to find variants of the rum/ginger/lime cocktail, and stumbled across this page. Ginger ale in general doesn’t cut it – no flavour whatsoever – though I’ve tried a fair few of them. Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew is noteworthy in being the only ginger-flavoured drink I have ever been unable to stomach. Think sip and spit-take, followed by a ceremonial pouring into the nearest sink.
    Anyway, you’ve left off my personal favourite, the ginger beer I now use. It’s a high fructose one, but more than makes up for it with sheer, unadulterated ginger flavour. It’s by Goya foods; just google Goya Ginger Beer and it will show up. Heavy on the ginger, but excellent in mixed drinks. About $1.30 for a 12oz bottle in stores, bit more if you buy online and have to ship, but worth it either way.

  33. Mark Andrews Says:

    Please tell me how to brew a “STEWARTS” spicy brand ginger ale at home???? PLEASE??

  34. Enrique Enfuego Says:

    Best Ginger Ales = Fever Tree hands down best… then Stirrings. Try Americana Ginger Ale made with honey and lime too. The Blenheims are good for heat and effervescence
    Best Ginger Beers = Bundaberg/D&G/Reed’s (depending on whether you want sweetness or more ginger bite)
    Best Ginger Juice = Ginger People Ginger Soother

  35. Susan Clarke Says:

    Did ginger ale used to be produced without corn syrup in it, or did they just start putting it on the label? If they changed it, why can’t they go back to the origninal formula and produce some orignial formula ginger ale?

  36. Scottes Says:

    I’d expect that the answer to that question would involve a history of High Fructose Corn Syrup, and I’m not up to that task.

    At one time, HFCS didn’t exist, so they must have used real sugar. Today, most companies – all big companies? – use HFCS, but one can find smaller brands still using real sugar.

  37. Dan Says:

    I was horrified when Barritts’ Ginger Beer went for pure cane sugar to HFCS for sweetner…ruined the product…
    you might enjoy Gosling’s, Jones Cream Soda(with sugar!), Angustora bitters….a jazzed up “rum & coke”….!!!
    Dan B.

  38. Rodger Says:

    I don’t drink my ginger ale as a mixer, I just went looking for something “natural” to replace soft drinks. I chose “Outrageous Ginger Ale by Natural Brew” It met my “natural” requirement and I really liked the extra “zing” from the Jamaican ginger. So for those just drinking ginger ale and like a little extra “zip” I give it 2 thumbs up.

  39. K. Says:

    I know this is an old blog post (relatively speaking), but thanks for the recommendation of Vernor’s. I’ve seen it where I lived and will now try it since I’m looking for a reasonably priced ginger ale that doesn’t use HFCS.

    I admit, never was a fan of Polar’s ginger ale, but I still miss their raspberry-lime soda!

  40. Phil Says:

    While up in the Adirondacks, I found another one that might need submission; Saranac Ginger Beer. Although it is an HFCS brew, it has a nice mellow taste. Made in Utica by the Matt Brewing Company (Utica Club….Schultz and Dooley?!), it was readily available throughout the area.
    ….Added to another old American tradition, Michter’s American Whiskey, and you’ve got, what I consider, one of my parents truely traditinal drinks; a Whiskey and Ginger. MMMMM!

  41. Marge Says:

    Where does one buy Schweppes ginger beer here in the USA?

  42. It was a light and stormy night | Butterscotch Ripple Says:

    […] number in his two part post (part one and part two). Scotte’s Rum does a thorough ginger ale review, and tucks a few ginger beers in for good […]


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