Rum & Ginger, Part 3

Back again for more about Rum and Ginger Ale, but first I have to review another ginger ale. This one is Boylan’s, which I found in a local Trader Joe’s.

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.

Small bubbles, but crisp. A bit sweet but not bad. 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. This is quite good, actually, and might be preferred by many since it tastes more like a typical ginger ale than the other cane sugar ales.

Back to the Rum & Ginger
I had planned on using the 365 for tonight’s comparison, but the Boylan’s beats it so I’ll try that instead. I opened a Schweppes and a 365 for the above comparison, so they might get thrown in if the mood strikes me.

Due to comments from Hank and Adam, I’ll be trying the Appleton V/X and the Appleton Extra tonight. Hank has mentioned that he enjoys the V?X with ginger ale, while Adam says that the “Appleton VX is very hard to play with.” And he suggest the Appleton Extra while I’m a bit worried about the barrel/smoke in this rum. We’ll see. I’m also going to through in a couple high-end rums that aren’t overly bold like the El Dorado I tried a few nights ago. A comment from Angelsword made me think about the Vizcaya VXOP, and once I grabbed that I revealed a bottle of Flor De Caña 18-year-old. What the heck.

Same lowball recipe as before – 1oz rum, 2oz ginger ale, a bit of lime. I’m going somewhere in between with the lime tonight – a gentle squeeze of a wedge. Since I found that the Stirrings’ already contained lime flavorings I’ll probably need a little bit more tonight.

Appleton V/X And Boylan’s
The rum and ginger ale have fused into a whole new taste, but not quite a pleasant one. The first part of the sip is simply odd, a bit of rum comes up and is followed by some ginger. Alas, neither really make themselves known, but rather pass quickly by. This is a bit dry. A bit more lime might help… and it does get better. It’s not odd any more, but it’s not great.

Appleton Extra and Boylan’s
I hit this with a bit more lime to start, hoping that it has an effect like it did on the V/X. This is decent, it seems. The rum comes through quite a bit, and the lime just a touch, but I’m wishing there was more ginger in here. Overall, it’s a little bit too rummy so another splash of ginger ale goes in, and it’s better. But still, the ginger itself is lost. It’s decent, but not a great balance of flavors.

Vizcaya VXOP and Boylan’s
I have no idea what made me pick this rum tonight, but I did want to try some high-end rums in this comparison, and this is such a damned nice rum. In a Rum & Ginger, this works fairly well, but it’s a little different than I had expected. It reminds me of my mistrials with the agricoles last night, which might be because of the Vizcaya’s sugar syrup origins. This drink doesn’t have those agricole tastes, but it does have some unexpected floral notes. Another sip, and it’s growing on me. Though it’s not quite perfect, it does let some of the rum tastes out without them obliterating the ginger like the Appleton Extra did.

I came back to this a few more times while tasting the mixtures below. In the end, this combination doesn’t work. Near the end of the glass, after some ice melt, this tastes more and more odd.

Flor De Caña 18-year-old and Boylan’s
There’s a nagging little voice that is telling me that mixing an 18-year-old rum with anything is a sin. But I’ve been known to sin, and have thus discovered some of the better things in life. This drink is pretty darned good, and a nice balance of all flavors involved. The rum comes through a bit, as does the ginger, and everyone plays together nicely. But it’s a bit too plain, though luckily not boring. The Vizcaya mix is certainly more interesting, but maybe a little too different, while the Flor De Caña is good in a somewhat plain way. Good, not great. Entertaining, but not enthralling. Attractive, but not quite beautiful. This is a safe mix.

Appleton Extra and 365
Since I’m not quite done yet, I thought I’d try one more. I sipped through the ginger ales again, and felt that the 365 deserved a quick test. In ways, the flavors in the 365 remind me of the Appleton Extra, so I thought that I’d give that a try. I came close to trying the 365 and Vizcaya, but as I kept sipping the 365 the Appleton kept coming into my head.

A quick sip shows that the Appleton is too powerful for this ginger ale, so I added some more bring it up to a 2½-to-1 ratio. This is more drinkable, but again not very exciting. Well, a couple more sips prove that it is quite drinkable, and has a nice balance. I’m just not excited about it.

Boylan’s is a good ginger ale in a style close to the more typical mass-market brands like Canada Dry. It is, however, made of quality ingredients and is certainly better than these HFCS concoctions.

None of the Rum & Gingers did much for me tonight. None were bad, but none were great. The Vizcaya is the only that I would not recommend, since it just came off too odd. The Flor De Caña was probably the best of the night, but not worth such a fine rum. And it’s not a contender when compared against mixing Stirrings’ with either Mount Gay Eclipse or El Dorado 12.

I am enjoying finding all these differences, and particularly pleased finding out how the ginger ale brings out flavors that are otherwise subtle, or even non-existent. Those odds taste with the Vizcaya simply do not exist without ginger ale – much like the agricole flavors that came out last night with the J.M. VSOP. The simple act of mixing ginger ale and rum is not as simple as it might seem.


11 Responses to “Rum & Ginger, Part 3”

  1. Adam Says:

    You are going to LOATHE ginger ale and any ginger product when you are down with all these tastings, haha!!

  2. Scottes Says:

    LOL! Yes, I might. Which may be why I didn’t get any great combos last night. I was planning on doing yet another ginger tonight, but I might have to do the Cuba Libre instead… Ack, I can’t do that since I’m out of Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva, which is definitely one of my choices. Or I make a trip in the rain to get some more… Maybe.

  3. Dr. Bamboo Says:

    I just found a pack of Ginger People ginger beer yesterday, so I need to get on the stick and do some tastings.

    For what it’s worth, it makes a *fantastic* Moscow Mule, IMHO.

  4. Silvio Says:

    I’d like to see what kind of a Cuba Libre the Matusalem makes. Just to I know whether I should use a little of my own Matusalem to make a Cuba Libre.

  5. Scottes Says:

    I’m sad to admit it, but the Gran Reserva makes a very fine Cuba Libre.

  6. Silvio Says:

    Why sad? Because after you’ve had a taste, it is gone so fast?

  7. Scottes Says:

    Sad, because that mean I have to admit that I mixed such a fine rum with Coke!

  8. tradertiki Says:

    Hey Scott!

    There’s a recipe for Ginger Beer here at a local pal’s site.

    This is served at Meriwether’s, and makes a nice Dark ‘n Stormy.

    I brewed up a batch this weekend, and it’s pretty good so far! I may still be hooked on Ginger People Ginger Beer for awhile though.

  9. Dood Says:

    I’m actually shocked to hear that Scott would mix Matusalem Gran Reserva in cola. SHOCKED! And relieved ’cause I’ve done similar things, and while I always say “Best ingredients for best cocktails” and “drink what makes you happy”, it’s nice to hear that I’m not the only one with this obsession that’s out there sneaking sipping rums into my cocktails.

  10. Category 3 Media Says:

    You need to move over to “ginger beer” as opposed to “ginger ale”. Their really is no comparison. “D&G” from Jamaica is the classic, but the Spanish brand “Goya” makes a pretty decent one. Much less sticky-sweet than the ginger ales, and much more of the ginger spicy-bite. Goes well with bold, sweet but less-complex gold rums, as well as Goslings, of course. Here in Miami, ginger beers are available at most grocery stores, but you might have better luck making your own. Sadly, I’ve noticed in the past few years all the Ginger Beer makers have made the move to Corn Syrup instead of sugar – much to their detriment.

    An added benefit of Rum & Ginger: prevents seasickness.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    By the way, I notice you have a bottle of Santa Teresa in your list, but you haven’t reviewed it yet. Crack that sucker open & try it NOW! (But don’t waste it in the Ginger Beer – use the Flor de Cana or the Barbancourt 4-year for that).

  11. Scottes Says:

    Yep, I have quite a few Ginger Beers and I need to start reviewing some once I get some free time. I think I have 5 or 6 different ones – all but one are made with cane sugar since that’s one thing I seek.

    Yes, ginger certainly helps with seasickness or nausea. One report I read said that a bottle of ginger ale is better than a Dramamine.

    I have cracked the Santa Teresa 1796. It is very good, but not as good as I had hoped so I put it back to try again when I’m in a different mood.

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