No it's not a couple of Redheads in a jelly wrestling competition. This is a few Jamaican style ginger beers sparring against each other. I can't help thinking I've lost a few readers there, but that's understandable considering jelly could be considered as a snack, and this is primarily a snack blog! However, I digress... So many drinks companies out there profess to have the perfect recipe for non-alcoholic Jamaican ginger beer that I just had to try a few against each other.
Abbott's KA Traditional Jamaican Style Ginger Beer
The can told me, well it didn't talk as such, but the label stated that Kenneth Abbott had been a young adventurer and had travelled to the Caribbean to find recipes for soft drinks. Made in Glasgow this sparkling Traditional Jamaican Style Ginger Beer had been one of them. There was certainly a healthy fizz on opening the can and a strong biting smell of ginger. The bubbles and fiery ginger odour tickled my nose hairs right up until my lips touched the opening of the can. I took a good swig and almost coughed as the sweet flames of ginger root bit at the back of my throat and made my nose twitch to the point of sneezing. This is by far the strongest ginger beer I've tasted, even without the addition of alcohol. The sweetness isn't saccharin, but natural lip smacking sugary goodness. The almost vicious ginger bite lingered right through to the aftertaste with the added sweetness, leaving a glorious sweet ginger flavour in the mouth that just kept popping at me when I licked my teeth. Even once poured into a glass this fizzy lemonade coloured drink made my nose itch on final lips approach, the sides of my mouth burn, and the back of my throat want to run home and cry for my Mummy! If this ginger beer was a Redhead it would be a buxom Scotish maiden with a caber to toss in each hand and woe betide anyone who dared to wrestle with her!
Information on the 330ml can;
Per 330ml serving there was 206 calories, with 51.5g of sugar and a trace of fat. Ingredients included; carbonated water, sugar, flavourings containing ginger root extract, citric acid, and preservative E202.
Extra Fiery Old Jamaica Ginger Beer
This Extra Fiery Old Jamaica Ginger Beer was produced by Cott Beverages in Kegworth, near Derby. The can stated that this ginger beer contained extra fiery Jamaican root ginger. After my beating from the Abbott's caber tossing ginger nut, I was a bit confused at just how more fiery a ginger beer could be. Perhaps I was just about to find out or was I to be disappointed? Breaking open the can I at once noticed that the odour of ginger was less than the crazy Abbott's. No nose tingling effect on approach to this drink. This is where I made my first mistake. This ginger beer goaded me in on a wave of fizzy ignorance. I took a haughty big swig and was entrapped in a fiery ginger fizzy haze for a few moments before gulping the burning liquid down. My nose was tingling quite heavily at this point. So much so that I sneezed. I then laughed at my foolish over confidence and then sneezed again. This ginger beer didn't have the sweetness mixed with the spice of the Abbott's. It had a full on ginger burn that simultaneously tickled the inside of my mouth with the fizz and set fire to the inside of my mouth with the spice, leaving a tantalising spicy ginger aftertaste. This ginger beer isn't like a crazy caber tossing Redhead. It's more like a ginger secret agent enticing you in with her ponytailed beauty only to kick you repeatedly with the poison tipped dagger on the end of her black thigh length boots!
Information on the 330ml can;
Per 100ml this ginger beer has 63 calories with 15.7g of sugar and traces of fat, so not much different health wise than the Abbott's. Ingredients included; carbonated water, sugar, citric acid, stabilisers containing Gum Arabic and Quillaia extract, preservative sodium benzoate, and flavourings of ginger root extract.
Light Old Jamaican Ginger Beer
In the olden days when I was a lad most drinks and snacks that professed to be sugarless tasted a bit weird and more often than not way too over poweringly saccharin for my tastes. Light snacks and drinks have come a long way since then, but I still drink full sugar Ben Shaw's Shandy, as any sugar free shandys I've tried on the market still taste odd to me. Having said that and after the cutthroat Redhead secret agent review above for Cott Beverages full sugar ginger beer, I was certainly intrigued by their claims of "Same Fiery Taste" on the bottle. Indeed on opening the bottle there was a good fizz and a healthy whiff of ginger to entice my taste buds. On taste this ginger beer certainly had fire, but it didn't make me sneeze this time. This ginger beer had a sweet saccharin taste, not unpleasant or overpowering, but dissimilar to the pure sugar flavour of the brutish Abbott's ginger beer and without the super bashing of ginger to go with it. Instead the ginger mixed with the sucralose to form a fiery sweet blend that didn't make me sneeze, didn't burn my mouth out, but did make me want to drink more and more with its initial fiery ginger kick followed by its saccharin sweetness. This ginger beer didn't have the same ginger fear factor as the two full sugar varieties, but certainly was very tasty and was an excellent healthy alternative for those who like to save their teeth and limit the size of their bellies. This ginger beer reminded me of a coaxing pig tailed cheerleader with a switchblade behind her back. One quick stab of the blade and if you survive the sweetness prevails!
Information on the 500ml bottle;
Per 100ml this ginger beer has 0.5 calories with no sugar and no fat, so if you want a healthy alternative ginger beer this is probably your best bet. Ingredients included; carbonated water, sweetener sucralose, citric acid, stabiliser Quillaia extract, preservative sodium benzoate, and flavourings of ginger root extract.