Like most people born and raised in an English-speaking corner of the West Indies, my first beer was a ginger beer, which is to say that it wasn’t really a beer at all.
As covered previously here, ginger beer, in its true sense, isn’t the sudsy alcoholic beverage most of the world knows beer to be, but rather a spicy soft drink that mixes most excellently with rum (especially this rum).
So excellently does ginger beer mix with rum, in fact, that I would never dream of mixing it with any other spirit, much less beer. That’s just what you get, though, with Royal Jamaican Alcoholic Ginger Beer.
Produced by RJ Rums and Spirits Ltd. of Kingston, Jamaica, Royal Jamaican is said to be…
authentically brewed with locally grown Jamaican ginger, considered to be the finest in the world. The time-honored Jamaican recipe creates a unique, crisp, refreshing, full bodied ginger taste.
To be sure, it was the ginger that stood out most to me upon first trying Royal Jamaican. It’s everything the description above, pulled from the product website, says it is.
The problem with this stuff for me is the beer. Somehow, even with all that great Jamaican ginger, you smell the beer first as the drink draws closer to your lips. (This assumes, of course, that you, like me, have poured your Royal Jamaican into a glass.) It is not a pleasant smell either.
Remember those skunky $6 per-case beers you used to “enjoy” in college? It’s not quite to that level, but it’s close.
Hold your nose, take a sip and you’ll find Royal Jamaican to be pretty good, especially if you leave ice out of the equation. The frozen stuff mellows the ginger too much, allowing the not-so-nice beer flavor to come to the fore. Believe me, you don’t want that.
You also won’t want to add any rum to this real beer ginger beer either. For the most part, it’s just fine on its own when well-chilled and enjoyed straight from the bottle, plus, as noted here, there’s already a bit of rum in mix.