Today I'd like to discuss four different Jamaican soft drinks--two sodas, and two non-carbonated ones.
The sodas are produced by D&G, or Desnoes and Geddes, out of Kingston, Jamaica. This may be familiar to beer drinkers, as they're the same company which brews the very decent Red Stripe beer. The soda selections I sampled were the ginger beer and then the cream. The cream was good, but not very different from a typical cream soda, so in effect it didn't seem exotic at all. I had misgivings with the ginger beer, given my palate. I should explain, I love ginger flavoring in food, and in fact I love the pickled ginger that garnishes the plate for sushi meals so much that I sometimes eat an entire jar of it by itself when I can find it in supermarkets. Oddly though, I really dislike ginger ale. However, I'm pleased to report that although ginger beer and ginger ale sound nearly indentical, my taste buds noted a significant distinction. In short, it was delightful--nice strong odor, and very good, zesty taste. It looked like lemonade, which was kind of weird, but it went down very nicely.
Next up are the two non-carbonated offerings. These were both from Big Bamboo's Jamaican Irish Moss series (this sounds like a lot of different ethnicities for one drink. To explain, though, "Irish Moss" is a name for the type of red algae that produces carrageenan, the thickening agent for several food types, such as ice cream, as well as for this particular beverage). I tried the vanilla and the peanut flavors. The peanut drink literally contains peanut butter, which is strange to read on an ingredient list. The drink tasted like awesome. Or, to be less vague, it was like a peanut butter milkshake, completely delicious. I had another company's take on this in a Jamaican restaurant (don't recall the brand name, but it came in a plastic bottle), and this was great, too. The vanilla was also good, but it paled in comparison to its peanut sibling.
So, to recap, all four of the Jamaican drinks I tried were good, and the ginger beer and peanut Irish Moss were exceptional.