Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bahamas III: Barritt's Stone Ginger Beer

Who the hell goes to the Bahamas? Part 3

A soda from 1874 with graphic design from 1961.

Barritt's is best drank while admiring stalactites.

Barritt's Stone Ginger Ale

Barritt's Stone Ginger Beer is good. Its sweet and very gingery, but not to the point of discomfort. It does have a slight chemical taste, what it is would be hard to define. I'm not a chemist, after all. It's not that this slight chemical taste is bad, it's just not supposed to be there. Like finding a stranger sitting on the curb in front of your house, not quite alarming but certainly worth remarking on.

Another odd point on the taste is the oft mentioned cardboard/ginger confutation of tastes. In Barritt's it leans away from the cardboard and more towards that fake leather you find in older cars. Having spent my young life cleaning cars for my father's used car lot, I feel pretty confident in naming this as the mystery off-ginger taste. I've dealt with that fake leather when it was dirty, clean, wet, dry, Armor-Alled, cracked and new - while I never tasted it I know it every other way you can imagine. Barritt's has a slight taste of fake leather. At this point I throw my arms out in front of me and quickly say "Not that this is bad!"

You can tell I made the most of every minute of my fancy trip.

This is a high fructose corn syrup soda, but is good in spite of it which adds another point toward my theory of colas not being able to handle corn syrup well. The can boasts that the beverage has been made since 1874, I wonder what it tasted like back then? I wonder if civil war veterans drank it? Or whalers retiring from a dying industry. How do you present a soft drink made in the nineteenth century? Was it sold by the keg like beer? How long did it keep? Where would you go to buy it, if it was only sold by the keg?

So many questions. Sadly, my ignorance only policy prevents me from looking it up on the internet. Maybe I could arrange a field trip? Or write a letter. I think a letter would be fair, as it doesn't risk contaminating me with what other people have written about the drink.

It's important to know that Barritt's Stone Ginger Ale is not from the Bahamas but actually from Bermuda. Why is there such a vigorous inter-island trade in sodas? Jamaica, Bermuda, the Bahamas... I doubt that shipping containers even travel directly between those islands, why not just buy some version of these drinks from mainland USA? Do they have some special island appeal?

That doesn't look like my hand,
and not just because my penis isn't in it.
It looks more like some spooky giant corpse hand,
making me drink cursed soda from beyond the grave.


  1. I think an "ignorance only policy" sounds like a wonderful concept, and I am going to steal it and use it in real life.

  2. "It's important to know that Barritt's Stone Ginger Ale is not from the Bahamas but actually from Bermuda. Why is there such a vigorous inter-island trade in sodas? "

    They probably follow the rum.

    The one thing people use ginger beer for down here is to mix with Golsing's Black Seal (again, a local booze) to make a Dark & Stormy. Gosling's has been expanding their customer base (ha! I can speak marketing double-talk! does this mean I'm in league with Satan?!?!) and nowadays you can get their rum in the States (I've been to a few bars in NYC that serve it) and in the UK (again, some pubs, plus also one supermarket chain, so I'm told), as well as several Carribbean destinations. Barritt's would naturally want to go where the market is. That, and of course near on every Carribbean island makes its own dark rum, which could also be mixed with Barritt's very easily.

    Or to check the fiendish Internets:

    Always ask a local. ^^