Premium “Ishigakijima Ginger Ale” from Ishigaki Island, Okinawa
(This article was originally posted in Japanese at 13:37 May 11, 2010)
Ishigakijima Ginger Ale is a premium brand of organic ginger ale from the beautiful island of Ishigaki, Okinawa, made of (almost all) domestic ingredients.
We tried all five flavours available including the season's special flavour Peachpine (a breed of Okinawan pineapple that smells like peach).
Here's our review!
(Japanese)arco iris - Ishigakijima Ginger Ale and Natural Foods from Ishigaki Island
The bottler is located near the port of Ishigaki.
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The bottles are shipped in these boxes. A box contain three bottles, so you have to order by multiples of three. 525 yen ($5.67 USD) per bottle.
Ginger and spices are settled down in the bottom.
So hold the bottle horizontally and slowly, softly shake before opening. Don't shake too hard or the soda will spray out.
"ORO"(Spanish for Gold) is the most basic flavour.
All the ingredients are domestic (Japanese) product, except cinnamon. Contains some unique ingredients like pineapple vinegar, brown sugar, getto and shimatogarashi(Okinawan chili pepper). 195ml, 83kcal per bottle.
Looks quite different from the clear and pale ginger ales we're used to. It might be more of a ginger beer. The ginger comes pretty strong at first, and after that you can taste brown sugar, cinnamon, lemongrass and other various spices. The carbon's not so strong.
"ROJO"(Red) is aimed at women.
The colour comes from hibiscus and red bell pepper. This one contains passion fruit vinegar instead of pineapple vinegar, and it also contains beet sugar and peppermint. 73 kcal per bottle.
Milder than ORO, but still the ginger flavour is quite strong. The scent is fruity from passion fruit vinegar.
"PLATA"(Silver) is black soybean-flavoured.
The colour was the darkest of the five, but tasted the softest. Though we can't say black soy bean blends well with ginger ale. It rather clash with ginger rather than taking off the edge. Overall it tasted not bad, but kind of strange.
Shiso-flavoured "VERDE"(Green) the spring's special flavour.
Unlike last summer's Pepsi Shiso, it actually contains shiso(perilla, or Japanese basil). Other ingredients include peppermint, lemon juice and pineapple vinegar.
Unlike Pepsi Shiso, it's not actually green since Ishigakijima Ginger Ale brand does not use artificial colouring. Looks a bit paler than ORO. Tastes also lighter, with milder ginger and refreshing shiso flavour, with a touch of mint.
"AZUL"(Blue) is another seasonal flavour, available only in Peachpine's picking season (till the end of May). This one is priced 588 yen a bottle, a bit higher than the others.
The yellow colour is from pineapple. It smelled like pineapple too, though Peachpine is supposed to smell like peach. As for the taste, strong ginger was kind of overwhelming the pineapple flavour. Milder than ORO, less sweeter than PLATA, fruitier than ROJO but heavier than VERDE.
Overall they tasted stronger, spicier and more gingery than the ginger ales we're used to in Japan(like Canada Dry, Schweppes or Asahi's Wilkinson brand). Not what you can gulp down in seconds, they're rather what you'd like to nurse slowly in a glass, so the small sized bottles seem appropriate. They'll be great for mixed drinks. You can see some recipes here.
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