According to Canada Dry’s description, Canada Dry Bold is “Maybe the boldest ginger ale ever created.” I can verify this is false because (a) I once made my own ginger ale and didn’t strain the ginger out before drinking (I’m simultaneously ambitious and lazy), which made for a VERY bold beverage, and (b) Canada Dry Vanilla Bean Bold definitely hits me harder than the regular Bold did. The boldness of the homemade experiment was expected, but Vanilla Bean Bold surprised me.
It comes in a six-pack of 7.5 oz mini cans, which I don’t normally purchase because while adorable, it would take all six to equal the volume of soda I prefer to drink.
I cracked open my first tiny can and gave it a sniff. Initially, it didn’t seem like there was much there besides a slight cream soda smell, and taking a sip confirmed the cream soda vibe. I poured the rest into a Christmas-themed cup because this is a limited winter edition, after all, and this is when things got a bit more dramatic. I took a giant whiff and was startled by the amount of pepperiness in my nose.
If you drink this stuff in anything more than small doses, it really is significantly bolder than you expect out of Canada Dry and an upgrade on its first Bold attempt. If you were suffering from the kind of ailment that would typically have you reaching for ginger ale, I don’t know if you’d be pleasantly surprised that you can really taste this variety or irritated because you’re already unsettled and now someone’s gone and dumped wasabi in your cup.
The brown and cream can with its subtle twinkly design has a retro feel that makes sense with the cream soda and ginger ale flavors. These are things I’d drink during winter break visits to my grandparent’s house, which makes me feel like a kid. What makes me feel even more like a kid is the fact that I can’t stop sticking my whole face in the cup for the next big sinus-clearing inhale or taking overly large gulps to experience the spicy sensation in the back of my throat. It’s not just a drink. It’s fun. You could sip on this slowly for a more mature drinking experience, but why would you do that when you can take the more thrilling route? Go bold, people.
Canada Dry’s website makes no mention of Vanilla Bean Bold, but it does give you instructions on how to combine all of the other (non-reindeer) varieties with booze. I guess they see themselves as more of a mixer than a standalone drink? I mixed this with whiskey, which was perfectly acceptable, although it surprises me to say that I think I like it better on its own.
I am genuinely enjoying how this edition takes things a step further than Bold ever did. Is it possible that the addition of vanilla is what really gives this soda its spicy kick? Some types of vanilla beans have spicier notes, so perhaps there’s something about that in play here. There has to be very little actual vanilla bean or ginger in the formula, so I might be giving Canada Dry too much credit. But whatever they did, it works. The vanilla inclusion not only makes sense for the holidays but makes for a richer overall flavor. I don’t love it so much that I need it around all year, but it succeeds in bringing something new to the usual cranberry winter soda market.
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: Six-pack of 7.5 fl oz cans
Purchased at: Jewel-Osco
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Nutrition Facts: (7.5 oz) 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 30 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 22 grams of total sugars including 22 grams of added sugars, 0 grams of protein.