This post may include affiliate links; for details, see our disclosure policy.

Ginger beer vs ginger ale: what’s the difference between these bubbly drinks? When to use one or the other? Here’s what you need to know.

Ginger beer vs ginger ale
Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!

Ginger beer vs ginger ale: what’s the difference? They’re both bubbly drinks made with ginger, but there’s a significant difference between the two. Which should you use in a Moscow mule, and which goes in a Shirley Temple or Pimm’s Cup? Here’s what you need to know!

Ginger beer vs ginger ale: what’s the difference?

Ginger beer and ginger ale are both bubbly ginger drinks, but they taste different and are used in different ways. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Ginger beer is very bubbly with a strong ginger flavor, with a spicy finish. It’s brewed and fermented. Years ago it was an alcoholic beer, but today’s ginger beer is non-alcoholic.
  • Ginger ale has a mild, mellow flavor and is sweeter than ginger beer. It’s essentially a ginger flavored soft drink and is also non-alcoholic.

Ginger beer vs ginger ale: when to use them?

Both ginger beer and ginger ale can be sipped on their own, but both are also popular cocktail mixers! These non-alcoholic mixers add a lovely bubbly effervescence to drinks. While they both bring a ginger flavor, there are some major differences.

  • Ginger beer adds a strong, spicy ginger finish to cocktails. It’s popularly used in the Moscow mule and the Dark and Stormy. Don’t substitute ginger ale for ginger beer in these cocktails: the ginger beer flavor makes the drink!
  • Ginger ale is much milder, and is a nice cocktail mixer when you want bubbles and sweetness. Try it in cocktails and mocktails where you want the flavors to meld together, like a Pimm’s Cup or Shirley Temple. Many of the cocktails that call for ginger ale as a mixer also work with ginger beer, depending on your flavor preferences.
Moscow mule

Which famous cocktails use ginger beer or ginger ale? Here are a few to try:

Try these ginger beer cocktails when you’ve got a few bottles. What are the best ginger beer brands? We like Q Ginger Beer and Fever Tree.

Most of these ginger ale cocktails also work with ginger beer. (Just don’t swap the other way around!)

Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Moscow mule

Moscow Mule

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The best ginger beer cocktail? The bold and fizzy Moscow mule! Mix lime, ginger beer and vodka in an ice cold copper mug.


  • 2 ounces (¼ cup) vodka
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) fresh lime juice
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) ginger beer
  • For the garnish: lime wheel or wedge, fresh mint (if desired)


  1. In a copper mug or glass, pour in the vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer.
  2. Add ice and garnish with a lime slice. Serve immediately.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Dieter Schmied says:

    Kroger® Non Alcoholic Ginger Beer seems to be getting the axe. It is good and cheap. I will be surprised if you know this gingerbeer or who makes it but there is a chance that you might. If you have any information beyond what Kroger has already given (nothing) , I would appreciate it.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      I’m not sure, sorry!