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: 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.
Popular ginger beer and ginger ale cocktails
Which famous cocktails use ginger beer or ginger ale? Here are a few to try:
Popular Ginger Beer Cocktails
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.
- Classic Moscow Mule: Vodka, ginger beer and lime in a copper mug is as classic as you get! You can also use it in the following variations:
- Dark and Stormy Dark rum, ginger beer and lime
- Kentucky Mule Bourbon, ginger beer, and lime
- Mexican Mule Tequila, ginger beer and lime
- Gin Gin Mule Gin, ginger beer, lime, mint, simple syrup
- Irish Mule Irish whiskey, ginger beer and lime
Popular Ginger Ale Cocktails
Most of these ginger ale cocktails also work with ginger beer. (Just don’t swap the other way around!)
- Whiskey Highball Whiskey and soda water or ginger ale
- Shandy Beer and ginger ale, ginger beer or sparkling lemonade
- Pimm’s Cup Pimm’s No. 1, ginger ale or ginger beer, lemon
- Transfusion Concord grape juice, vodka, lime, ginger ale
- Shirley Temple Lime juice, grenadine, ginger ale or ginger beer
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)
- In a copper mug or glass, pour in the vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer.
- Add ice and garnish with a lime slice. Serve immediately.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: Cocktails
- Diet: Vegan
Keywords: Ginger beer vs ginger ale