Ginger Beer vs. Ginger Ale: What's the Difference? (2024)

What's really in your Moscow mule?


Melanie Fincher

Melanie Fincher is a Birmingham, Alabama–based food writer who covers everything from cooking techniques to gadget reviews. She has nearly 7 years experience writing news and lifestyle content.

Published on October 9, 2020

I've always loved the gingery bite that comes with ginger drinks, but for the longest time I couldn't tell you the difference between the two most popular ginger drinks: Ginger beer and ginger ale.

We know one as an essential ingredient in Moscow mules, and the other as a tried and true cure for a stomach ache. But what else distinguishes the two?

Learn the difference between ginger beer and ginger ale before you craft your next ginger co*cktail.

Ginger Beer vs. Ginger Ale

Let's start with how they're made. Today, the term ginger beer mostly refers to the soft drink that's made by fermenting and brewing ginger along with water, sugar, and sometimes other ingredients like lemon.

Most ginger beer is labeled non-alcoholic, but even non-alcoholic ginger beer contains some alcohol content, due to the fermentation process which converts some of the sugar to alcohol. But since the alcohol content is below .5 percent, it does not have to be classified as alcoholic, according to the FDA. However you can find ginger beer with higher alcohol content that is classified as alcoholic.

Ginger ale on the other hand is not so much ale, but instead carbonated water that is flavored with ginger syrup. The result? Ginger ale is a lot more sweet and tame compared to its more potent and zingy counterpart, ginger beer.

Can You Substitute One for the Other?

So you're craving a Moscow mule, but you don't have any ginger beer? But you do have ginger ale...can you use that instead? That's really up to you.

In a pinch, ginger ale will work as a substitute for ginger beer in a Moscow mule, however the citrusy, zingy flavor that the ginger beer normally brings will be a lot more muted. Ginger ale will make your Moscow mule a lot more sweet and bubbly.

How to Use Ginger Beer

By this point you're probably aware that you can use ginger beer to make Moscow mules. But the co*cktail possibilities don't end there. Combine it with dark rum to create a classic Caribbean co*cktail, the Dark 'n' Stormy. Or use it to make this sweet and spicy Smoky Irish Wolfhound.

How to Use Ginger Ale

Aside from curing upset stomachs, ginger ale can also be used for everything from festive punches (try Party Punch III, Cranberry Punch, or Mock Champagne) to sherbet, and even in a glaze for savory meats. Use it wherever you'd like to add a subtle, sweet ginger bite.


Was this page helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

Tell us why!

Ginger Beer vs. Ginger Ale: What's the Difference? (2024)


Ginger Beer vs. Ginger Ale: What's the Difference? ›

Ginger ale has a milder ginger taste and is typically sweeter and less spicy than ginger beer. It is also more carbonated and has a smoother mouthfeel. Ginger ale is commonly consumed on its own or as a mixer in lighter co*cktails, such as the Pimm's Cup or a shandy.

What is the difference between ginger ale and ginger beer? ›

Ginger beer was originally an alcoholic brew made from fermenting ginger, sugar, and water, although most commercial ginger beers nowadays are non-alcoholic. Ginger ale is a non-alcoholic, sweetened, ginger-flavored soft drink. Ginger beer is stronger-tasting and spicier than ginger ale, but less carbonated.

Is Moscow Mule ginger beer or ginger ale? ›

But let's set one thing straight – the key ingredient to a great Moscow Mule is a good ginger beer, not ginger ale!

Which ginger beer has real ginger? ›

Reed's Original Ginger Beer

This world-famous, Jamaican-inspired recipe is crafted with REAL fresh ginger root, natural fruit juices, honey and spices.

Why does ginger beer make me feel better? ›

Gingerols--yes, the same ones that help suppress nausea and aid the digestive tract--contain properties that act as "bacterial inhibitors," meaning they stop or slow the growth of bacteria. Increased ginger intake is believed to help fight the growth of bacteria in the mouth as well as in the stomach.

Does Canada Dry have real ginger? ›


Is ginger beer or ginger ale better for upset stomach? ›

Choose ginger beer, which is more likely to use fresh ginger in the brewing process and is, thus, better suited to relieve nausea or an upset stomach.

Does ginger beer have health benefits? ›

According to studies conducted by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, ginger beer enhances digestion and helps food move smoothly through the stomach. Stomach discomforts and nausea are strongly correlated with one another.

Can you buy real ginger ale? ›

REAL GINGER IN EVERY BOTTLE: Not just ginger flavoring or extract like mainstream alternatives, Reed's blends their crisp ginger ale with pressed organic ginger juice in every batch. It's time to get real.

Is ginger beer good for blood pressure? ›

Ginger beer contains yeast, sugar, and ginger spice. The content of carbohydrates is higher in ginger beer. The nutritional facts of ginger beer are given below. It can raise blood sugar levels as well as blood pressure.

Who cannot take ginger? ›

Pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with heart conditions, and people with diabetes should not take ginger without talking to their doctors. DO NOT take ginger if you have a bleeding disorder or if you are taking blood-thinning medications, including aspirin.

Is ginger beer good for arthritis? ›

In theory, ginger can reduce the activity of several chemical substances that promote joint inflammation. Results from RCTs assessing its role in treating participants with osteoarthritis found that it has a high safety profile and can have moderately beneficial effects in reducing pain and disability.

Can you substitute ginger beer for ginger ale? ›

While they both bring a ginger flavor, there are some major differences. Ginger beer adds a strong, spicy ginger finish to co*cktails. It's popularly used in the Moscow mule and the Dark and Stormy. Don't substitute ginger ale for ginger beer in these co*cktails: the ginger beer flavor makes the drink!

Is ginger beer or ale healthier? ›

Ginger beer and ginger ale do not differ greatly in terms of nutritional values. Ginger ale is the lighter option, with 125.1 calories and 32.3 grams of sugar per can (12 fl oz). Ginger beer is a bit heavier but nevertheless very close to ginger ale, with 140 calories and 35 grams of sugar per can or bottle (12 fl oz).

Is there any alcohol in ginger beer? ›

As a result, traditional ginger beer contained around 11 percent alcohol; this is also why beer became part of its name. Today, most commercial ginger beers contain no alcohol or less than . 5 percent. Ginger beer's spicy-sweet flavor profile makes it an excellent mixer and it's a key ingredient in classic co*cktails.

Does Fever Tree ginger ale have real ginger? ›

Using three naturally sourced gingers, our unique blend is a delicious balance of sweetness and spice. Making it perfectly poised to enhance the flavour notes of the finest spirits.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Carmelo Roob

Last Updated:

Views: 6291

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (65 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Carmelo Roob

Birthday: 1995-01-09

Address: Apt. 915 481 Sipes Cliff, New Gonzalobury, CO 80176

Phone: +6773780339780

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Gaming, Jogging, Rugby, Video gaming, Handball, Ice skating, Web surfing

Introduction: My name is Carmelo Roob, I am a modern, handsome, delightful, comfortable, attractive, vast, good person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.