What’s the Difference Between Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer? (2024)

Ginger ales tend to have a much more delicate flavor profile than ginger beers. To make ginger ale at home, you need little more than a ginger-flavored simple syrup and carbonated water. Variations lie in how that syrup gets made: Some recipes call for adding fresh ginger root or pressed ginger juice when simmering water and sugar. Others, including Fever-Tree (yes, they make both ginger ale and ginger beer), mix in essential oils extracted from fresh ginger. Some commercial brands swap in “natural flavors,” a byproduct the FDA defines as “essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from [...] root, leaf, or similar plant material…”

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

If you’re like me, your exposure to fizzy ginger drinks started with ginger ale, offered as a tonic for stomach bugs, car rides, and in flight. While ginger root boasts nausea-relieving properties, not all ginger beverages are made with real ginger, so mileage may vary by brand (although the placebo effect might help, no matter which you drink).

If you’re shopping for a ginger soda to settle an upset stomach, be sure to read the ingredients list. Sweatman says that ginger ales tend to be more processed, noting that the syrup-boiling process can deteriorate the nutrients in fresh ginger. In a hurry? 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.

Should I use ginger ale or ginger beer in my co*cktails?

Set the scene: It’s co*cktail hour, and you’re bartending. Where does ginger come into play?

“I tend to have a ginger co*cktail on every menu,” says Michael Lay, beverage director of Michael Mina’s restaurant group, “It’s one of my favorite flavors.” Lay finds ginger especially complementary to whiskey, which has comparable spice notes (consider how the flavor plays off peaty scotch in a classic Penicillin co*cktail, for example). But vodka, gin, light or dark rum, tequila, and mezcal also work well (see any Moscow mule variation as proof). If you want to get creative, Lay says, “Tropical flavors—like citrus, pineapple, and guava—all benefit from ginger flavor.”

As to whether you should use ginger beer or ginger ale in your home bar: to echo a meme, why not have both? “I’ve always thought of ginger ale as a carbonated syrup and ginger beer as something way more spicy and ginger-forward,” Lay says.

The cooked ginger flavor typical of ginger ale tends to have a softer edge; meanwhile, the stronger flavor of cold-pressed ginger juice “is really concentrated,” says Sweatman, who uses it as the base for his ginger beer: “You could barely handle a spoonful of it.” Mixing ginger beer into your co*cktail will give it a spicy kick with a bold ginger backbone strong enough to dominate the drink. Ginger ale brings more sweetness and, usually, a more delicate ginger flavor that takes a backseat to the drink’s other elements, as in a Horse’s Neck or Pimm’s Cup.

Can I substitute ginger ale for ginger beer?

The short answer: No. But it’s your drink, so you should really do as you please. Messing with the sweetness of a co*cktail is the fastest way to throw off the flavors of the drink, and ginger ale tends to be much sweeter than ginger beer. Conversely, ginger beer brings boldness to a drink that may not work well with more delicate flavors.

What’s the Difference Between Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer? (2024)


What’s the Difference Between Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer? ›

While we can't speak for all Ginger Beers, a true Ginger Beer is brewed (just like a beer) using real ginger. Bundaberg Ginger Beer is traditionally brewed over 3 days using real ginger, whereas ginger ale is often a version of carbonated water that's flavored with ginger syrup.

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 ginger beer or ginger ale better for nausea? ›

While you can still drink a cup of ginger ale if you're feeling nauseous, the main thing to remember is the kind of ginger ale that you're drinking. Since ginger root is what can help to alleviate discomfort, seek out a brand made with real ginger root, even ginger beer would be a better option.

Can you substitute ginger ale for ginger beer in a Moscow Mule? ›

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.

Why do doctors tell you to drink ginger ale? ›

Ginger, a member of the plant family that includes turmeric and cardamom, has been proven to be effective at treating nausea and vomiting — two hallmarks of a classic upset stomach. In fact, ginger is even used to treat morning sickness, muscle pain and menstrual pain.

Does Canada Dry have real ginger? ›


Can you drink straight ginger beer? ›

Packed with flavor, it's good enough to be enjoyed on its own, or mixed to make a variety of different co*cktails. But let's set one thing straight – the key ingredient to a great Moscow Mule is a good ginger beer, not ginger ale!

Is ginger beer good for your heart? ›

Research suggests that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of ginger may help prevent heart attacks, and reduce the amount of cholesterol that your heart needs to produce.

What's better when sick Sprite or ginger ale? ›

Ginger ale: Ginger ale has the same potential benefits as Sprite, but it may also relieve nausea because it contains ginger. However, most commercial ginger ales contain very little real ginger. People can check ingredient labels to find out how much ginger a product contains.

Is ginger beer or ginger 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).

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.

What ginger beer do bars use for Moscow Mule? ›

Bundaberg Ginger Beer: The Aussie original, this brand has become more and more ubiquitous in recent years as the go-to option in most bars when you order a Moscow Mule. Made with cane sugar and Australian ginger, Bundaberg can attribute much of its popularity to the fact that its taste is extremely balance.

Who should not drink ginger ale? ›

“Most commercial-brand ginger ales have at least 10 teaspoons of sugar,” says Dr. Goldman. “If a person has bloating, gas or indigestion, the carbonation and sugar may make it worse. Even diet ginger ale can be harmful because our bodies may not digest artificial sugars as well.”

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 ale healthier than co*ke? ›

In the case of artificially flavored ginger ale, the beverage has no more health benefits than any other soda, which, of course, are zero. But in the case of ginger ale flavored by real ginger root, the beverage has marginally more health benefits than other soft drinks.

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).

Does ginger beer help your stomach? ›

Drinking ginger beer can help reduce inflammation, promote digestion, relieve nausea, and even help in the prevention of cancer. Ginger beer is a less-sweet alternative to ginger ale, and the popularity has skyrocketed among Americans, especially millennials.

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.

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