What Is Ginger Beer?

What is ginger beer? Hint: It's not the same as ginger ale!

You know ginger beer as the main ingredient in drinks like the Moscow mule or the Dark n’ Stormy. But the beverage has a surprisingly long history.

In the late 1800s, ginger beer was a popular drink to sip in England. Back then, it was an alcoholic beverage, kind of like hard cider. (It was popular all through Queen Victoria’s reign—though no word on whether she drank the stuff.)

What Is Ginger Beer?

Fast-forward to today, and ginger beer is a non-alcoholic beverage with a robust, spicy and aromatic flavor. It’s made with a blend of ginger, water and sugar that’s fermented with yeast, then carbonated and bottled.

You can sip ginger beer as a soft drink, use it to make a sparkling mocktail or enjoy in a classic Moscow mule.

The Best Ginger Beers to Buy

To make the perfect cocktail, ginger beer should have spicy ginger flavor. Here’s a look at our top recommendations, all of which can be found on Amazon or at a local grocery store:

Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer is worth mentioning, too. It’s got 4.8% alcohol, so you can go ahead and sip, no mixology required.

Ginger Beer vs. Ginger Ale

Both drinks are carbonated, non-alcoholic and boast ginger flavor. But a true ginger beer will have been fermented with yeast, unlike a ginger ale that’s simply carbonated. Both make great mixers; however, the strong flavor of ginger beer means its ginger flavor is immediately more noticeable in a beverage.

Add a Splash of Ginger Beer Here!
1 / 12

Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Lara Eucalano
Lara is a senior editor for Taste of Home who manages a supremely talented community of freelancers. She assigns and edits content about cooking techniques, kitchen tools and, of course, food trends. Prior to her work at Taste of Home, Lara spent a decade in the marketing field as a brand storyteller, content curator and project manager. In her nonwork life, Lara loves to read, garden and cook. (Not all at the same time!) Look for her at home in Milwaukee, keeping an eye on her mischievous flock of backyard chickens.