The Difference Between Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer

The Difference Between Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer

For those of you making the switch to non-alcoholic cocktails the decision to buy a ginger beer vs. a ginger ale has probably given you pause. After all, if beer is in the name shouldn’t we be reaching for its alternative?

With the holidays fast approaching i thought it would be helpful to know about the differences between a ginger beer and a ginger ale before you start making your holiday mocktail shopping list. After all, Mimic Mules are one of my favorite drinks to serve during the holidays—oh who am i kidding i like them year round.

Differences between Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale

Ginger beer is traditionally brewed, or fermented, while ginger ale is nothing more than flavored carbonated water.

Ginger beer is different from ginger ale in taste and texture. The ginger beer has a spicier flavor and a beer-like head when poured while the ginger ale fizzes like any other soda and has a much milder ginger taste.

One main difference is that ginger ale isn’t always made with real ginger, its simply a concocted flavor from a lab. This means if your going for the added benefit of the ginger in your drink skip the ale and reach for the beer instead.

Ginger beers, though they go through the brewing process, are categorized as a non-alcoholic drink making them the perfect ingredient for this Mimic Mule.

Similarities of Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer

While traditionally ginger beer has been brewed, companies have recently begun to carbonate the drink making the texture similar to ginger ale. The main difference lies in the amount of ginger that is added, the ginger beer being spicier than its soda pop cousin the ginger ale.

Both drinks originate back to the same drink from the 1800s The original ginger beer did contain a small amount of alcohol. For 100 years there was only one version until Canada Dry created the very first fizzy ginger ale.

Can you substitute Ginger Ale for a Ginger Beer in a Moscow Mule?

Since the two drinks have so much in common switching out a ginger beer for the ginger ale you already have stocked in the fridge for your next Mimic Mule seems like a natural choice. But how will it effect this mocktail?

The answer is in the differences. Ginger ale is like any other sugary carbonated drink and will make your non-alcoholic Moscow Mule fizzy, sweet and with a much milder taste of ginger than the preferred ginger beer.

Ginger beer mixes well with mocktails because its taste does not get muddled and hidden in the drink. The sweet spicy ginger stands out on its own.

So yes, you can substitute your ginger beer with a ginger ale, but it will not be the same drink. A ginger ale will become lost in the mocktail, the spice will be faint, and the health benefits of the ginger might be absent. You can manipulate the sweetness by reducing the simple syrup, but you still won’t get the same spicy healthy ginger bite that comes with a ginger beer.

For more information on the difference between ginger ale and ginger beer, be sure to check out these sources:

The difference between ginger ale and ginger beer

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Ginger ale vs. ginger beer: What’s the difference?

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Marnie ClarkComment