The 12 Best Ginger Beers And Our Favorite Ways To Use Them

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Ginger beer is a typically nonalcoholic and spiced carbonated drink, more similar to a root beer soft drink than a hard seltzer. Ginger beer is not the same as ginger ale, however. Ginger ale is a soft drink developed by a Detroit-based pharmacist as a digestive aid, and now, it tends to be one of the first drinks that run out of stock during a flight. Ginger beer is a different kind of soft drink because the ginger, sugar, and water mixture is fermented with living yeast. In other words, ginger beer is a legitimate brew just without the buzz.

We appreciate ginger beer as a robust and sometimes spicy flavor that has been enjoyed alone or used in classic cocktails like the official Dark'n Stormy or a Moskow mule. The variety of blends means that strengths, ingredients, and best uses vary per brand. So, we taste-tested some of the most popular and widely available ginger beers on the market. Here are the best uses for each style of ginger beer.

Maine Root: best for a extra spicy blend

Maine Root Ginger Brew is a soda company based in Maine that is committed to sustainable, organic ingredients.The ginger blend provides a strong, almost aggressive wash of spice but without a strong finish. Maine Root's ginger beer is so zesty in the original formula that this brew even beats out the spice factor of some other brands, like Brooklyn Crafted Extra Spicy and Devil's Foot Fuego, which are made to have a peppery finish. Maine Root uses fair trade certified organic sugar cane, ginger, and a few mystery spices and includes no natural flavors.

We are fans of the robust blend and the simple, organic, Fair Trade Certified ingredients for this nonalcoholic ginger beer. We will note a distinct earthiness at the finish — not quite a sassafras, like in root beer — that can only be described as what it might taste like to lick bark on a tree. The notes are not unpleasant, but compared to all the mild contenders in this list, the Maine Root stands out for its commitment to spice. 

Maine Root is also one of the ginger beer brands that see absurd markups on Amazon, so look for this in person at Whole Foods or by delivery from other retailers.  

Goslings Stormy Ginger Beer: for a true Dark 'n Stormy

Gogslings is a classic ginger beer that is, perhaps, best known as the essential ingredient for a Dark 'n Stormy. If it's not Goslings ginger beer with a drizzle of Goglings rum, then it's not a true Dark 'n Stormy recipe. Both the cocktail and the ginger beer are products of Bermuda, and we're told by the Bermuda Tourism Authority that the cocktail is best served with Goslings Stormy Ginger Beer over ice, then floating a pour of Goslings Black Seal Rum on top, and finished with a lime wedge (or a few). Our version included a mocktail of the recipe using Ritual zero-proof rum alternative.

Goslings Ginger Beer has a bit of bite and spice that we appreciate in the herbal soda formula. We believe this ginger beer has the right amount of zing and flavor for most drinkers due to an ideal balance between sweet and spicy. In fact, a Tasting Table reader survey found Goslings as the most popular ginger beer brand with a quarter of the votes. Keep in mind this drink is also made with high fructose corn syrup, which is typically a con in our ranking; the blend also includes ginger beer flavor, citric acid, and fillers of gum acacia and ester gum.

Devil's Foot Fuego: best craft ginger beer for bourbon

Devil's Foot is based in Asheville, North Carolina, where the founders started brewing ginger beer in 2017 as a group of friends looking for a bourbon mixer in their backyard. Upon agreeing to send a few styles our way, the team also explained that the founders had experience in the outdoor industry, so they aimed for a brewing process that was as sustainable as possible. Devil's Foot Ginger Beer now offers two "farm-to-can" craft Ginger Beers in Classic and with an extra spice called Fuego. We appreciate the attention to detail and recommend trying the spicier version for a small but noticeable kick in the can. 

Each Devil's Foot ginger beer is made with fresh citrus, organic ginger root, honey from South Carolina, and organic cane sugar. Fuego also includes lime juice, a bit more spice, and sweetness to avoid burnout. While we enjoy sipping on this soda, pairing it with a bourbon or rye whiskey of choice is an added bonus.   

Head to the Devil's Foot website to buy the styles in bulk because you won't find this farm-to-can brand with your Prime Membership (at least, not at the time of publication). 

Reed's Extra Craft Ginger Beer: best for a Moscow Mule

Sometimes a drink needs a little extra kick. Reed's Extra Craft Ginger Beer is one of those blends that benefits from a little extra ginger while managing to avoid any aggression. Reed's is a Jaimaican-style blend with plenty of cane sugar to mellow out the ginger. The brand rates the "extra" style as medium heat, so it's a sipper without any irritation at the back of the throat. The added bite also makes it a nice pairing for a Moscow Mule since the vodka can bring the sting.  

Our Moscow Mule recipe is designed for sharing, so Reed's Extra Ginger Beer 12-ounce bottles are ideal for mixing cocktails for two people. Don't forget the fresh mint leaves and limes, and even though we imagine most people can do without the added sugar, you do you. 

Reed's is one of the few ginger beer brands you can find at Trader Joe's, Target, Amazon, Walmart, etc. Strangely, it's also one of the brands that advise on the label to tip the bottle before pouring it into a mix, but we never noticed any sediment; raw ginger isn't floating willy-nilly around this bottle. For some, that might be a good thing.

Fever Tree Ginger Beer: best mixer for rum cocktails

We find that Fever Tree Premium Ginger Beer offers a surprising amount of spice for the little bottle. Fever Tree claims a blend of three gingers from the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Cochin, India. We also like that the brand doesn't use any artificial sweeteners. It does include natural flavors, which categorically can mean really any additives, and added stabilizers like ascorbic acid and tartaric acid to create an extra acidic bite. All that said, Fever Tree Ginger features a nice mouth pucker. You could even add Fever Tree Ginger eer to fruitier rum-based cocktails like an Autumn Smash cocktail recipe with apple cider and rum, or mix with some pineapple juice and your dark rum of choice.  

While it might not have the most name recognition like Goslings or celebrity backing like Betty Buzz, Fever Tree is available at most major retailers, including Walmart, Meijer, Amazon, Target, and local liquor stores. The 6.8 fluid ounces (or 200 milliliters) is definitely more of a pour for making cocktails or mocktails than for drinking like a regular soda.

Q Ginger Beer: a single-serving mixer

We appreciate Q Ginger Beer as a diminutive can that packs a lot of flavors. The blend is quite saccharine yet rich thanks to the brand using agave as its sweetener. The ginger is spicier due to the pairing of extracts like chili peppers, coriander, and cardamom. The cans are one of the smallest at just 7.5 ounces, so they're perfect for use as a mixer for a single drink or where you don't need much. We cannot stress enough that we love brands using sustainable aluminum and glass bottles instead of plastic, but the lack of twist-off (and back-on) caps requires some foresight. Q's smaller cans eliminate some of the work for anyone who prefers to make a cocktail for one.

Try a simple fernet and ginger beer cocktail recipe for a slightly bitter addition to balance the sweet soda. Q Ginger Beer also might be the perfect size if you're trying to quell a queasy stomach and don't have the capacity for a full 12-ounce drink. 

You won't have to worry so much about locating a style of ginger beer you just might love. Q Ginger Beer is found on multiple sites, including Amazon, Target, Thrive Market, Walmart, and more.

Betty Buzz Ginger Beer: best mixer for mocktails

Betty Buzz is a line of nonalcoholic mixers founded by the actor Blake Lively. Lively doesn't drink; fortunately for us, she crafted a ginger beer with some nuance. Compared to other ginger beers, Betty Buzz is quite acidic and has almost a lemonade taste, which is not altogether unpleasant. We believe the stronger acidity will help amp up the bite in a mocktail when you lack the bite of alcohol. 

You could even use Betty Buzz as an alternative to freshly extracted ginger (in case you don't have any lying around) for a turmeric and ginger juice mocktail recipe; make sure to scale back or skip the lemon juice included in the recipe if using this ginger beer as a replacement. Like most legit ginger beers, make sure to gently mix Betty Buzz up before opening it to blend all the spice. We needed to really swirl the glass and even used a swizzle stick to mix this one.

While we would never discourage someone from drinking this ginger beer straight, Betty Buzz is primed for a nonalcoholic spirit with botanicals. Use this ginger beer as a complement in a mocktail made with Ritual's zero-proof gin or zero-proof Curious Elixirs. We support you experimenting with any quality nonalcoholic spirits or alcohol alternatives, of course. Betty Buzz Ginger Beer is at Amazon, Boisson, and other retailers.   

Crabbie's Ginger Beer: best alcoholic version

We have to admit, Crabbie's Ginger Beer might win by default since alcoholic ginger beer options aren't very widespread in the United States. It shouldn't surprise you then that Crabbie's is a product of Scotland. That said, it's a solid option for someone who wants to switch from cider or who follows a gluten-free diet. The alcoholic version is sweet without much of a fiery ending. It's also a pint, so there is plenty to share. We find the sweetness a little cloying, but it's one of the few alcoholic versions you can easily find on the market. 

The bottle claims that ginger is steeped for "up to six weeks," which adds to the overall flavor. Granted, the richness of the flavor is more caramel upfront, and the spice of the ginger is more of a hit at the midpoint. You might even try this one over ice or spiked for an added oomph on the weekend. 

Barritts: best for replacing your regular soda

We are a fan of Barritts because it's one of the styles that's great for sipping and making an alternative (if not truly authentic) Dark 'n Stormy cocktail. The spice is minimal, and the sweetness is balanced thanks to the real cane sugar. We do have a few questions when it comes to ingredients because items listed include "neutral cloud" — no idea what that is but would like to leave it as one of life's great mysteries — as well as artificial flavoring, caramel coloring, and a preservative. 

All that said, we still enjoy Barritts Bermuda-style answer to ginger beer, especially when served in a tall glass bottle. It's an excellent alternative to a Mexican Coke if you want something different but still desire cane sugar versus high-fructose corn syrup. You just can't convince us that it tastes the same!

You can now find the brand at Walmart and bodegas across the island of Manhattan. Of course, watch out for price gauging on Amazon.

Barretts and Brooklyn Crafted: the sugar-free options

We realize people drink sugar-free sodas for various reasons, so this selection came down to a tie. When it comes to flavor alone, Barritts Sugar-Free Ginger Beer is a clear winner for tasting close to the original and maintaining the sweet yet spicy flavor we all expect. The Bermuda-based brand employs sucralose (best known for the brand name Splenda) and acesulfame-K, both artificial sweeteners.

Acesulfame-K is known for its more intense sweetness, which is likely why it tastes more like the original Barritts made with sugar. Similar to bringing a Jell-O mold to a party, lab-made sweeteners are situation dependent. Detractors question safety over the long term. Granted, the same could be said about all sugar, and if you drink diet colas, you likely won't bat an eye at this ingredient list.

We also included Brooklyn Crafted Sugar-Free Extra Spicy because it's made with stevia, which we expect will appeal to people who prefer sweeteners derived from plants. We've never really enjoyed the flavor of stevia, and we find this one tastes more like an iced tea than a traditional ginger beer. Still, we're spitting the difference and calling it a tie. Brooklyn Crafted ginger beers feature perhaps the most flavors out of all the brands in its portfolio, including an original sugar-free without added spice (although we think this one is better for it) and reduced-sugar 66 Calories Ginger Beer made with monk fruit.

Fentimans Ginger Beer: best for a resealable bottle

Hear us out: While a resealable bottle might not sound like a big deal, it feels rather revolutionary in this line-up of ginger beers. We love the reusable bottle top, which can be helpful in plenty of situations; when you're sipping on the go, want to store in the fridge (after, say, opening an entire line of ginger beers for a taste test), or just have a boisterous household and need to avoid spillage. We don't recommend leaving the opened ginger beer for long, but it's helpful to be able to store it safely when hosting and making a variety of cocktails for your guests.

A little spice up front with a tasty hint of botanicals. Sweet but very mild and has very little spice. Frankly, it's a little too mellow to drink on its own. Fentimans is made with fermented ginger root extract, pear juice concentrate, and natural flavors listed as ginger, lemon, and capsicum. It also includes cream of tartar (sorry, vegans) and herbal infusions of speedwell, juniper, and yarrow. Fentimans Ginger Beer is also available online through big-box retailers we all know and use. 

Devil's Foot Ghost: best for a wild card

We didn't want to introduce a range of ginger beers with flavors since this list might never end. Devil's Foot Ghost ginger beer is an exception since its only wild card addition is a few earthy peppers. This still tastes very much like ginger beer but has a delightful and unexpected finish that we couldn't help but include in this round-up. Tired of the same saccharine sodas? Devil's Foot Ghost Ginger Beer offers something different without scaring off anyone with a weak constitution.

Devil's Foot Ghost blend is quite spicy, and the taste of organic scotch bonnet peppers taste apparent at the end as a terraceous flavor. We found the pepper is more of a compliment than a scorching heat source. This Devil's Foot is made for a little something extra without heading into complete flavored territory (although some on this list also contain botanicals and juices that could also be considered less than traditional).

Devil's Foot Ghost is a bit harder to source than next-day delivery with Prime, but it's worth stocking up on to impress guests at your next barbecue.