Historically, ginger beer was a boozy, fermented beverage made from sugar, ginger and water. But today, ginger lovers can find loads of nonalcoholic versions right in their local grocery stores—and for good reason. The spicy soda is a key ingredient in popular delicious cocktails like Moscow Mules and Dark and Stormys.
Depending on which brand you pick, it's easy to put your own unique spin on these old favorites. For instance, summertime shines with a crisp and fruity ginger beer, while a slightly stronger brew will warm up that winter cup. This versatile mixer is also a go-to for upset stomachs, and the alcoholic versions are gluten-free alternatives for drinkers looking for a low-sugar alternative to cider.
Here are six ginger beers to try right now.
Nonalcoholic Ginger Beers
This nonalcoholic recipe comes from the Land Down Under and is available both on Amazon and in markets in more than 40 countries. The full-bodied ginger flavor balances out the sweetness, making it a great addition to any Moscow Mule.
Known for its selection of sparkling waters, this company also produces a variety of beverages, including this stellar ginger beer. About five pounds of fresh ginger go into each case, so you know every bottle is jam-packed with peppery spice. It's ideal for drinking as is, whipping up a refreshing mocktail or topping off any mixed drink.
Seattle-based craft brewer Rachel Marshall currently offers a wide variety of fruit-spiked nonalcoholic ginger beers, including pink guava, white peach, blood orange, blueberry and the classic original. Check out her website for a list of tasty pairing ideas.
Maine Root's Ginger Brew has a more aggressive ginger content than many other brands, which results in quite a bit of spice. Drink it as is (if you can take the heat) or mix it with your favorite spirit for a sharp finish.
Alcoholic Ginger Beers
Located in South Burlington, Vermont, this craft brewery's boozy ginger beers are made with real ginger, cane sugar, molasses and an enticing spice mix. The milder True Ginger Beer rings in at 5.5 percent ABV, while the stronger Wayward Ginger Beer is a little more potent at 7.35 percent ABV. You can try both brews on draft at the brewery's taproom or purchase a 32-ounce "howler" to go.
This refreshing brew is crafted from cane sugar, molasses, lemon juice, nutmeg and a special mix of cold-pressed ginger juice and raw ginger purée. At 4.5 percent ABV, this one drinks dry and light, and contains four times less sugar than the average ginger beer. Currently, Farmer Willie's can be purchased only in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, but the company is planning to expand its distribution soon.
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During In Good Spirits month, we're going behind the bar to find out what separates aperitifs from digestifs, which It cocktails the world's top bartenders crave and how to turn your home into the hottest speakeasy in town.
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