Your next cocktail deserves one of the best ginger beers! Try it for your next Moscow mule or dark & stormy!
Ginger beer is delicious and easy to mix with tons of cocktails. It’s one of my favorite cocktail mixers, but sometimes I also enjoy sipping on it by itself.
It’s so delicious with a squeeze of lime!
What is ginger beer?
A great question! Ginger beer is a non-alcoholic soda made of fermented ginger root.
It has a strong ginger flavor but doesn’t actually contain any beer. It’s more like a gingery, spicy version of root beer than anything else!
Well lucky for you, I have a whole blog post about what ginger beer is and the best uses for it.
The best ginger beer brands
I took one for the team and bought every kind of ginger beer I could find, and taste-tested them all for you. It was a very hard job!
But I was happy to do it — honestly.
For each one, I ranked them out of 10 points, based on how spicy they are.
Something to know is that ginger beer can have a spicy flavor. It’s not spicy the way that hot sauce is spicy, but it’s similar.
Ginger beer has sugar to help balance it, but even still some ginger beers can pack quite a punch. Some of them have more herbal flavors and others have more of a ginger focus.
I attempt to dig into all of this in this blog post, but I recommend you pick your top two or three from this list and try them for yourself. I think you might discover a new favorite brand!
Where to find ginger beer
Ginger beer is available in most regular grocery stores. I found all of these at my local Target and Harris Teeter, but just about any grocery store should have a few choices of ginger beers.
Once you’re in the grocery store, look for it in one of a couple of places:
- Look in the soda aisle next to the root beer. Usually, there are at least a few brands to choose from.
- Also look near the cocktail mixers like bloody mary mix and margarita mix. (Sometimes in/near the wine/beer sections.)
You can also usually find some of these brands in specialty grocery stores or beverage shops.
Fentiman’s is one of my favorites. It uses a recipe from 1905 to ferment Chinese ginger root.
This brand of ginger beer is on the spicier side, but it has a complex flavor. There are strong hints of herbal, botanical and juniper notes. The herb flavors hit your tongue first, then the ginger. The ginger flavor is subtle, but deep yet it still has some sweetness.
My friend who helped with taste testing described it as a “summer afternoon.” It is wonderful to amplify any vodka or gin cocktail, like this Gin-Gin Mule recipe.
Be sure to “upend before pouring” as it says on the label. A light rotation (not a shake) will do the trick to loosen any ingredients that settled.
Spice rating: 7/10
Zevia Mixer Ginger Beer
Zevia is a zero-sugar soda brand. They also make root beer, cola and a number of other flavors.
Their ginger beer has a sugary flavor but, to me, it tastes like a diet soda. I’ve personally never been a big fan of diet sodas, so this one isn’t for me, but if you’re looking for a lighter option, you might try this one.
The flavor is lightly gingery, and it’s a good option if you don’t want sugar or zero calories from the soda.
Spice rating: 2/10
Fever-Tree Premium Ginger Beer
Fever-Tree is a brand I see behind many bars. They make club soda, tonic and other cocktail mixers as well.
Their ginger beer is light, mild and sippable — you could definitely drink it on its own. The balance is lovely: not too gingery and not too sugary. You could easily mix Fever-Tree with gin or bourbon (like this Kentucky mule) to highlight the spirit more.
Spice rating: 1/10
Maine Root Ginger Brew
Made from organic sugar cane from Brazil, Maine Root has the most intense ginger beer of the bunch I have listed here. It’s definitely not entry-level! If you’re sensitive to ginger spice, this one is probably not for you.
Spice rating: 9/10
Bundaberg Ginger Beer
Bundaberg is an Australian ginger beer. It’s extremely well-balanced with a drinkable mix of sweetness and ginger — a good middle-ground for lots of palates.
Bundaberg is the ginger beer I usually have stashed in my fridge. That’s because it’s a good baseline ginger beer, and I find it to be delicious with most spirits, like this Mexican mule.
Spice rating: 5/10
Barritt’s Ginger Beer
Made in Bermuda with cane sugar, Barritt’s ginger beer is a good budget option if you like a lighter ginger flavor. It’s usually pretty easy to find.
For me, I found it slightly too sweet and overbearing, and it lacks the bite I have come to love in ginger beer.
I recommend you counterbalance with high-proof alcohol, but I will say it won’t be as nice with the more expensive stuff. Here’s my guide to picking the best vodka.
Spice rating: 3/10
The taste is balanced between gingery and sweet, but the spice level increases depending on which version of Reed’s you buy.
Reed’s make a few tiers of spiciness, which are easily identified right on the label: Original, Extra and Strongest. They also make a zero-sugar option and a “Premium” that has pineapple and honey flavor. They’re all good, but I prefer the Extra or Strongest if I can find it!
Spice rating: 4/10 for Original; 7/10 for Extra; 9/10 for Strongest
Powell & Mahoney Craft Cocktail Mixers
The ginger beer from Powell & Mahoney Craft Cocktail Mixers might have been my favorite find of the bunch I tried for this blog post. It was new to me, but boy am I glad I found it.
Their ginger beer is perfectly balanced with a small zing of ginger flavor. Their website says they engineered it for the perfect Moscow mule, and I have to agree with their recipe.
It’s the perfect cocktail mixer if you ask me! I can’t wait to use it for my Yule Mules at the holidays.
Spice rating: 6/10
Balanced, peppery and zippy, Gosling’s is another ginger beer from Bermuda.
Spice rating: 4/10
The best ginger beer for Moscow Mules
Picking the best ginger beer for Moscow mules is a tough job. (Again, I was glad to do it.)
The short answer: This is totally subjective, and it’s going to depend on how spicy you like your ginger beer.
The sweet spot for most ginger beers is going to be in that 4-6/10 range. Gosling’s, Reed’s Original, Powell & Mahoney and Bundaberg are all top brands with a medium spice with a nice balance of sweetness. Powell & Mahoney is my favorite of the bunch, followed closely by Reed’s and Bundaberg.
For me, I like it spicy, so I’ll be over here with my Maine Root, Reed’s Extra and Fentiman’s. I find the complexity of these spicier brands to bring more flavor to my mules.
But, as I always say, you do you!
I would love to know what your favorite ginger beer is! Especially if it’s not listed here, because I would love to try it!
If you made it this far, you clearly love ginger beer — hope you’ll come to say hi to like-minded folks in my Facebook group. See you soon! // susannah.