Ginger can be an outstanding ingredient which makes a difference when used in cocktails and one of the easiest ways to add a spicy gingery kick to a drink is by using either ginger ale or ginger beer. Let’s take a look which one to use and what is the difference between the two.
Ginger Beer was originally an alcoholic beverage made from fermenting a fresh ginger, sugar, water, yeast and bacteria compound commonly known as a ginger beer plant. Today’s ginger beer is categorised as a non-alcoholic beverage due to its low alcohol content. Ginger Ale was invented as a non-alcoholic carbonated drink, sweetened and flavoured with ginger.
The biggest difference is that ginger beers are naturally fermented and therefore less carbonated also with much stronger, spicier flavours of ginger. Ginger ales are sweeter, lighter in colour and more delicate with a higher carbonation (CO2) content.
How to use ginger beer and ginger ale in cocktails?
Since we mentioned the differences it’s important not to confuse one with another which might completely change the flavour of your drink.
Some drinks rely on the deeper taste of ginger beer to stand up to other ingredients with a great example of Dark and Stormy cocktail which uses dark rum which would normally be difficult to mix with anything. Ginger ale can be easily mixed with a lighter spirits. One tip for a mixed drink with ginger ale: Firstly pick a gin with a citrusy tasting notes Tanqueray Rangpur is a good one, then add 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, top up with ginger ale and squeeze a bit of lime juice inside all served in a highball glass with ice.