The 11 Best Ginger Beers for Moscow Mules and More

These sodas are spicy, refreshing, and versatile

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Best Ginger Beers for Cocktails

The Spruce Eats / Crea Taylor

The spice of ginger is an assertive and instantly recognizable flavor that goes with just about any other ingredient, making ginger beer an worldwide favorite style of soda, and a worldwide favorite mixer. Whether it's in simple favorites like the Moscow mule or dark 'n stormy, or a more creative and complex cocktail, ginger beer has a place in almost every home bar.

But not all ginger beers are created equal: A great ginger beer can be like a punch in the nose, or like a kiss on the cheek. And there are hundreds—if not thousands—of different brands making their own spins on the classic. Whether your taste leans toward the spicy or sweet, there’s a ginger beer that’s sure to tickle your taste buds in a mixed drink or solo. We researched the whole universe of ginger beer to pick out these 11 favorite ginger beers for any purpose.

Best Overall

Fever-Tree Premium Ginger Beer

Fever Tree Beer Ginger Premium


Fever-Tree's products are all designed specifically for cocktails. It's probably best known for its tonic waters (available in six different varieties), but this ginger beer is equally outstanding. Three types of ginger—from India, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria—go into this brew, giving it a complexity and depth that's not found anywhere else. It's warm and spicy, not too sweet, and very refreshing, thanks to heavy carbonation. It's great in any ginger-beer cocktail, but our favorite is the gin-gin mule—this brew is intense enough to stand out alongside both both gin and mint. (It's also great over ice; the extra-concentrated flavor is still delicious by itself.)

Fever-Tree also produces a "Refreshingly Light" ginger beer, sweetened with fructose instead of cane sugar, which cuts the calories and carbs in half without sacrificing taste or using any artificial sweeteners.

Price at time of publish: $31 for 8 (16.9-ounce) bottles

Best for Moscow Mules

Q Mixers Ginger Beer

Q Mixers Ginger Beer, Premium Cocktail Mixer


Like Fever-Tree, Q Mixers is another pioneer of fancy sodas made for mixing into cocktails. It too started with tonic but has expanded into a full range of ingredients for spectacular mixed drinks. And its ginger beer is key to one of the best Moscow mules you've ever had. It's sweetened with organic agave nectar, which contributes a gentler sweetness that melds well with the sweetness of lime in the cocktail.

It's also extra-spicy, with a unique zing that comes from the addition of chile peppers, coriander, and cardamom to accent the intense ginger. There's also a hint of lime and extra carbonation to ensure your cocktails sparkle. It results in a tantalizing, fun, and refreshing ginger beer. Like many cocktail-focused brands, Q Mixers are sold in small cans and bottles, the ideal volume for topping off a single drink, leaving nothing behind to go flat.

Price at time of publish: $21 for 24 (7.5-ounce) cans

Good to Know

Traditionally, ginger beer was fermented by an organism called a ginger beer plant (or GBP). It is a type of SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) similar to those used to brew kombucha. The mehtod is less common today, but homebrewers and some commercial producers continue to use it.

Best for a Dark 'n Stormy

Barritt's Original Ginger Beer

Barritt's Original Ginger Beer


Invented soon after World War I, the dark 'n stormy cocktail was first made in Bermuda, from a pair of local products: Goslings Black Seal Rum and Barritt's Original Ginger Beer. In fact, Goslings owns a trademark on the name: If you don't use Black Seal Rum, you can't legally call it a dark 'n stormy. (The trademark doesn't specify any particular ginger beer brand; Barritt's was the original but Goslings now makes its own.)

Barritt's was once sold only in Bermuda but it's widely available in the US today, making the authentic original dark 'n stormy easily accessible to anybody. It's quite sweet, combining nicely with the sweetness of rum just as well as the super-syrupy Coca-Cola does in a rum and Coke. The ginger isn't overpowering, and it has a great fizz that only adds to its appeal.

Price at time of publish: $29 for 12 (12-ounce) cans

Best Traditional Brew

Bundaberg Ginger Beer

Bundaberg - Ginger Soda


Born in 1960 in Australia but not exported to the US until the 2000s, Bundaberg has rapidly become a favorite of American ginger beer enthusiasts. The brand is proud of its traditional brewing process, in which ginger, sugar, and water are cooked into wort, just like with beer, then fermented with yeast. (This produces trivial amounts of alcohol, but there's less than half a percent ABV in the final product and it's legally considered non-alcoholic.) The result is a perfect balance of sweetness and spice with a warm foamy fizz reminiscent of dark beers. And it comes in distinctive stubby bottles with pull tabs to complete the old-fashioned look.

Perfectly enjoyable on its own, Bundaberg can stand up to any cocktail. For a real treat, heat it up to give the ginger flavor a new life and mix it with seasonal flavors in the Christmas mule.

Price at time of publish: $18 for 4 (12.7-ounce) bottles

Best Craft

Maine Root Ginger Brew

Maine Root Hand Crafted Ginger Brew Soda


Created by a former pizza chef in—you guessed it—Maine, this ginger beer has a wonderfully spicy kick that will never go unnoticed. Maine Root describes it as “wicked,” and that is not an overstatement. Behind the ginger is a slight natural sweetness, and the two contrasting flavors are married perfectly with lively bubbles.

Maine Root's many different bottlings (the brand started with root beer, and now also makes cola and several fruit-flavored sodas in addition to ginger beer) are all made with Fair Trade Certified sugar cane instead of the more common high-fructose corn syrup. This improves the flavor, and also ensures that the Brazilian farmers who grow the cane are supported and compensated fairly.

Even with all that going on in this ginger brew, it’s an easy drinker, and it makes some very fine cocktails. For a true taste adventure, pour it into the tequila-based el diablo. Or just drink it over ice. This is a ginger beer for true connoisseurs.

Price at time of publish: $70 for 24 (12-ounce) bottles

Best Spicy

Reed's Strongest Ginger Brew

Reed's Strongest Ginger Brew


Ginger beer is hugely popular in Jamaica, where brews with lots of spicy ginger flavor are the norm. Reed's may come from California, but it makes its products in the Jamaican style, and this is the most intense of the brand's three levels of ginger beer. (On top of those, the brand makes ginger ale and zero-sugar versions of its products, plus ginger chew candy, too; Reed's is all about ginger.) As the name suggests, Reed's Strongest has big and bold flavor, with complex sweetness provided by a combination of cane sugar, honey, pineapple, and citrus juices.

The lively snap is very mixable, great with any liquor—including whiskey—or drinkable on its own. For spice-heads, this bottling will quickly become a favorite.

Price at time of publish: $82 for 24 (12-ounce) bottles

Best Sweet

Royalty Ginger Beer

Royalty Ginger Beer Drink


Ginger beers generally have more snappy ginger flavor than ginger ales, but they're not all totally austere and spicy. The British Royalty brand combines nice ginger flavor and lots of sweetness, for a brew that's perfectly balanced on its own, ideal for drinking over ice. It's also quite sour, with a flavor some drinkers describe as a mix of lemonade and ginger beer.

If you want to mix Royalty in a cocktail, you won't need much extra sugar, if any. It can pair with a straight spirit like rum, brandy, or whiskey, with maybe a squeeze of lime but not much else needed.

Price at time of publish: $40 for 12 (10.1-ounce) cans

Best Flavored

Brooklyn Crafted Mango Ginger Beer

Brooklyn Crafted Mango Ginger Beer


Like many other fruity flavors, mango pairs beautifully with ginger, and Brooklyn Crafted's mango ginger beer is a wonderful taste adventure. It's unfiltered, with bits of real ginger floating in every bottle, and a distinct heat that won't get lost in even the most complex of cocktails. It adds a tropical twist to the standard ginger beer and offers a lot of opportunities to create fascinating new drinks. Try it in brightly flavored cocktails like the pot of gold, where mango pairs nicely with cucumber, elderflower, mint, and vodka.

Price at time of publish: $35 for 9 (12-ounce) bottles

Best Sugar-Free

Zevia Zero Calorie Mixer Ginger Beer



Zero-calorie sweetener stevia is the secret to all of Zevia's sugar-free beverages, which include sodas, energy drinks, teas, and the Mixer line, whose small-size cans are meant to make a single cocktail each. The alternative sweetener adds a little bit of bitterness, which might take some getting used to, but it's carefully balanced here with spicy ginger. It's an excellent option for a Moscow mule and can stand up to nearly any cocktail. One to try is the cranberry ginger shandy, in which Zevia plays well against cranberry juice and your favorite hefeweizen.

Price at time of publish: $32 for 24 (7.5-ounce) cans

Best Syrup

Top Hat Spicy Ginger Beer Syrup Moscow Mule Mix

Top Hat Spicy Ginger Beer Syrup


Inspired by a batched margarita a San Francisco bartender made for an Academy Awards party, Top Hat has a full range of concentrated syrups designed to make lots of drinks from a single bottle. You can mix this one with the sparkling water or club soda of your choice (or use a home soda maker) to create a spicy ginger beer. Top Hat recommends a 5:1 ratio of syrup to soda, which means a full 32-ounce bottle makes more than a gallon of finished product.

This syrup is especially good for Moscow mules, thanks to its inclusion of both lime juice and a little apple cider vinegar. The pair adds two different types of acidity for a complex flavor, meaning all you need is a shot of vodka for a finished drink. Of course, you can also tailor the taste by adjusting the ratio of syrup and water, or by using a flavored club soda to add in additional notes.

Price at time of publish: $28 for 32 ounces

Best Ginger Ale

Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale

Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale


If you've ever lived in or near Birmingham, Ala., you've probably fallen in love with the delicious Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale. And if you've moved away, you probably miss it, because the sinus-clearingly intense ginger ale is difficult to find outside the region. For people who love ginger flavor, it's absolutely one to try.

Though labeled a ginger ale, Buffalo Rock has strong spice, more like a traditional ginger beer. But it also has lots of sweetness, making it lovely to drink on the rocks. Created in 1901, it's an Alabama classic that's hardly changed in more than a century. (If you enjoy Buffalo Rock, you should try Grapico, a sweet and intense grape soda made by the same company and also available at supermarkets pretty much only in Alabama.)

Price at time of publish: $28 for 12 (12-ounce) cans

Final Verdict

Fever-Tree Premium Ginger Beer is made for cocktails, but is also very enjoyable right out of the bottle. If you're looking for the right mixer for Moscow mules, we like Q Mixers Ginger Beer.

What to Look for When Buying Ginger Beer


Besides water, the two main ingredients of ginger beer are ginger and some kind of sweetener. If you see ginger or ginger juice (as opposed to ginger extract or simply artificial flavor) on the ingredients list, you're likely to get more intense and complex ginger flavor. When it comes to the sweetener, ginger beer is like any other soda: Many brands use high-fructose corn syrup or processed sugar, while more "natural" ones go with honey or agave syrup. Zero-calorie and diet ginger beers use stevia, artificial sweeteners, or other sugar alternatives.


As with any other soft drink, there are a wide range of ginger beers out there, from super-artisanal to generic budget brand. There are also small producers whose products are only available at stores in one region or city. You can usually order even the most obscure brands of ginger beer online, but keep in mind that cans or bottles of soda are heavy for their size, and shipping might be expensive.


Ginger beers that use real ginger are often cloudy, or may even have chunks of ginger in them. This is a good thing: Filtering would reduce the level of spicy flavor. When serving a cloudy ginger beer, pour slowly, especially toward the end of the bottle, to leave the sediment behind. Clearer products typically have a less intense flavor, more like a ginger ale, but spice level varies from brand to brand.


Is ginger beer alcoholic? 

Developed in the mid-18th century, ginger beer was originally made by fermenting ginger and sugar with yeast, in a process very similar to making actual beer. These brews were lightly alcoholic, but modern ginger beer is not. In order to be sold as a soft drink in the US, any soda must contain less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume, so even traditionally fermented ginger beers must remove or dilute any alcohol that's produced. There are a few brands of "hard" ginger beer available today that have a strength similar to regular beer, but they wouldn't be found on the soda aisle and can't be sold to anybody under 21.

What should you mix with ginger beer? 

Ginger beer is an excellent mixer that can handle a variety of flavors. Lime is the best fruit pairing, though it also works well with apple cider, berries, peach, and pear. Softer, floral flavors like elderflower are rather good, too. As for spirits, rum and vodka are the top choices, as evidenced in the mixer’s two most popular cocktails, the Moscow mule and the dark 'n stormy. For something different that's still delicious, try ginger beer with an aged tequila, whiskey, or brandy.

Does ginger beer go bad?

Ginger beer does not last indefinitely. Unopened cans or bottles should last for a year or two in the cabinet or fridge, but look for the specific expiration date printed on the package. Some include an expiration date on the bottle or can or recommendations on their website. Like any carbonated soda, ginger beer will go flat once opened, however. It’s best to drink it within 2-3 hours, while it's still bubbly. (You can safely refrigerate flat ginger beer for a few days, but it won't taste fresh.)

What's the difference between ginger beer and ginger ale?

Legally? There isn't one. The US FDA has no official definition for either term, and brands could choose to put "ginger ale" or "ginger beer" on the label of any ginger-flavored soda. In practice, however, products labeled as ginger beer tend to have a more intense ginger spice, while ginger ales are a bit less aggressive, and sweeter. There's no requirement that either ginger beer or ginger ale be traditionally brewed by yeast fermentation; some brands of both are, and other brands are not.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Colleen Graham is a food and beverage writer with over a decade of experience writing about cocktails, beer, and wine. She is the author of two books—“Rosé Made Me Do It” and “Tequila: Cocktails With a Kick”—and ginger beer is one of her go-to drinks. This roundup was updated by The Spruce Eats commerce writer Jason Horn, who moved out of Birmingham almost a decade ago but still craves Buffalo Rock intensely.

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