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Ginger Beer - All about the ginger beer for cocktails & long drinks

by Honest & Rare Editorial Team
Ginger Beer - Alles über das Ingwerbier für Cocktails & Longdrinks

The most important facts summarized for you:

  • Ginger beer is an aromatic lemonade with ginger
  • Ginger beer was traditionally brewed, but no longer contains alcohol today
  • It is a common base ingredient in cocktails, for example the Moscow Mule

What is ginger beer?

Ginger beer, or ginger beer, contains no alcohol and, like American root beer, is by no means a beer, but rather an aromatic lemonade. The aromatic ginger lemonade is similar to ginger ale, but is rather cloudy and tastes much more aromatic. Ginger ale can therefore be considered a milder version of ginger beer.

Auch wenn der Name anders vermuten lässt: Ginger Beer enthält keinen Alkohol.
Even if the name suggests otherwise: Ginger beer contains no alcohol.

History & production of ginger beer

However, the name ginger beer is not quite as absurd as it might first appear. In the past, ginger beer was actually brewed and had an alcohol content of up to eleven percent. Over time, however, the alcohol content became lower and lower until it became the non-alcoholic drink that is still consumed today. Ginger beer was already known in Great Britain in the 18th century and was already very popular back then.

Many households brewed their own ginger beer using the ginger beer plant as a base, a yeast culture that is no longer widespread. The origins of the jelly-like substance can no longer be traced; it essentially consists of the yeast fungus Saccharomyces florentinus and the bacterium Lactobacillus hilgardii. It was used to ferment the sugar-water-ginger solution and was widely used until the 20th century. Gradually, however, the simple use of dried brewer's or baker's yeast became established.

In the period from 1919 to 1933, the brew became less and less important due to Prohibition in the USA and spent the following decades in a worldwide niche existence. This only changed again at the beginning of the 2000s.

Klassischerweise gehören in ein Ginger Beer Zitronen und Ingwer - es gibt aber auch Abwandlungen mit Limetten.
Traditionally, a ginger beer contains lemons and ginger - but there are also variations with lime.

In 1939, cookery and cocktail book author Charles Baker described one of the oldest ginger beer recipes. The "General J. K. L. Harkrider's Ginger Beer" is said to have been drunk in England as early as 1766 and consisted of the following ingredients:

  • 2.5 pounds (1134 g) of sugar
  • 2 ounces (57 g) ginger
  • 0.5 ounce (14 g) of cream of tartar
  • 2.5 gallons (11.4 L) boiling water
  • 4 lemons (juice and zest)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ale yeast
  • Sugar to taste

Nowadays, the main ingredients for ginger beer are usually water, sugar, carbon dioxide and ginger flavoring. Sometimes citrus juices are also included. Some products are also available that have been fermented using yeast.

Recipes with ginger beer

You can enjoy ginger beer on its own as a refreshing drink or use it as an interesting ingredient in countless cocktails. Alternatively, you can use ginger beer as an ingredient in cocktails with ginger ale if you want a much sharper ginger flavor. We also present two of the most popular cocktail recipes below.

Der Moscow Mule ist einer der beliebtesten Cocktails mit Ginger Beer.
The Moscow Mule is one of the most popular cocktails with ginger beer.

Moscow Mule

According to legend, the Moscow Mule was created around 1941 in the Cock'n Bull Pub in Hollywood when three businessmen met there. It is traditionally served in a copper m ug, which is supposed to better preserve the temperature of the drink. As an alternative to the copper mug, you can of course also serve this cocktail in a tall cocktail glass.

Find out more about the cult drink here: Moscow Mule recipe


  • 12 cl ginger beer
  • 6 cl vodka
  • 3 cl lime juice
  • ice cubes
  • 1 lime wedge


  1. Place the lime wedge and ice cubes in a tall cocktail glass or copper mug.
  2. Then add vodka and lime juice, top up with ginger beer and stir briefly.
  3. Finally, you can garnish your cocktail with cucumber slices and some mint.

The Dark
The Dark'n'Stormy is also traditionally mixed with ginger beer.

Dark and Stormy

The first Dark and Stormy is said to have been served around 1900 in the bar of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in Hamilton (capital of Bermuda). You don't need much to make this cocktail!


  • 6 cl dark Rum
  • 3 cl lime juice
  • 15 cl ginger beer
  • Ice cubes


  1. First, add ice and lime juice to a highball glass.
  2. Then top up with ginger beer and carefully add the rum.
  3. Then garnish the glass with a lime wedge.

Frequently asked questions about ginger beer

What does ginger beer taste like?

Compared to ginger ale, ginger beer tastes much more intense. It has a sweet and at the same time spicy-hot taste with an intense ginger aroma.

Ginger beer typically tastes sweet and spicy, with a distinctive ginger spiciness.
Ginger beer typically tastes sweet and spicy, with a distinctive ginger spiciness.

Does ginger beer contain alcohol?

No, modern ginger beer does not usually contain alcohol. However, this was certainly the case in the past, as the original production process was based on alcoholic fermentation. In the early days, the alcohol content averaged eleven percent, but fell to less than two percent in the 19th century. Today's products are mostly non-alcoholic and can therefore basically be classified as lemonades.

Is ginger beer the same as spicy ginger?

Spicy Ginger is a product of soft drinks manufacturer Thomas Henry and was launched on the market in 2010 as the first ginger beer produced in Germany. Around a year later, the Berlin Regional Court proved to be a buzzkill and banned the use of the name Ginger Beer; the appeal against the ruling was unsuccessful.

Spicy Ginger is a ginger beer brand from soft drinks manufacturer Thomas Henry.
Spicy Ginger is a ginger beer brand of the soft drink manufacturer Thomas Henry.

The judges criticized the naming as misleading, so Thomas Henry renamed the drink Spicy Ginger a short time later. With reference to common usage, the Munich Regional Court overturned the ruling in 2017 and the name has been allowed to be used ever since. However, Spicy Ginger remained the proper name of Thomas Henry's product.

What to mix with ginger beer?

If you don't just want to drink the ginger beer straight, you have a wide range of mixing options, for example with vodka, rum or other spirits.

Ginger beer can be drunk straight or used to mix cocktails.
Ginger beer can be drunk neat or used to mix cocktails.

Do you fancy a Moscow Mule, a Dark and Stormy or another cocktail with ginger beer? Then you will find various spirits in the store with which you can confidently prepare your favorite cocktail. To the range of spirits


About the autor:

Honest & Rare Editorial Team

Honest & Rare Editorial Team


Some things can only be accomplished as a team. Just like this article here! That's why we mark all jointly created articles as editorial contributions. Cheers!

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