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What To Keep In Mind When Choosing Ginger Beer For Your Cocktails

Stout glass of ginger beer next to a bottle
Stout glass of ginger beer next to a bottle - Jane Vershinin/Getty Images

If you're a fan of cocktail making and mixology, then you probably already know that ginger beer is a common addition to many drink recipes. For instance, there's the sweet and spicy Moscow Mule or the alluring Dark and Stormy. Now, while you may think that you can simply snag whatever ginger beer happens to be readily available at the supermarket, the truth is that not all ginger beers are created equal. Ginger beers come in varying degrees of sweetness and spiciness, with some giving a sharper, more gingery kick and others tending to the more sugary side.

At the same time, these drinks can be sweetened with different add-ins, whether that's high fructose corn syrup, sugar, or agave. And they also range from being completely non-alcoholic to containing trace amounts of booze. Knowing which ginger beer to choose will depend on what flavor profile you're going for in your drink and what kind of cocktail you want to shake up.

Read more: 10 Of The Healthiest Beers You Can Drink

Choosing The Right Ginger Beer For Your Drink

Moscow mule in a tumbler
Moscow mule in a tumbler - Bhofack2/Getty Images

When it comes to selecting the right soft drink for your cocktail, the first thing to consider is how the drink is sweetened and the subsequent level of sweetness that it has. Drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup tend to have a more syrupy texture and taste, while those made with sugar can have a softer and more balanced sweetness. There are also sugar-free versions that get their saccharine flavor from monk fruit, stevia, and other natural sweeteners. Both options may give a slight aftertaste that can affect your drink, but it's up to you to determine whether you mind this.

Another thing to think about is the level of sweetness in your drink. Ginger beers that are sweeter tend to work well in spicier drinks, helping to provide balance and offset some of the bite. This could be a good option if you're using, for instance, a spiced rum in your cocktail. On the other hand, if you like that kick, you can go for varieties that focus more on the taste of ginger. These can work well against cocktails that contain sweeter liquors, helping to bring a bit of a spicy bite to balance the drink. Some even contain additional ingredients, such as pineapple or lime, that can add another layer of flavor and work well in cocktails that already call for citrus, such as the Moscow Mule.

Can You Swap Ginger Beer For Ginger Ale?

Whiskey and ginger ale cocktail with lemon wedge
Whiskey and ginger ale cocktail with lemon wedge - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Sometimes, you might not have ginger beer on hand. In that case, you may wonder if turning to ginger ale is an acceptable alternative. While it's true that both are ginger-based soft drinks, they're not one and the same.

Ginger beer tends to be spicier than ginger ale and is usually carbonated through a fermentation process, which is why it can contain small amounts of alcohol. It also tends to have a more complex flavor and gives your cocktails a stronger ginger taste. If you're going to swap it out for ginger ale, you may want to make the replacement for lighter cocktails or drinks that don't need that spicy bite you'd get from the ginger beer. A Pimm's Cup or a shandy, for instance, can be good picks.

With that in mind, you now know how to choose the correct mixer for your cocktails. Whether you're after a spicy flavor profile, something on the sweeter and more balanced side, or even a quick ginger beer swap, you now know what to look for to craft the perfect cocktail.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.