Ginger Ale vs Ginger Beer – Is There A Difference?

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All you need to know about ginger ale vs ginger beer

Ginger Beer

Dealing with the summer months can be no easy task, and just a few minutes outside can leave us feeling drained. In these sweltering months, there can be nothing better than a refreshing, cool drink to take the edge off.

If you’re tired of the traditional choices of lemonade or beer and want a better option, we have you covered. Ginger ale is one of the best drinks to enjoy in the summer, and it comes with a host of health benefits.

If you haven’t heard of this delicious drink yet, you can learn more below. We’ll cover not just how it tastes but also the various health benefits that come with it.

So, keep reading below to find out more about ginger ale vs ginger beer.

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What is ginger ale?

ginger ale

Traditionally ales are made through a process of fermentation. Ginger ale is no different in its history.

It’s a mixture of fermented ginger, sugar, and water combined to make a carbonated drink with a sharp taste to it. Contrary to the name, however, the beverage is non-alcoholic. Children around the world commonly consume it as a slightly healthier alternative to pops and sodas.

People often wonder what the difference between ginger ale with ginger beer is. Simply put, ginger beer uses real ginger whilst ginger ale tends to use ginger flavoured syrup. The other difference is that some ginger beers are alcoholic whilst it is very rare to find a ginger ale containing any alcohol whatsoever.

So please don’t make the mistake of accidentally confusing an alcoholic ginger beer with a non-alcoholic kind!

What is ginger beer?

Ginger beer and ginger ale come from the same background. Both of them involve fermenting ginger to some degree, but the difference between the two is hops and the use of real ginger to the mixture.

Hops are one of the essential ingredients in creating beer. It’s also what gives it its potency.

Therefore, some ginger beers that are alcoholic start with a ginger base and hops are added during the production process. The production process includes ginger, sugar, water, much like ginger ale. When combined, this makes the ever-popular and loved ginger beer.

Depending on the production process, you can find alcoholic ginger beer and non-alcoholic variants as well. Modern production uses less alcohol and focuses on carbonation instead.

What is the difference between them?

Ginger ale and ginger beer are mass-produced beverages that have been actively consumed in America and Europe for centuries. One of the main differences between ginger ale and ginger beer is that ginger ale is non-alcoholic, and ginger beer comes in alcoholic and non-alcoholic variants.

Moreover, ginger ale has traditionally been a drink that children enjoy while watching their parents drink the real thing. Though ginger ale is immensely popular with just about everyone, ginger beer is more of an adult drink and isn’t mass-marketed to the entire population.

Only adults who have developed a taste for ginger beer continue to buy the product. Otherwise, it’s somewhat of an acquired taste.

Ginger beer also tends to use real ginger in the production process whilst ginger ale utilised a syrup made from ginger. 

root ginger

Best uses for Ginger ale

Here are some ways you can use ginger ale.

Cough remedy

Ginger ale is a known traditional cough reliever. It may not seem like the go-to option because it’s carbonated.

However, ginger is a great way to get rid of a sore throat and relieve you from a severe cough.

Nausea

One of the best uses for ginger is that it’s known to fight nausea. Therefore, if you find yourself having dizzy spells and don’t know how to handle the situation, you might want to go over to the local departmental store and grab yourself a cold ginger ale.

It has been used as a traditional nausea reliever for decades.

Ginger beer

Here are some ways to use ginger beer.

ginger ale in a cocktail

As a mixer

If you want to create a slightly harder yet enjoyable drink, consider adding some ginger beer to the mix. One of the most famous ginger beer drinks of all time is the Moscow Mule.

So next time you have some lying around, bring out the Vodka and go all in!

Anti-inflammatory

If you ever have an internal infection/ pain and need relief, ginger beer might be the perfect solution. It has been known to stimulate white blood cell production, which fights off inflammation.

It has helped people with arthritis, hepatitis, and various other conditions and is a proven health tonic for several different infection-related issues.

Settles your stomach

Ginger ale may help with nausea, but ginger beer is known to help with many different gastrointestinal issues. From digestion to bloating and nausea, it’s a one for all tonic that satisfies your stomach in several different ways.

Difference in taste

When we talk about ginger ale vs. ginger beer in terms of taste, the difference is profound. Ginger beer has a much intense, sharper, and spicier taste than ginger ale.

Ginger beer is made from natural ginger, hence why you may find it more intense and considerably more robust in taste. On the other hand, modern ginger ale uses syrup-based flavouring, which tones down the effect quite a bit.

Hence the reason why ginger beer is somewhat of an acquired taste. Not everyone appreciates how harsh the taste can be.

ginger beer in a cocktail

FAQS

Are sweeteners used in either of them?

Many people often find themselves asking themselves what is the difference between ginger ale and ginger beer in terms of the sweetener used. Again, it varies depending on what company if you choose.

However, a general rule of thumb is that ginger beer has many more natural ingredients than ginger ale. Ginger beer stays true to its roots (literally) for the most part, but ginger ale is known to use more artificial sweeteners and ginger syrup.

Is ginger ale healthier than other sodas?

Sodas and pops are known to have enormous amounts of sugar in them, which can severely affect your health if you drink too much. Other than that, some of these drinks are over-carbonated and can be bad for your health in some cases.

Ginger ale, however, has less sugar than traditional soda and brings with it several health benefits. The digestive benefits are beneficial in some cases instead of sodas that serve no use other than taste.

Ginger ale does indeed have sugar in it. However, nowhere near as much as regular sodas and mass-marketed fizzy drinks, which we know all too well.

Is ginger ale only for children?

Traditionally ginger ale wasn’t even for children. Only in recent times has it become a drink that minors can consume. Modern ginger ale is not only a children’s favourite, buts it’s a versatile drink that adults enjoy too. You can find it at the local grocery store, and it is easily accessible for just about everyone. It’s a great beverage to have when you want something sweet and need to be the dreaded summer heat.

As we mentioned earlier, it can be used in adult drinks as a mixer, but for that matter, so can most sodas. Therefore, ginger ale is harmless and isn’t only for children. It’s a versatile drink for everyone!

Can you substitute Ginger Ale for Ginger Beer?

Well… it depends on what you’re using it for. If you are looking to gain the medicinal benefits we talked about earlier, it might be better to stick with ginger beer instead of ginger ale.

However, if you mix drinks and try to get that distinct gingery taste, you can use either one of the two. However, ginger beer is known to have a much more robust and spicier flavour.

If you want to have a relaxing beverage on a hot day, we would suggest a ginger ale because it’s a lot easier to enjoy than ginger beer. All in all, you can substitute ginger ale for ginger beer but only when mixing drinks.

Otherwise, they are both distinct in their own right.

Is Ginger beer good for your stomach?

As we mentioned earlier, Ginger beer and Ginger ale both have medicinal benefits for gastrointestinal health. If you ever have nauseous spells, a little Ginger beer might be the best thing to bring you back to a normal state.

However, be warned, the slight alcohol percentage may give you a bit of a buzz. When it comes to ginger ale v ginger beer in gut health, always go for ginger beer.

Ginger ale doesn’t have as many natural ingredients as traditional Ginger beer, and you might not get what you want from the drink.

Why do they call ginger beer, beer?

It’s slightly confusing. Ginger beer does indeed go through the fermentation process and sometimes contains alcohol, so technically, it can be considered a kind of beer.

However, it doesn’t fall into the traditional categorization of beer. In modern times, the production process for ginger beer and ginger ale has changed so much that carbonation has taken the fermentation process.

Some companies still make traditional ginger beer, while others make a version of it similar to the original but still not the same thing.

It varies from company to company, and you may want to do your research into which company gives you the best ginger beer.

Conclusion

With the summer in full swing, you might have a hard time narrowing down upon which refreshing drink to enjoy. Ginger ale is an excellent choice for the whole family and one which comes with a host of health benefits.

Ginger ale is a fresh, bubbly drink with an excellent taste that’ll be the perfect pick-me-up for summer. You can enjoy it on its own, pair it with your favourite foods, or use it as a mixer just as you would use ginger beer.

There is no shortage of ways to use this delicious drink, and it’s the best way to beat the heat.

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Andy Canter

Andy

Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best! 

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