Getting Your Kicks — A Ginger Beer Primer
The first ever Moscow Mule was blended with Cock ’n’ Bull’s finest home-brewed ginger beer. We all know the story of how Grandma Sophie fatefully visited the Hollywood drinking establishment one fine afternoon, and met not only bar owner and amateur ginger beer master Jack Morgan, as well as John Martin, who had recently purchased the floundering Smirnoff Vodka distillery.
We have talked here on the blog before about how different vodkas can be used to make subltly different mules — and the same can be said of ginger beer. The brewed ginger beer is such an essential element, adding that fizzy, spicy flavor that helps make the Moscow Mule such a distinctive drink. And there are many different varieties of ginger beer available on the market today, from sweet, spicy to citrusy and downright boozy!
Here are some of our favorites, from A to Z:
Bundaberg Ginger Beer
The traditional Bundaberg Ginger Beer is a classic. Brewed in barrels in Australia, this ginger beer is housed in distinctive stubby brown glass bottles with a tear-off metal lid. Flavor wise it is spicy yet sweet, and of average carbonation, making it a great addition to any mule.
Renowned as the venue where the Moscow Mule was first dreamed up and created, there is now a CocknBull branded ginger beer that, when combined with Smirnoff vodka and poured into a Moscow Copper Company mug, makes for the most authentic Moscow Mule experience around! Sadly the Hollywood drinking hole of the same name is no longer around, but with this product, plus ours, and a splash of Smirnoff and fresh lime juice, the Moscow Mule can again be enjoyed just as Grandma Sophie and her fellow Moscow Mule creators intended.
Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer
Described by the company as “a refreshing, light-bodied ginger beer with a spicy fresh ginger flavor, notes of citrus and a warming finish,” this beverage is a dreamy companion to any mule. It is one of the few ginger beers that actually boasts alcohol content, so you’d be forgiven for forgoing the vodka and just pouring this fresh bubbly fluid into your Moscow Copper Company mug along with an oversized ice cube and a wedge of fresh lime. Crabbie’s also have two flavored options for those who want to take a non-traditional route with their mule making, including a Spiced Orange ginger drink that’s billed as “surprisingly tangy” and a Scottish Raspberry flavor that’s described as “curiously crisp” and “deliciously unique.”
Fentiman’s Botanically Brewed Ginger Beer
This artisinal soda company from the United Kingdom has been around since 1905, and concocts an array of fine beverages, and has gained the attention of many mixologists for its flavorful ginger beer. Their traditional version is also accompanied by an alcoholic ginger beer, which is brewed with botanicals and herbs, making it a popular choice for those who like their mules on the flavorful side.
Fever Tree Ginger Beer
A line of artisanal, premium mixers out of the UK, Fever Tree’s Ginger Beer is as elegant as it is exceptional. It is made using two different varieties of types of ginger — fresh, citrusy green ginger from Ecuador and hot, earthy ginger from Nigeria. This gives the drink a uniquely balanced flavor profile, one that is spicy without being too peppery. The cloudy nature of the beer and the golden pieces of ginger floating towards the bottom of each bottle add to the authencitiy and artisanal charm of this particular product.
Q Ginger Beer
Q sodas are more of an artisanal style ginger beer, with deliberarly lower sugar levels than most ginger beers or even ginger ales. Their ginger beer is dubbed “very spicy” and “not too sweet” and it utterly delivers. It also features a lower carbonation than many on the current market, so it’s nice and light.
Seabold Ginger Beer
Handcrafted in small batches in Los Angeles, Seabold is a ginger beer that really puts the ginger front and center. It is the color of ginger juice, and very lightly carbonated. Each batch is hand made and even invidually numbered. When they sell out of a batch, that’s it. No more until the next batch is cooked up. Available primarily in the Los Angeles area at farmers markets and juice stores.
Capitalizing on their premium vodka reputation, Stoli is now offering ginger beer, packaged in four-packs of slim, elegant cans. This offering can be described as well-balanced, with a spicy sweetness and nice carbonation level for those who enjoy their mules on the fizzy side. Although it's not as spicy as a Q or a Fever Tree, one thing we really love about Stoli Ginger Beer is they use only pure cane sugar and no corn syrup. Cheers to you Stoli, keep it up!