Bartenders understand the value of a good ginger ale. It can be combined with spirits for some memorable cocktails like a Dark ‘n Stormy or Scotch and Ginger Highball. It can also serve as the base for some great zero-proof mocktails if you’re in the midst of dry January or just taking it easy. The best ginger ales are great on their own, offering a swift kick of herbaceous spice that awakens the palate.
There’s even more to ginger ale’s many plusses. It’s a domestic remedy of sorts, offering some support when various conditions arise, from an upset stomach to a sore throat. It also has a pretty lengthy history, with origins going back to the mid-19th century in Northern Ireland. Ginger ale remains vastly popular overseas and has drawn quite a following here as well.
Early on, there was a good deal of difference between ginger ale and ginger beer. The latter contained alcohol and is still made in marginal amounts, especially in the U.K. Generally, though, the two terms have merged to mean the same thing. Whatever you want to call the stuff, ginger ale is highly useful, lively-tasting stuff. Here are the best ginger ale brands to make note of should you feel the thirst.
Cock ‘n Bull
One of the more flavor-forward varieties, Cock ‘n Bull is bold and spicy. It’s a great ginger beer for a Moscow Mule or just pulled straight out of the fridge neat.
Reed’s Zero Sugar
Reed’s makes a few tasty ginger ales and the sugar-free version is surprisingly solid. It’s hit with a generous amount of Peruvian ginger and is great for those on certain diets or just monitoring caloric intake.
A favorite among barkeeps, this ginger ale is made with three kinds of ginger. The result is a very aromatic beverage, with some more delicate floral notes and the right amount of spice.
This ginger ale is all about harmony. It’s clean and balanced, with a dialed-in amount of sweetness courtesy of agave nectar and complexity by way of coriander, cardamom, rose oil, chili pepper, and orange peel.
Maine Root Ginger Brew
Delicious ginger is at the forefront of this brew, just as it’s meant to be. Maine Root’s riff is arguably the best of the bunch, crafted with Fair Trade Certified organic cane sugar and some added spices.
A traditional ginger beer wearing a classy bottle, Fentimans has been at it since 1905. That’s ample time to master a recipe that utilizes fiery Chinese ginger. The spiciness goes great with tiki and tropical-themed drinks.
A little bitter, a little sweet, this ginger ale offers a nice bonus in the way of a citrusy zap. It does well chilled and solo or in the company of cucumber or bergamot.
Sometimes, sporting a vintage label is enough. Frostie Ginger Beer is definitely on the sweeter side but can be cut into perfectly with the right cocktail or mocktail. It’s also kinda cool that the drink got its start in a prison in 1939.
Ever popular, you’ve likely run into Seagram’s, whether on a flight or at the supermarket. For a large-scale option, it’s quite refreshing and not as cloyingly sweet as a lot of sodas out there.
A higher end ginger ale, Bruce Cost is made with whole ginger, the particles of which you can actually see in the glass. The company also makes some equally strong flavored ginger ales.
Boylan is another producer that’s been at it for a long time. The brand’s ginger ale is pale in hue and wonderfully smooth in taste.
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