When it comes to classic cocktails, there aren’t many that are more canonical (or more widespread these days) than the Moscow Mule. Made with just a few ingredients — simply vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer— the combination of sweet, citrusy, and strong is hard to beat. It’s refreshing and you can easily put down a couple in a sitting, depending on how strong they are. (You also can’t forget the damn pretty copper mugs that mules come in, either.)
Yet even though it only contains three ingredients, not all ingredients are created equal. If you look at the ingredients to many mass-produced ginger beers out there, you’ll notice that they are basically just sugar and ginger flavoring, giving you nothing but a headache after. You wouldn’t drink it on its own, so why would you put it in a cocktail?
Below, you’ll find our picks for the best ginger beer for Moscow mules (you can find our picks for vodka here). They run the gamut on spiciness, so even if that zing isn’t your thing, you’ll find one to enjoy. (If you need to know how to make a Moscow mule, check out our video on the subject here.)
Australian ginger beer Bundaberg not only rolls off the tongue (as you’re delightfully ripping the cap off), but the brew is damn goo, too. Using locally-grown ginger and taking three days per batch, Bundaberg is great in mules and more.
Q Ginger Beer
Using agave for sweetness and chili peppers, lime, and some other spices to accentuate the natural spiciness of the ginger, Q Ginger Beer is a simple, effective, and delicious mixer. Not only that, but Q drinks feature added carbonation, providing a little extra zip on the tongue with every sip. The brand also offers a solid tonic water.
Brooklyn Crafted Extra Spicy Ginger Beer
For those looking for a bit more of a kick in their mule, Brooklyn Crafted’s Extra Spicy delivers. Unfiltered (you can see the bits of ginger floating in the bottle), this ginger beer is a real zinger on the palate, making it a great way to wake up the senses.
Fever Tree Ginger Beer
Using ginger from Nigeria, Cochin, and the Ivory Coast, Fever Tree gives off strong ginger flavors and smells without being overpowering. The level of carbonation, therefore the size of the bubbles, lead to a pleasing drinking experience overall
Goslings Stormy Ginger Beer
Though known primarily for its ability to be used in Dark ‘n Stormys (their website even says it was created strictly for Dark ‘n Stormys, but we’re rebels, what can we say), Goslings ginger beer has a nice level of spice that is balanced by its sweetness. We suggest trying it in a mule, then in a Dark ‘n Stormy, then seeing which one you like better.