Pop quiz: When was the last time you walked into a bar and didn’t see a Moscow mule (or a Kentucky mule, a Tennessee mule, a London mule, et cetera) on the cocktail list? We’re going to venture that it’s been a pretty long time. The mule cocktail is ubiquitous these days and for good reason — they’re tasty and incredibly easy to make.
Take the Moscow mule, for example. All you need is vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer and boom. Done. 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
Gosling’s 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.
Bottoms Up Ginger Beer
Bottoms Up is made by the Ginger People and not only does it use single-origin ginger, but it is unfiltered, not blended, and does not use any extracts or juices. Basically, it’s as pure a ginger beer as one can get.
Fentiman’s Ginger Beer
A little more complex than other ginger beers due to the fact that a variety of herbs are used in the brewing process, Fentiman’s Ginger Beer is made with Chinese ginger, resulting in a good amount of ginger flavor that you do not lose in the sweetness.
AJ Stephan’s Jamaican-Style Ginger Beer
For those that like their ginger beer extra spicy, AJ Stephan’s Jamaican-Style Ginger Beer is one to consider. Hot up front and hot through the palate, this one really awakens the senses. There is a little bit of sweetness there, but the primary flavor is hot ginger.
Rachel’s Ginger Beer
Made in Seattle and shipped fresh in a refrigerated box, Rachel’s Ginger Beer utilizes Seattle water, fresh ginger, fresh lemon juice, and cane sugar to make a bright and zingy ginger beer. Rachel’s also makes a variety of flavors, including blood orange, pink guava, and caramelized pineapple.
18.21 Bitters Spicy Ginger Beer Concentrate
A syrup, not a ginger beer, 18.21 Bitters’ concentrate is made from real ginger, cane sugar, citrus, and spices, and allows you to adjust the level of ginger flavor you want in your drink. You can either mix it with club soda to make ginger beer or add it directly to a drink for a nice ginger kick.