Ginger beer is a popular beverage enjoyed by many for its unique taste and potential health benefits. It’s a carbonated drink that has a spicy kick, thanks to the ginger root used to make it. However, ginger beer can be hard to find in some areas or may not be the preferred drink for everyone. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry! There are plenty of other options that can provide similar flavors and benefits. Here are the 7 best substitutes for ginger beer.
What is Ginger Beer?
Ginger beer is a non-alcoholic beverage that features ginger as its primary flavoring agent. Traditionally, it was made by brewing freshly-dug ginger root with water, cane sugar, and yeast, and allowing the mixture to ferment for several weeks. This fermentation process resulted in natural carbonation and a small amount of alcohol, giving rise to the “beer” part of its name.
However, in today’s world, ginger beer is officially classified as a soft drink due to its zero alcohol content. The mass-market varieties of ginger beer contain very little alcohol, typically less than 0.5% by volume, as they are no longer fermented but blended together and artificially carbonated during manufacturing.
Despite its evolution, ginger beer’s popularity has remained constant over the ages, thanks to its distinct character and widespread appeal. It has a pleasant sweetness, just the right amount of fizz, and a feisty afterburn that makes it an excellent choice as a mix-in or chaser. Interestingly, ginger ale, which is similar to ginger beer in taste and body, almost always contains zero real ginger.
Best Ginger Beer Substitutes
1. Sparkling Water
If you’re looking for a simple alternative to ginger beer, sparkling water can be a great option. It’s readily available in most stores and comes in a variety of flavors. Sparkling water can be a refreshing and hydrating choice that also provides a similar carbonated texture to ginger beer.
To enhance the flavor of sparkling water, you can add fresh fruit or herbs. For example, adding a slice of lemon or lime can provide a tart and tangy taste. Mint or basil can add a refreshing and aromatic quality to your drink. There are also many brands that offer flavored sparkling water options, such as LaCroix or Bubly, which can provide a similar flavor experience to ginger beer.
2. Ginger Ale
One of the most obvious substitutes for ginger beer is ginger ale. While they have similar names and flavors, there are some differences between the two. Ginger ale typically has a sweeter taste and a milder ginger flavor compared to ginger beer. It’s also less carbonated, which can be a good option for those who don’t want an overly fizzy drink.
When choosing a ginger ale brand, look for ones that use real ginger and have a good balance of sweetness and spice. You can also enhance the flavor of ginger ale by adding fresh ginger or fruit juice. For example, a splash of cranberry juice can provide a tart and fruity taste that complements the ginger flavor.
Kombucha is a fermented tea that has gained popularity in recent years due to its health benefits. It has a slightly tangy and sweet taste that can be a good substitute for ginger beer. Kombucha is made by fermenting tea with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, also known as a SCOBY.
Kombucha can provide many of the same health benefits as ginger beer due to the fermentation process, which creates probiotics and antioxidants. When choosing a kombucha brand, look for ones that are low in sugar and have a good balance of sweetness and acidity. Some popular flavors include ginger, lemon, and raspberry.
4. Tonic Water
Tonic water is a carbonated drink that has a bitter taste and is often used as a mixer for cocktails. While it may not have the same spicy kick as ginger beer, it can provide a similar carbonated texture and complement the flavors of certain ingredients.
To balance out the bitterness of tonic water, you can add sweeteners such as honey or agave syrup. Adding a squeeze of citrus can also provide a tart and refreshing taste. When choosing a tonic water brand, look for ones that are made with natural ingredients and have a high quinine content, which provides the bitter taste.
Lemonade is a classic summer drink that has a tart and sweet taste. While it may not have the same spiciness as ginger beer, it can provide a similar level of refreshment and a complementary flavor to certain ingredients.
To enhance the flavor of lemonade, you can add fresh ginger to provide a spicy kick. Simply grate a small amount of ginger and add it to your lemonade mixture. You can also experiment with different fruit flavors such as strawberry or raspberry to provide a unique twist to your drink.
Hard cider is a fermented drink made from apples that can provide a similar level of carbonation and sweetness to ginger beer. It has a refreshing and crisp taste that can be a great alternative for those who don’t enjoy the spiciness of ginger beer.
When choosing a cider brand, look for ones that are made with real apples and have a good balance of sweetness and acidity. You can also experiment with different flavors such as pear or cherry to provide a unique twist to your drink.
7. Club Soda
Club soda is another simple substitute for ginger beer. It’s a plain carbonated water that can be a great base for a variety of mixed drinks. Club soda has a similar level of carbonation to ginger beer and can provide a refreshing and hydrating alternative.
To enhance the flavor of club soda, you can add fresh fruit or herbs such as cucumber or mint. You can also experiment with different flavored syrups or juices to provide a unique twist to your drink. Club soda can be a versatile ingredient that can provide a similar texture to ginger beer.
In conclusion, there are plenty of alternatives to ginger beer that can provide similar flavors and benefits. Sparkling water, ginger ale, kombucha, tonic water, lemonade, cider, and club soda are all great options to consider.
When choosing a substitute, look for ones that have a good balance of sweetness, acidity, and carbonation. You can also experiment with different flavors and ingredients to provide a unique twist to your drink. Don’t be afraid to try something new and find the perfect substitute for your taste preferences.