Remember ginger beers, that fizzy and zesty stuff your grandmother probably lovingly made and bottled? Well, it’s currently made a big comeback and is not only widely available but is the belle of the ball in many delicious cocktails.
Here we will deconstruct just what ginger beers are, why it’s been around for centuries, the difference between ginger beer and ginger ale, its health benefits, and a whole lot more.
So just what is ginger beer? Ginger beer is a non-alcoholic beverage with a robust, spicy and aromatic flavour. It’s made from a blend of ginger, water and sugar that’s fermented with yeast, then usually carbonated and bottled.
That said, there are quite a few ginger beers that have a small amount of alcohol. You can sip ginger beer as a soft drink or use it as a mixer in a number of refreshing drinks.
What Is The History Of Ginger Beer?
In Europe, ginger beers known for centuries. It first originated in England and was then exported to British colonies all over the world. Whether ginger beers are actual beer, we will get to that later.
When Jamaica and other Caribbean islands fell under British rule, ginger was widely grown in the Caribbean. The British first brewed ginger beers, starting in the 17 century in Yorkshire. In the late 1800s, ginger beers was a popular alcoholic drink to sip in England, but it was more like a hard cider in those days.
It wasn’t long before England began exporting ginger beers to the US. Eventually, ginger beers took hold and breweries began producing it on a large scale. Then prohibition pushed ginger beer towards a non-alcoholic soft drink, but currently, it’s finding its way back into alcoholic mixes.
How Much Ginger Beer Is Consumed Worldwide And who Loves It?
The global demand for ginger beers are growing at a rapid pace and is expected to be driven by consumers wanting healthier drinks that are lighter with fewer calories, and refreshing.
Ginger beer fits the bill and is basically served as a low alcohol traditional fermented drink in most parts of the world.
North America dominated the global ginger beers market and accounted for most of the consumption. The same region is projected to lead the market over the next decade.
What’s great about ginger beers are that it is easy to make with natural ingredients and best of all, it’s delicious on a hot day.
How Is Ginger Beer Made?
If you’re wondering how to make ginger beers the answer is, it’s easy. But it’s sticky too.
Ginger beers are made from fresh or dried ginger, sugar and lemon juice. Traditionally, people fermented the ingredients with sugar and then added yeast to create an alcoholic ginger beers. In recent years, ginger beers have become more commonly available as a non-alcoholic beverage that relies on carbonation, not fermentation, for its fizzy bubbles.
Let’s turn to some of the claimed health benefits of ginger beer.
Is Ginger Beer Healthy?
Ginger is one of the oldest spices in existence, dating back to first century Southeast Asia known for its tummy-soothing properties.
Drinking ginger beers may offer some helpful health benefits, primarily as a result of its main ingredient. People have used ginger root for centuries, to help with digestive ailments, nausea and other stomach ailments. The science is careful to say that ginger beers may help you get some of the same benefits.
Fresh and dried ginger both contain a variety of natural oils, but the two associated with ginger’s health benefits are gingerol and shogaol. There are several studies that have looked at the positive effects of ginger and its extracts. However, there are no studies that have looked directly and only at ginger beers.
Some positive news is that it’s safe for pregnant women to drink and it won’t harm their growing babies. It could help with the nausea of morning sickness too.
Ready to try some really good ginger beers? We’ve rounded up 9 of the best ginger beers you must try.
The Best Ginger Beers To Try Right Now
We compiled our list based on ready availability, which ginger beers are chefs and mixologists talking about and manufacturers’ use of the best ingredients.
- Fever-Tree Premium Ginger Beer: The Fever-tree premium ginger beer is crafted from all-natural ingredients, yielding the best taste possible. They provide premium ginger beer and tonic water and are a staple for any mixed drink. What makes the company unique is that they source all-natural ingredients from all over the world.
- Q Mixers Ginger Beer: This pioneering brand includes organic agave nectar in its ginger beer, making it one of the best ginger beers on the market. Furthermore, this ginger beer has a kick, including a hint of chilly, coriander, and cardamom. These ingredients complement the ginger perfectly.
- Barritt’s Original: Barritt’s Original ginger beer is ideal for pairing with rum. This ginger beer is much sweeter than the others due to the addition of high fructose corn syrup.
- Bundaberg Ginger Beer: An Australian staple, Bundaberg makes one of the best-tasting ginger beers on the market. The packaging and signature short and dumpy brown bottles are easily recognisable for this fermented ginger beer. The natural ingredients responsible for the unique taste are cane sugar and natural ginger, not merely flavouring.
- Maine Root Ginger Brew: Maine Root ginger beer is another one to try. It’s made with all-natural ingredients, including organic sugar cane juice, and provides a potent ginger taste. Although it’s made similar to a carbonated soft drink, there are no artificial additives.
- Reed’s Stronger Ginger Beer: Like others on our list, this consists of all-natural ingredients, including raw cane sugar, ginger harvested from Peru, and sweet honey. What sets Reed’s apart from the rest is the unique addition of pineapple, lemon, and lime juice.
- Royalty Ginger Beer: Avoid this one if you don’t like sweetness. This ginger beer is very sweet so don’t mix it with any sugary liquor, as it would be overpowering. It’s better to let this ginger beer add all the sweetness to your mixed drinks.
- Brooklyn Crafted Mango Ginger Beer: If you enjoy a spicy cocktail, you should certainly consider this ginger beer. The use of mango in this particular ginger beer provides a unique taste unique to the industry. When mixing drinks, flavours such as cucumber and mint will mix well with the mango and ginger tastes.
- Zevia Mixer Ginger Beer: Zevia Mixer provides a substantial sugar-free option that, unlike other similar products, does not lack taste. It has brought a game changer to sugar-free ginger beers with its use of Stevia leaf extract. A quality totally sugar-free option.
Now that we’ve made some suggestions as to which ginger beers to try, let’s get stuck into how to drink ginger beers.
How To Drink Ginger Beer
Although ginger beers are often used in alcoholic drinks, such as the popular Moscow mule, traditionally served in a copper mug, there are a zillion ways of mocktails and punches one can make with this spicy and versatile drink.
This non-alcoholic Moscow mule is a good drink to begin with, as is this ginger and peach mocktail. In general, ginger beer pairs well with citrus juices like orange and lemon, but also goes nicely with warmer spicier flavours such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Just remember to stir in the ginger beer, rather than using a shaker to preserve the carbonation.
But is ginger beer an actual beer? And what is ginger ale and how does it differ from ginger beer?
Is Ginger Beer A Beer?
The name is deceiving as no, ginger beer is not a beer. It was originally made by mixing ginger, sugar water and optional lemon and/or cream of tartar together and leaving it to ferment.
Once the mixture was bubbly and slightly alcoholic it was strained and a portion of the old batch would be kept aside to make the next batch. Ginger beer was never actually a beer, but rather the production methods used in the days of old were similar.
Ginger ale, however, is a different beast altogether.
What Is Ginger Ale And How To Use It?
Ginger beers and ginger ale are both bubbly ginger drinks, but they taste different and are used in different ways.
Ginger beers are very fizzy with a strong ginger flavour and a spicy finish. It’s brewed and fermented. Ginger ale has a mild, mellow flavour and is sweeter than ginger beers. It’s essentially a ginger-flavoured soft drink and is non-alcoholic.
Both ginger beers and ginger ale can be sipped as a drink on their own, but both are also popular cocktail mixers. These non-alcoholic mixers add a lovely bubbly effervescence to drinks. While they share a ginger flavour, there are some major differences.
Ginger beers add a strong, spicy ginger finish to drinks while ginger ale is much milder, and is a good cocktail mixer when you want bubbles AND sweetness.
Talking of taste and flavours, what food goes well with ginger beer?
Food Pairings With Ginger Beers
Foods with spicy or highly seasoned sauces and glazes, such as barbecue pork ribs or glazed ham, pair well with ginger beers.
Lighter dishes such as Thai noodle salad, dressed with a peanut lime dressing are a great pair too.
Creamier dishes such as Cashew Indian Butter Paneer with a creamy cashew flavour is a winner while curries are surprisingly good companions to ginger beer. Not all curries, mind, just the lighter ones of fish, chicken or vegetables should be used. Avoid the heavier meat curries such as pork vindaloo or a lamb Rogan Josh as they will overpower ̶ not compliment ̶ ginger beer.
Ginger beer makes a great ingredient too. Try Ginger Beer and Tangerine Glazed Ham, Grilled Chicken In Ginger Beer Sauce or Pork Tenderloin With Pears & Ginger Beer Sauce.
All these yummy smells and flavours should have worked up an appetite by now. Pick up some ginger beer, think vegetable curry or grilled chicken and cook up a storm for your mates. What’s not to like?
Chermaine’s journey into the world of gemstones and crystals began as a child, collecting shimmering stones on family vacations. Today, she’s a certified gemologist and spiritual healer, intertwining the physical beauty of jewels with their metaphysical properties.
Chermaine has traveled to mines in Africa, marketplaces in India, and spiritual retreats in Bali, always seeking to deepen her understanding.
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