Moscow Mules just wouldn’t be the same without their copper mug—or their ginger beer. The original Moscow Mule, concocted at the Cock ‘n’ Bull in Hollywood, was crafted with the pub’s signature brew of the same name, mixed with Smirnoff vodka. Before the invention of the now-famous cocktail, neither ginger beer or vodka were especially popular stateside. It was the Moscow Mule that propelled both ingredients into the limelight.
While many traditionalists prefer to stick with the original Smirnoff and Cock ‘n’ Bull recipe, some creative cocktail connoisseurs have whipped up delicious variations. Usually, Moscow Mule alternatives involve switching up the liquor—you could use tequila, rum, or gin, for example—but nearly all stick with ginger beer. That’s probably because liquor and ginger are just like peanut butter and jelly. You really can’t go wrong.
Ginger beer, which is not the same as ginger ale, is a simple mixture of fresh ginger root, yeast, sugar, and water. Unlike usual beer, ginger beer is almost never alcoholic. Flavors and qualities range from those resembling simple sugar water to those with a bold and gingery kick. As a rule of thumb, fresh ginger is critical and, usually, the less sugar the better.
Since the Moscow Mule’s inception, ginger beer has spiked in popularity and, today, there are countless varieties from which to choose. So we couldn’t help but wonder: is Cock ‘n’ Bull really the best ginger beer for the modern Moscow Mule? We set out to find out.
1.Fever Tree Ginger Beer
Fever Tree sources its fresh ginger from India, Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast, which creates a spicy ginger punch. Fever Tree also produces a light version which has the same flavor but with less sugar.
2. Cock ‘n’ Bull Ginger Beer
There’s nothing quite like the original recipe. And Cock ‘n’ Bull certainly doesn’t disappoint. Like Fever Tree, it carries quite a spicy ginger punch. But what makes Cock ‘n’ Bull distinct is its sweet, Cola-like aftertaste.
3. Bundaberg Ginger Beer
This wasn’t one of our favorites. This Aussie brand is fresh and sweet, but there’s no ginger heat. It’s weak and overall too similar to Cola.
4.Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer
Crabbie’s is the only alcoholic ginger beer on our list, with 4.8 percent alcohol content. By itself, it’s pretty good. But there’s just not enough ginger to make it a worthy mixer.
5.Q Ginger Beer
6. The Ginger People Ginger Beer
The Ginger People really do know their ginger. This drink warms your throat and packs a strong ginger kick with a hint of spice. It’s also got a nice citrus flavor. Bonus: If drinking Moscow Mules has worked up your appetite, try one of The Ginger People’s delicious ginger candies.
7. Reed’s Extra Ginger Beer
The name is a bit deceiving. There doesn’t seem to be any extra ginger in this drink compared to the others. If you’re a gin and tonic lover, you’ll like the sweet-tart flavor. But it’s definitely not the best for a Moscow Mule.
8. Hollows and Fentimans Ginger Beer
Hollows and Fentimans consists of a mix of botanicals that have been fermented into a low-alcohol beer with a hint of ginger. It’s more expensive than the others and, to really appreciate its flavorful blend, it’s best sipped straight.
9. Gosling’s Ginger Beer
Unlike Hollows and Fentimans, Gosling’s is a good choice if you’re on a budget. It’s a little sweeter than the others—maybe too sweet— but still has a mildly spicy ginger flavor, which makes it a nice mixer.
10. Stoli Ginger Beer
You might think a vodka producer would make an excellent mixer, but such is not the case with Stoli’s ginger beer. Unlike Hollows and Fentimans, it’s not worth the pretty penny you’ll pay for it. It tastes less like ginger beer and more like sugar water with a hint of citric acid.
So, what is the definitive best ginger beer to pair with a Moscow Mule? The answer is largely subjective. But overall, we recommend Fever Tree, Q Ginger Beer, The Ginger People, Gosling’s, and, of course, Cock ‘n’ Bull. Try some of these yourself and let us know what you think!