Ginger Beer vs Ginger Ale

There’s nothing more refreshing than the kick of spice and warmth of a classic ginger beer or ginger ale flavoured drink. They’re both flavours which people have enjoyed for generations. But what’s the difference between them? We put together this handy guide to give you everything you need to know, so you’ll have the confidence to make the perfect ginger drink the next time you try your hand at mixology.

What is Ginger Ale?

Ginger ale is a bubbly drink flavoured with ginger dating back to the 1800s according to Thomas Joseph Cantrell, an Irish apothecary and surgeon who claimed to have invented the golden variety. Traditional ginger ale is  a fermented drink, made from fresh ginger root, a starter such as yeast or ginger bug, sugar, and water. These days, ginger ale is typically manufactured in a more straightforward way, using pre-carbonated water and ginger flavours.

There are two primary forms of ginger ale; golden ginger ale and dry or pale, ginger ale. Golden ginger ale is darker, sweeter, and spicier, while dry ginger ale is lighter with a more subtle taste.

What is Ginger Beer?

Ginger beer was invented in the 1800s in England, originally as an alcoholic drink. Much like traditional ginger ale, it was first produced using fermentation, with the addition of spices and lemon juice. Soon enough ginger beer’s alcohol percentage was limited to just 2%, before it eventually became a soft drink with most manufacturers.  Ginger ale and ginger beer are now generally made with carbonated water and flavourings.

The flavour of ginger beer can be best described as sweet and spicy. It’s not a soft drink for the faint-hearted and is considered a leading taste in cocktails and alcoholic drinks. The bold flavour of ginger beer has now made it a popular drink of choice across the globe.

What’s the Difference Between Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale?

Basically, the difference between these drinks lies in the taste! If you want something bold and strong in flavour to really start a party on your tastebuds, go for ginger beer. If you want something smooth and subtle with a slight kick of fieriness, ginger ale is the option for you.

To give you a better idea we’ve also included some options for mixing each of them.

Ginger Beer:


  • Moscow Mule: Mix vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, and serve over ice in a copper mug for this iconic cocktail. Tiny umbrellas are optional.

  • Dark and Stormy: A cocktail with a kick! Pour ginger beer over dark rum and ice with a lime garnish to make this Caribbean classic.

  • Foghorn: Gin and ginger beer marry perfectly in this New York Cocktail, which is best served with a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Ginger Ale:


  • Whiskey Ginger: Simplicity means perfection with this one. Mix whiskey and ginger ale to create this classic short drink, with ice and lime wedges an optional addition.

  • Classic Shandy: One of these is a good choice for designated drivers. Mix a pale ale or lager with a glug of ginger ale and add some lemon for this refreshing beverage.

  • Pimm’s Cup: A summertime classic in the UK. Pimm’s No. 1 mixed with ginger ale, with some added lemon and cucumber slices, are all you need for this sunny-day cooler.

SodaStream Ginger Syrup

At SodaStream, we’re dedicated to making your sparkling drinks easier, healthier, and cheaper to enjoy at home, so it’s only natural that we stock a variety of both ginger beer and ginger ale flavours. With any of these flavours, all you have to do is mix the instructed amount with your freshly carbonated SodaStream sparkling water. It’s that easy!.

Our Classic Ginger Ale, made with natural flavour formulated to properly capture the essence and feel of a classic, dry ginger beverage from the comfort of your kitchen. 

Our Classic Ginger Beer, is strong on ginger, citrusy, and spicy with a hint of sweetness from the sugar. So, ginger beer is sweet, but the sweetness is mild and not overpowering.

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