Ginger beer has long been a solid foundation for many a mixer and cocktail that refreshes body and spirit, while retaining enough heft for a brisk spring day.

For starters, anyone making a ginger beer cocktail probably wants to invest in making their own ginger beer. It’s so easy to do; the only excuse not to do so is being pressed for time.

How to make ginger beer:

Ginger Beer


Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 quarts of water
  • 1 measure of ginger syrup*
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp of brewer’s yeast

Preparation: Combine the ingredients in a pot or crock with a cover, give it a good shake, and leave it in a shady place for 2 or 3 days. When it’s fizzy, it’s ready. Store in bottles, but make sure those bottles can withstand the pressure of a carbonated beverage. If you refrigerate the ginger beer, it should last for 1 to 2 weeks, but you will need to open the bottles daily to ensure the pressure doesn’t build up and explode the bottle!

*Ginger Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup table sugar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 5 oz. water

Preparation: First, peel your fresh ginger and grate it. Then combine the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and make your syrup, in much the same way you would simple syrup. Strain out the solids after the sugar has dissolved into syrup. You may find the syrup itself useful in spicing up other drinks.

The classic way to use ginger beer is in a Mule, but then there’s the choice of which part of the ginger beer gets leaned on: the sweetness or the spiciness? With wheated bourbon like Larceny, one can go down the floral and vanilla path. Tequila, on the other hand, offers an avenue to playing up the spicy side. Here are a few to try: 

A Sweeter Classic Mule

If you’re tempted to use ginger syrup instead of simple syrup, don’t. It will play up the spiciness in a cocktail where the bourbon is specifically chosen to add luster to the sweet side, but you could (as a Kentucky gentleman might) reach for mint syrup instead

Kentucky Mule

Kentucky Mule

Kentucky Mule

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Larceny Bourbon
  • 3 oz. ginger beer
  • 1/4 lime wedge
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 lime slice
  • Sprig of fresh mint

Preparation: Build over ice in a mule mug, squeezing the wedge in for the juice. Garnish with the lime slice and mint.


A Spicy Classic Mule

Tequila and Mexican themes open the door to using chili pepper flavors to play up the inherent spiciness of ginger beer. A simple way to get at that is to use tequila already flavored with the peppers.

Jalapeño Mexican Mule

Jalapeño Mexican Mule

Jalapeño Mexican Mule 


Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila
  • 4 oz. ginger beer
  • Splash grenadine
  • Lime wedge

Preparation: Build ingredients in an ice-filled Collins glass, instead of a mule glass. Stir well and garnish with a lime wedge.


For Another Option

A third ginger beer option is a rum-based drink that calls on two ingredients that, brought together, speak to the Green Mountain State.

New World Buck

New World Buck

New World Buck

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Starward Nova Australian Whisky
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • Splash of grenadine
  • 4 oz. ginger beer
  • 1 dash Peychaud bitters
  • 1 lemon slice
  • 1 mint sprig

Preparation: Build up in a highball glass, add ice and stir. Garnish with a sprig of mint and lemon slice.