Whiskey And Ginger Beer — Does It Work? [+ Recipes]

A whiksey and ginger beer drink next to ginger root


Whiskey is known for having a complex flavor profile that often includes oak, spices, fruit, and many other delicious flavors. Its complexity is why so many whiskey drinkers enjoy their whiskey simply straight or with a splash of water.

However, something really interesting happens when you pair whiskey with a mixer. Certain flavors are elevated while others are subdued, letting you taste a spirit in a completely different way. It can turn a fairly average whiskey into a drink that is absolutely delicious.

But what about Ginger Beer? Can it be mixed with whiskey?

If you are like most people, your first reaction would be “No” simply because ginger beer is such a strong soft drink. Surely it can’t combine with an even more powerful drink like whiskey.

Surprisingly, ginger beer works extremely well with whiskey. It is one of the most popular whiskey mixers and is used in dozens of different whiskey cocktails. Here is a little information about mixing ginger beer with whiskey, along with a few whiskey cocktail recipes featuring ginger beer.

What Does Whiskey and Ginger Beer Taste Like?

Ginger beer (not to be confused with ginger ale) is made by fermenting prepared ginger spice, yeast and sugar. It is a spicy and invigorating drink with a strong ginger flavor.

Ginger beer is less sweet than ginger ale, which can make it a better choice if you are drinking an already sweet whiskey like bourbon. It is also less carbonated than ginger ale, so your mixed whiskey won’t become overly bubbly.

The fresh flavors of ginger beer can provide an excellent contrast to the flavor palate of whiskey. The invigorating ginger flavor works well alongside oak and smoke flavors often found in whiskey.

It doesn’t get in the way of any spice, malt, or fruit notes in the whiskey, so you can still taste the quality of the spirit. This high level of clarity is why many whiskey aficionados will turn to ginger beer instead of cola when mixing spirits.

Which Whiskeys Work Well With Ginger Beer?

In most cases, top-shelf single malt Scotch whiskeys and rare bourbon whiskeys are beer enjoyed straight. These whiskeys are prized for their unique characteristics and flavor profiles, so adding a mixer won’t dramatically improve the quality of your drink.

A better option would a clean Irish whiskey, middle/bottom shelf bourbon whiskey, or blended grain whiskey. But as always, feel free to experiment to see how different whiskeys taste with different ginger beers. You might be surprised by how much ginger beer can transform the flavor of a whiskey.

Our Favourite Ways To Drink Whiskey and Ginger Beer

A cocktail made form whiskey and ginger beer

Ginger Beer and Whiskey

The simplest way to have ginger beer and whiskey is to combine the two with ice in a large tumbler. Personally, I think Irish whiskey and bourbon whiskey are the best two options for drinking this way. However, as mentioned earlier, feel free to experiment to find delicious combinations.

Ginger Beer and Whiskey Ingredients

  • 60 ml (2 oz) Irish whiskey or Bourbon whiskey
  • 120 ml (4 oz) ginger beer
  • ½ cup of ice
  • (optional) Lime

How To Make Ginger Beer and Whiskey

  1. Place the ice into a large tumbler
  2. Add the whiskey
  3. Add the ginger beer to the glass
  4. (optional) Garnish with lime
  5. Enjoy!

The Irish Mule

This is a re-interpretation of the classic “Moscow Mule” which was invented in the 1940s. It is an easy-to-make cocktail that is packed full of flavor. It’s a particularly good choice for St Patrick’s Day, but I enjoy having it all year-round. The best version of the Irish Mule comes from VinePair and incorporates some mint for extra flavor.

Irish Mule Ingredients

  • 60 ml (2 oz) Irish whiskey
  • 30 ml (1 oz) Lime juice (Half a lime)
  • 90 ml (3 oz) ginger beer
  • ½ cup of ice
  • Fresh mint sprig

How To Make An Irish Mule

  1. Place the ice into a large tumbler and pour in the whiskey
  2. Add the juice of half a lime
  3. Add the ginger beer to the glass
  4. Stir well and garnish with a fresh mint sprig

You can swap out the Irish whiskey for bourbon if you would like a sweeter drink. When you do so, the cocktail is called the Kentucky Mule or a Horsefeather.

Ginger Apple Cooler

This is another refreshing cocktail that combines apple whiskey, ginger beer, and maple syrup. Although it requires several ingredients it’s worth the effort. If the ingredients look too sweet for your palate, skip the maple syrup.

Ginger Apple Cooler Ingredients

  • 60 ml (2 oz) Apple Whiskey (like Bird Dog Apple Whiskey)
  • 60 ml (1 oz) Ginger Beer
  • 1 tsp lemon
  • Ice
  • (optional) 1 tsp Maple Syrup
  • (optional) Candied Ginger

How To Make A Ginger Apple Cooler

  1. Place the ice, apple whiskey, maple syrup, and lemon into a tumbler and shake vigorously
  2. Pour into a short glass
  3. Add ginger beer
  4. Stir gently and garnish with candied ginger

Sweet Stinger

This is a powerful cocktail that has savory, sweet, and bitter flavors. It uses rye whiskey for its spicy characteristics, but you can swap that out for Irish whiskey or bourbon if you find it too savory.

Sweet Stinger Ingredients

  • 60 ml (2 oz) Rye Whiskey
  • 60 ml (2 oz) Ginger Beer
  • 15 ml (0.5 oz) Lime juice
  • 15 ml (0.5 oz) Honey syrup (1 part honey, 1 part water)
  • 2 Dashes of bitters
  • Lime wedge for garnish

How To Make A Sweet Stinger

  1. Combine the honey syrup, lime juice, bitters, and whiskey in a shaker and combine
  2. Pour into a short glass
  3. Top with ginger beer
  4. Add ice and garnish with lime

Yotta Jinja

This is an interesting cocktail that uses a combination of Japanese whiskey, Saki, and ginger beer. The nutty, fruity aroma of the saki works beautifully with the whiskey’s oak and invigorating flavor of the ginger beer.

Yotta Jinja Ingredients

  • 60 ml (2 oz) Japanese whiskey
  • 15 ml (½ oz) Dry Sake
  • 180 ml (6 oz) Ginger Beer
  • 15 ml (0.5 oz) Lime juice
  • (Optional) 15 ml (0.5 oz) Sugar syrup
  • Lime wedge for garnish

How To Make A Yotta Jinja

  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the ginger beer in a shaker and combine
  2. Pour into a short glass
  3. Top with ginger beer
  4. Add ice and garnish with lime

As you can see, there are many ways to enjoy a ginger beer with whiskey.  There are many delicious and refreshing flavor combinations available, so find a high-quality ginger beer, pull out your cocktail shaker, and have some fun.