Low-Sugar Low-Calorie Kentucky Mule cocktail + the best light ginger beers

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Kentucky Mule, a tasty variation of a Moscow Mule, made with light ginger beer for a delicious cocktail with less sugar and less calories and no artificial sweeteners!

Mule cocktails like the Moscow Mule are all the rage right now, and for good reason. They are perfect for summer because they're crisp and refreshing. Yet, ginger beer uses some of the same spices popular during the holiday season, making mule cocktails the perfect year round cocktail!
There are numerous variations of a Moscow Mule. Like a Moscow Mule, an Irish Mule is also made with ginger beer and lime juice, but the shot of fun is whiskey instead of vodka. The first time I had an Irish mule was like love at first sip!
After having an Irish Mule at a restaurant, I just had to try to make one at home. So I went shopping for ginger beer, and I was shocked at the amount of sugar in most of them! I checked out the sugar content in almost 20 different brands. The average was around 35 grams of sugar per 12 oz. That's 8 teaspoons of sugar!

Recognizing that I could easily drink a couple of Mule cocktails on a Friday night, I wasn't crazy about the idea of a drink that contained that much sugar. Thankfully, by expanding my search to both ginger beers and ginger ales (ginger ales are more mild, let's just call the lot of them ginger brews), I was able to find a few options with less sugar. I compared five of the most affordable ones and narrowed it down to the two best tasting low-sugar ginger brews. Since I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners, I looked for low-sugar ginger brews with only natural ingredients. Here is how they finished:
  1. Reed's Extra Ginger Brew Light. This one has only 14 grams of sugar per 12 oz because it is sweetened with a combination of honey and stevia. It is sold at Natural Grocers for $4.59 per 4-pack. This one is very mild flavored. It has an enjoyable taste on its own, and it compliments bourbon beautifully.
  2. Veri Organic Ginger Ale Craft Soda. This one has 15 grams of sugar per 12 oz and is sweetened with a combo of cane sugar and stevia. It is also sold at Natural Grocers for $4.59 per 4-pack. One of the ingredients is lemon juice, and on it's own the lemon is more prominent than the ginger. But added to bourbon, the lemon in this one does something magical! It's also mild, like the Reed's, but the lemon adds a flavor that I really enjoy with bourbon.
  3. Fever-tree Ginger Beer. This one has 17 grams of pure fructose per 12 oz, which is less than ideal given the stress too much fructose can have on the liver (funny I gripe about "stress on the liver" in a post about an alcoholic beverage, huh?). It is sold at many stores, but if you are not mindful of the size of the bottles you are buying, it can be the most expensive (Amazon actually has the best price). It has the strongest ginger bite by far! My husband really enjoyed the bite to this one, but I preferred the Reed's and Veri.
  4. Zevia Ginger Ale. This one boasts zero grams of sugar per 12 oz because it is sweetened with a combination of erythritol, stevia and monk fruit. It is the least expensive and readily available at a variety of stores. Looking at the ingredients, it doesn't seem to have any actual ginger in it, and it shows in the flavor. It is very, very mild. It would be a nice zero calorie ginger ale on its own, but it doesn't do much when added to bourbon. It just sort of waters it down.
  5. Bruce Cost Ginger Ale 66. This one has 14 grams of sugar per 12 oz and is sweetened with monk sugar. It is sold at Whole Foods for $7.99 per 4-pack. It is unfiltered and has quite a bite from the ginger and spices. There is something funky about the flavor in comparison to the Fever-Tree though, both with and without bourbon, earning this one the honor of last place. 
Comparison of Fever-Tree Naturally Light Ginger Beer, Bruce Cost Ginger Beer 66, Veri Organic Low-Calorie Ginger Ale, Reeds Extra Ginger Brew Light, Zevia Ginger Ale

Tasting the ginger brews by themselves helped my husband and I get an idea of the flavors, but we had to know how they tasted with bourbon! So we selflessly sacrificed our sobriety to my taste test and poured some drinks to sip. In the end, after many sips and much discussion, we decided that the Zevia and Bruce Cost were our least favorite. My husband liked the spicy bite of the Fever-Tree the best, but I would probably rank them as such, with the first two being very close:
  1. Veri Organic Ginger Ale Craft Soda
  2. Reed's Extra Ginger Brew Light
  3. Fever-tree Ginger Beer
By now, you have probably heard me mention "bourbon" a few times, not whiskey. I thought I had whiskey at home the night I decided to make my first Irish Mule, but I didn't. I only had Jim Beam bourbon, so I used it. The bourbon makes this cocktail a Kentucky Mule (a name I didn't invent) instead of an Irish Mule, but I prefer this drink with bourbon rather than whiskey! I also think it's better without the lime juice that is typically used in mule cocktails.

In the end, by using the right ginger beer or ginger ale and a decent bourbon, you can easily make a delicious cocktail that is refreshing, affordable and low in sugar and calories.

The recipe is simple. Cheers!

Kentucky Mule made with the best low-sugar ginger brew for a cocktail with less calories and no artificial sweeteners!

Kentucky Mule Cocktail

- 1 shot bourbon
- 6 oz light ginger brew
- ice

Fill a cocktail glass about 2/3 full of ice. Add the shot of bourbon and ginger brew and give it a quick stir. Enjoy!

What are your thoughts on these ginger brews and on the cocktail? Let me know in the comments section below!

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