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Is Ginger Ale Vegan? Ingredients of Ginger Ale

Did you know ginger ale was first invented in the 1850s in Ireland? Since then, the sparkling, spicy refreshment has been a staple in every household. But the most important question is, does it have any animal ingredients?

Is ginger ale vegan? Generally speaking, ginger ale is a vegan-friendly drink. Ginger ale is carbonated water, ginger, sweetener, and preservatives. While most brands use high fructose corn syrup (which is vegan) to sweeten the soft drink, others use non-vegan ingredients such as sugar and honey.

But, with many brands in the market, there may be a few with hidden animal ingredients, namely sugar, natural flavors, and honey. So, you have to be cautious and do your own research before making the purchase. 

Is Ginger Ale Vegan Friendly?

Ginger ale has been around for more than a century. Though it has had some tune-ups in terms of ingredients, the taste has remained almost the same. But is it vegan?

You’d be happy to know that ginger ale is a vegan-friendly beverage. It doesn’t have any animal products whatsoever. However, it is not always so, especially when many brands manufacture ginger ale in the market.  

Few brands use sugar or honey as the sweetener, which is a gray area depending on how you perceive it.  

What is Ginger Ale?

Ginger Ale is a ginger-flavored carbonated beverage. People can consume it as it is or use it as a mixer in spirit-based drinks. 

Ginger Ale can be :

  • Golden style – a sweet and spicy taste with a strong ginger taste
  • Dry style – a  soft drink with a milder ginger flavor

The golden style was first created by Thomas Joseph Cantrell, an Irish apothecary, and surgeon.  This older style was sweeter to taste with a strong ginger flavor. 

On the other hand, the dry style is a Canadian creation by the chemist and pharmacist John J. McLaughlin. It was developed by adding flavor extracts to water. The player version was a flavorful substitute for club soda in the prohibition era in the US. The spiciness of ginger covered the illegal alcoholic spirits available. 

The golden style is not as prevalent nowadays, while their dry version is a staple in supermarkets and bars. 

What are Ginger Ale Ingredients?

Ginger ale is just a typical soda pop that tastes like ginger. Despite having ginger in its name, the beverage hardly has any ginger. The most common ingredients present in ginger ale include:

Common Ingredients in Ginger Ale

Depending on the brand, there may be little to no change in the ingredients. 

    Decaf green tea


    Milk thistle

    Dandelion root

    Ginger root

    Prickly pear

In short, it pays to check the ingredients to select the one that suits your needs.

Is Ginger Ale Made From Real Ginger?

Almost all brands have ginger extracts, but they won’t reveal how much (since it is somewhat of a trademark). 

According to Hottenstein, a former food scientist for Pepsi, the ginger content is so low that it is at the minimal detectable taste threshold levels. However, the beverage may contain flavor compounds that mimic the sensory properties of ginger. 

In saying that, few brands may have real, fresh ginger, but then again, it is not quantified. 

Controversial Ingredients

Even though ginger ale doesn’t have any animal-derived ingredients, it does have a few controversial ingredients. While they are vegan, it may be a deal-breaker to some, depending on how they perceive veganism. 

Sugar: The problem with sugar is not the ingredient itself but the manufacturing process, which uses bone char. Bone char is basically charred animal bones. Sugar processed this way is no longer vegan due to the use of animal products. 

Natural Flavor: Natural flavors may not always be derived from plant-based substances. Meat, poultry, and seafood are also significant contributors to natural flavor.  

Caramel Color: The manufacturing process of caramel color uses sugar as its base product. And if the refining process of sugar contains bone char, it may no longer be vegan. 

Honey: Honey, though a rare soda ingredient, is something to note. And since bees make honey, they are not strictly vegan. 

Is Ginger Ale Good for You?

Ginger ale is neither healthy nor good for you, even if it contains real ginger root, which it doesn’t. Any health benefits you may reap are canceled out by the presence of excessive amounts of sugar. Typical ginger ale can have up to 35 g of sugar, which is more than the daily value of sugar

Exceeding the daily value of sugar can lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, amongst others. 

However, ginger ale can help reduce nausea. They are also good alternative caffeinated beverages since they are caffeine free. 

Is Ginger Ale the Same as Ginger Beer?

Even though both are soft beverages and have ginger in their name, they are entirely different. Ginger beer is spicier with a pronounced ginger taste and robust flavor, while ginger ale is essentially a ginger-flavored soda. 

Common Questions Related to Ginger Ale

Is Ginger Ale Dairy and Gluten-Free?

Most ginger ales are dairy and gluten-free. For example, Canada Dry ginger ale is gluten-free with no risk of cross-contamination. 

Is Ginger Ale Alcoholic?

Ginger ale is a carbonated beverage flavored with ginger and hence alcohol-free. 

Is Ginger Ale Keto?

Traditional ginger ale is not keto-friendly due to the high amounts of sugar. Sugar can break ketosis and any health benefits associated with it. On the other hand, Diet ginger ale is keto-friendly due to zero sugar. However, it is better to avoid it altogether since it contains unhealthy ingredients such as sodium benzoate. 


The majority of ginger ale brands are vegan-friendly since they do not contain any animal-derived ingredients. However, this doesn’t ring true for all brands depending on how strict you are stricter with your diet. This is because sugar, natural flavor, and honey can be considered non-vegan.

Having said that, it pays to be cautious about the ingredients present in ginger ale.

Do your own research since there’s more to specific components than what meets the eye. 

While you are at it, you may want to check out our article on another beverage, Kool-Aid, a childhood favorite. 

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