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Ginger beer is a sparkling drink that is flavoured primarily with ginger and sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners. The drink originated in the UK in the 18th century, and was a mixture of ginger, sugar, and water, to which was added a yeast based starter called "ginger beer plant" and then left to ferment. Nowadays, however, the alcoholic version has been mostly superseded by a soft drink version carbonated with pressurized carbon dioxide. This version does not contain alcohol.
Traditionally, ginger beer was naturally cloudy, and as a result was sold in opaque stoneware bottles. Many manufacturers still echo this tradition by choosing to make their products cloudy, even although this is not necessary. The flavour of ginger beer is close to that of ginger ale, but with a considerably more pronounced ‘ginger’ flavour.
It is popular as a soft drink on its own, and is occasionally used as a mixer drink.