Moscow Mule Cocktail Drink

Moscow Mule

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

Ready to try a Moscow Mule? This classic recipe mixes simple ingredients creating an exciting and tasty cocktail.

Moscow Mule Cocktail Recipe

Kick back with this best Moscow Mule recipe! This mule cocktail is your go-to for a laid-back evening, made with Vodka, ginger beer, and a splash of lime juice.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

173 kl

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 4 oz ginger beer
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Lime wedge or slice, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Copper Mug or Highball Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill your copper mug or highball glass with ice cubes.
  • Add Vodka: Pour 2 oz Vodka over the ice.
  • Add Lime Juice: Squeeze and measure ½ oz lime juice into the mug.
  • Add Ginger Beer: Top the mixture with 4 oz ginger beer.
  • Stir Gently: Use a bar spoon to stir the ingredients gently.
  • Garnish: Add a lime wedge or slice for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Vodka: I've used Gin or even white rum if I'm out of Vodka. Gin gives it a botanical kick, while rum adds sweetness.
  • Ginger Beer: In desperate times, I've used ginger ale. It's sweeter and less spicy, but it does the trick. A splash of soda water can also tone down the sweetness.
  • Lime Juice: In a pinch, lemon juice or even a citrusy soda like Sprite can substitute lime juice, but the authentic tangy kick will be missing.

Making a Pitcher of Moscow Mule:

  • Scale: To serve 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8 (16 oz of Vodka, 32 oz of ginger beer, and 4 oz of lime juice).
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine the Vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. Stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled copper mugs or highball glasses, garnish with a lime wedge or slice, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Vodka Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic vodka substitute or simple soda water for the Vodka.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes and follow the original steps to enjoy a non-alcoholic Moscow Mule.

Making it Vegan:

  • Ginger Beer: Ensure your ginger beer is vegan-friendly. Some brands use animal products for sweetening or clarifying the beverage. Check the label to be sure.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
173
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.01
g
0
%
Sodium
 
9
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
11
g
4
%
Fiber
 
0.1
g
0
%
Sugar
 
10
g
11
%
Potassium
 
18
mg
1
%
Protein
 
0.1
g
0
%
Vitamin A
 
7
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
4
mg
5
%
Calcium
 
5
mg
1
%
Iron
 
0.2
mg
1
%

 

Moscow Mule Cocktail Drink

Moscow Mule Cocktail Recipe

Jump to Video
Kick back with this best Moscow Mule recipe! This mule cocktail is your go-to for a laid-back evening, made with Vodka, ginger beer, and a splash of lime juice.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 173

Ingredients
 

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 4 oz ginger beer
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Lime wedge or slice - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Copper Mug or Highball Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill your copper mug or highball glass with ice cubes.
  • Add Vodka: Pour 2 oz Vodka over the ice.
  • Add Lime Juice: Squeeze and measure ½ oz lime juice into the mug.
  • Add Ginger Beer: Top the mixture with 4 oz ginger beer.
  • Stir Gently: Use a bar spoon to stir the ingredients gently.
  • Garnish: Add a lime wedge or slice for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Vodka: I've used Gin or even white rum if I'm out of Vodka. Gin gives it a botanical kick, while rum adds sweetness.
  • Ginger Beer: In desperate times, I've used ginger ale. It's sweeter and less spicy, but it does the trick. A splash of soda water can also tone down the sweetness.
  • Lime Juice: In a pinch, lemon juice or even a citrusy soda like Sprite can substitute lime juice, but the authentic tangy kick will be missing.

Making a Pitcher of Moscow Mule:

  • Scale: To serve 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8 (16 oz of Vodka, 32 oz of ginger beer, and 4 oz of lime juice).
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine the Vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. Stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled copper mugs or highball glasses, garnish with a lime wedge or slice, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Vodka Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic vodka substitute or simple soda water for the Vodka.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes and follow the original steps to enjoy a non-alcoholic Moscow Mule.

Making it Vegan:

  • Ginger Beer: Ensure your ginger beer is vegan-friendly. Some brands use animal products for sweetening or clarifying the beverage. Check the label to be sure.

What is a Moscow Mule?

A Moscow Mule is a vodka-based cocktail combining ginger beer and lime juice. Despite its Russian-sounding name, the drink originated in the United States during the mid-20th century as a marketing ploy to sell more Vodka and ginger beer. Served in a distinctive copper mug, the Moscow Mule has an iconic look that’s hard to miss. You don’t need to be a bartender to appreciate this drink; its straightforward ingredients and vibrant flavors make it accessible and beloved by many, it is infact listed as a official IBA cocktail together with other timeless classics.

A side shot of a Moscow Mule cocktail in a highball glass on a table with two line wedge and 2 pieces of ginger in front and a brown wooden bowl on the background.

What is a Moscow Mule made of – The ingredients

The recipe for a Moscow Mule has the following ingredients:

  • Vodka: Provides the alcoholic base, giving the cocktail its kick.
  • Ginger Beer: Adds fizziness and a spicy, aromatic depth to the drink.
  • Lime Juice: Offers a citrusy tang that brightens the flavors.
  • Ice Cubes: Keep the cocktail chilled for optimal refreshment.
  • Lime Wedge or Slice: Serves as a garnish, adding visual appeal and a touch of extra citrus.

Vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice laid out on a white bar table

How do you make a Moscow Mule?

Make a tasty Moscow Mule by following our simple steps:

1
<p>Fill your copper mug or highball glass with ice cubes to chill the drink and keep it refreshing.</p>

Fill your copper mug or highball glass with ice cubes to chill the drink and keep it refreshing.

2
<p>Pour 2 oz of Vodka over the ice, setting the alcoholic base for your cocktail.</p>

Pour 2 oz of Vodka over the ice, setting the alcoholic base for your cocktail.

3
<p>Squeeze and measure about 1/2 oz of fresh lime juice into the mug to introduce a citrusy tang.</p>

Squeeze and measure about 1/2 oz of fresh lime juice into the mug to introduce a citrusy tang.

4
<p>Top off your mixture with approximately 4 oz of ginger beer, which adds a spicy kick and effervescence to the drink.</p>

Top off your mixture with approximately 4 oz of ginger beer, which adds a spicy kick and effervescence to the drink.

5
<p>Use a bar spoon to gently stir the ingredients, ensuring a well-mixed cocktail.</p>

Use a bar spoon to gently stir the ingredients, ensuring a well-mixed cocktail.

6
<p>Garnish your drink with a lime wedge or slice, enhancing both the visual appeal and flavor of your drink.</p>

Garnish your drink with a lime wedge or slice, enhancing both the visual appeal and flavor of your drink.

7
<p>Enjoy your Moscow Mule!</p>

Enjoy your Moscow Mule!

Why is a Moscow Mule always served in copper mugs?

The mule mug is not just for looks—there’s a reason for it. First, copper is excellent at retaining cold, so your drink stays chilled longer. Nobody wants a lukewarm cocktail. Second, the metal interacts with the Vodka, lime, and ginger beer, amplifying the flavors and aromas. So, not only does the copper mug keep your Moscow Mule cool, but it also makes it taste better. Consider it the secret ingredient you never knew you needed.

What’s the best Vodka for a Moscow Mule

The Vodka you choose can make or break the experience. You want something smooth and versatile that complements the zesty lime and spicy ginger beer. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is popular because of its clean taste and affordability. Grey Goose is another solid option for splurging a little, known for its smooth finish. But if you want to keep it authentic, consider using Russian standards; it’s a quality vodka from Russia. However, my personal recommendation? Go with Tito’s. It’s American-made and easy on the wallet.

Best Ginger Beer

Choosing the right ginger beer is crucial for nailing that best Moscow Mule cocktail. You want something with a kick but not too sweet, a brew that can hold its own against Vodka and lime. Fever-Tree is a go-to for many because of its natural ingredients and balanced flavor. Bundaberg is another favorite, especially if you like ginger beer on the sweeter side. But pay attention to smaller brands like Q Ginger Beer, which offers a spicy, more complex profile. If I had to pick one? I’d go with Fever-Tree. It’s versatile widely available, and its zingy flavor plays well with the other ingredients.

What about homemade Ginger Beer?

Sure, store-bought ginger beer is convenient, but have you ever tried making your own? It’s a game-changer. Homemade ginger beer lets you control spice, sweetness, and fizz. Plus, it’s simpler than you might think. For fermentation, you only need fresh ginger, sugar, lemon juice, and a little yeast. In a couple of days, ginger beer will be tailored to your taste buds. It’s perfect for Moscow Mules because you can tweak the flavor until it’s perfect. Trust me, you might never return to the bottled stuff once you go homemade.

A Moscow Mule cocktail, shot from above, in a highball glass on a grey-beige table surrounded by two lemon wedges and a piece of ginger

What’s a Moscow Mule with Gin? (The London Mule)

You’re inviting more complexity to the party by using Gin instead of Vodka. The herbal and floral notes from the Gin turn the drink into something that resembles a spicier, zestier Gin and tonic. It’s a match that plays exceptionally well with ginger beer and lime, letting each ingredient shine while creating something new. If you’re going this route, consider a gin with a robust botanical profile, like Beefeater or Tanqueray. This cocktail is called London Mule.

What’s a Moscow Mule with Whiskey? (The Kentucky Mule)

Using whiskey, especially bourbon, adds a layer of warmth and depth to the cocktail. The caramel and vanilla notes in the bourbon vibe well with the spiciness of the ginger beer, making the drink richer and more nuanced. If you’re up for the swap, a balanced, easygoing bourbon like Buffalo Trace or Elijah Craig could hit the spot. You’re not just tweaking; you’re opening the door to a new experience. Give it a shot—literally.

Variations

Looking for new versions? Here are several of our top picks:

  • Kentucky Mule: Bourbon replaces vodka in this version, bringing a warm, rich depth that contrasts beautifully with the bright, spicy ginger. The addition of bourbon adds a cozy complexity, making it a perfect choice for cooler evenings.
  • Mexican Mule: Tequila is used instead of vodka, introducing an earthy, slightly smoky undertone that pairs wonderfully with the ginger’s heat.
  • Gin-Gin Mule: Gin adds a botanical twist to this drink, enhancing its refreshing nature. The gin’s herbal notes create a uniquely invigorating sip.
  • Watermelon Mule: Fresh watermelon juice is incorporated, offering a sweet, summery flair that’s both delightful and thirst-quenching.
  • Spicy Mule: This version features a dash of spicy jalapeño or hot sauce, creating an exciting, fiery kick that’s sure to wake up your taste buds.
  • Tropical Mule: A mix of tropical fruit juices like pineapple or mango is included, transporting you to a beachside paradise with each sip. The vacation vibe of this drink is particularly appealing, making it like a sunny holiday in a glass.
  • Apple Cider Mule: Apple cider is blended in for a fruity, autumnal twist that’s both tart and sweet, perfect for fall gatherings.
  • Pomegranate Mule: Pomegranate juice is added, lending a tart, antioxidant-rich zing that complements the ginger’s spiciness.
  • Blackberry Mule: Muddled blackberries are mixed in, adding a fruity, slightly tart dimension, creating a visually stunning and deliciously rich flavor profile.
  • Coffee Mule: Coffee or espresso is combined in this version, offering a caffeinated, robust twist that’s intriguing and perfect for coffee lovers.
  • Mango Mule: Sweet mango juice is featured, bringing a tropical, juicy sweetness that pairs perfectly with the spicy ginger.
  • Lavender Mule: Lavender is infused, adding a floral, aromatic quality that’s soothing and elegant.
  • Cherry Lime Mule: Cherry juice and extra lime are included, offering a tart, zesty, and fruity combination that’s both refreshing and flavorful.
  • Coconut Mule: Coconut water or cream is used, giving a creamy, tropical twist that’s both hydrating and exotic.

A side shot of a Moscow Mule cocktail in a highball glass on a grey-beige table with lemon wedges and ginger pieces on the side, and a brown wooden bowl on the background

History and Origin

The Moscow Mule cocktail has a fascinating history that traces back to the United States in the 1940s. Contrary to its name, the drink doesn’t hail from Russia. Instead, John G. Martin, an executive at a spirits and food distributor, and Jack Morgan, the owner of the Cock ‘n’ Bull Tavern in Los Angeles, created it as a marketing strategy. Martin had recently acquired the Smirnoff vodka brand and was looking for ways to popularize Vodka, which was not widely consumed in the U.S. then. Meanwhile, Morgan wanted to move a surplus of homemade ginger beer off the shelves.

The two joined forces and mixed Vodka with ginger beer and lime juice, serving the concoction in a distinctive copper mug to make it stand out. The copper mug became an iconic part of the experience, adding to its allure and marketability.

Their marketing efforts paid off. The Moscow Mule helped propel Vodka into popularity in the United States, making it the go-to spirit for a range of cocktails. The drink became a sensation, especially in Hollywood, and its popularity continues today.

 

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FAQ

How many calories are in a Moscow Mule?
A standard Moscow Mule typically contains 150-200 calories, depending on the ingredients used.
How strong is a Moscow Mule in terms of ABV and proof?
The Moscow Mule generally has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 15-20%, translating to a proof range of 30-40.
What type of alcohol is used in a Moscow Mule?
Vodka is the primary alcohol in a Moscow Mule.
In what type of glass is a Moscow Mule typically served?
The drink is traditionally served in a copper mug.
What does a Moscow Mule taste like?
The Moscow Mule offers a refreshing mix of spicy ginger beer, tangy lime juice, and smooth Vodka.
Who invented the Moscow Mule?
John G. Martin and Jack Morgan co-created the Moscow Mule in Los Angeles during the 1940s.
Why is it called a Moscow Mule?
The name likely comes from the use of Russian Vodka ("Moscow") and "Mule," an old term for cocktails made with ginger beer.

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