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Moscow Mule

A chilled copper mug on a rustic wooden bar top, filled with a fizzy, ginger-lime cocktail. Ice cubes float on the surface, and the drink is garnished with a lime wedge and a sprig of fresh mint. The scene is warmly lit, with a cozy, inviting atmosphere, reflecting the refreshing and lively essence of a Moscow Mule cocktail. The background suggests a lively bar environment, with subtle hints of other bar essentials and a soft focus to keep the attention on the Moscow Mule.

The Moscow Mule is a delightful cocktail that blends the spicy kick of ginger beer with the sharp zest of lime juice, all smoothed out by the clear taste of vodka. It’s a refreshing drink, ideal for sipping on a warm afternoon or as a lively addition to your evening get-together. Often served in a distinctive copper mug, which not only adds a cool touch to your hand but also maintains the temperature of your concoction, the Moscow Mule has earned its place amongst classic cocktails with its simplicity and charm.

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Tasting Notes

When you take your first sip of a Moscow Mule, you’re greeted by a zesty punch of fresh lime juice which brightens up your palate. This refreshing tartness is a crucial component that balances well with the remainder of the ingredients.

  • Lime: It’s not just about the juice; the garnish of a lime wedge or wheel adds a fragrant, citrusy aroma that enhances your drinking experience even before you take a sip.

The ginger beer introduces a spicy effervescence and is a defining feature of the drink. It should provide a fiery warmth that contrasts with the lime’s coolness, a sensation often amplified if you opt for a particularly bold ginger beer like Fever-Tree. If a milder version of ginger spice is more to your taste, ginger ale can be used as a substitute, though traditionally it is not recommended.

  • Ginger Beer versus Ginger Ale: Ginger beer typically has a stronger flavor and more pronounced ginger spice than ginger ale.

Your choice of vodka, whether it’s a high-quality brand like Smirnoff or a hand-crafted one like Tito’s, acts as a smooth canvas letting the vivid flavors of lime juice and ginger beer shine through.

  • Vodka: Avoiding flavored vodkas keeps the drink harmonious and allows the natural essences of your mixers to take center stage.


To craft a delightful Moscow Mule, you’ll need a few key ingredients. They come together to create a refreshing and zesty cocktail that’s perfect for any occasion.

Vodka: Your choice of vodka is a significant component—go for a quality brand that fits your taste and budget. Usually, 2 ounces will do.

Ginger Beer: This is what gives the Moscow Mule its distinctive spicy kick and effervescence. Add about 4 to 6 ounces, depending on how strong or mild you prefer your drink.

Lime Juice: Fresh lime juice is best, contributing a tangy freshness to balance the sweetness. One-half ounce should be enough, which is roughly the juice of half a lime.

Garnish: A Moscow Mule isn’t complete without the garnish. A lime wedge or round slice can be perched on the rim of the mug, and if you enjoy a touch of greenery, a sprig of mint adds both aroma and a dash of color.

See also  9 Must-Try Vanilla Vodkas

Ice: Fill your copper mug with ice cubes to ensure your drink is chilled and refreshing.

Optional additions can enhance your Moscow Mule experience:

  • Mint: If you’re fond of herbs, a few mint leaves muddled at the bottom of the mug can introduce a fresh, cool undertone.
  • Simple Syrup: If you prefer a slight sweetness, a splash of simple syrup can round out the flavors.

Remember to use fresh ingredients where possible—this will elevate the taste of your Moscow Mule, transforming it from good to great!


To craft your own Moscow Mule cocktail, you’ll need to gather these ingredients:

  • 2 ounces of vodka (your choice of brand)
  • 1/2 ounce of fresh lime juice
  • 4 to 6 ounces of ginger beer
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Here’s a step-by-step guide to mixing your drink:

  1. Fill Your Mug: Take a copper mug and fill it to the brim with ice cubes. The copper mug is traditional for a Moscow Mule, as it keeps the drink colder longer, but if you don’t have one, any glass will do.
  2. Measure the Vodka: Pour 2 ounces of vodka over the ice.
  3. Add Lime Juice: Squeeze about 1/2 ounce of fresh lime juice into the mug. Fresh juice is preferable for a bright, fresh flavor.
  4. Top with Ginger Beer: Slowly fill the rest of the mug with ginger beer, anywhere from 4 to 6 ounces, depending on how strong or mild you like your drink.
  5. Stir Gently: Stir your ingredients together gently. The aim is to mix the drink without losing too much carbonation from the ginger beer.
  6. Garnish: Add a lime wedge to the rim of your mug for an extra zing and an attractive presentation.

Enjoy your refreshing Moscow Mule, ideally sipped from a chilled copper mug that enhances the experience with its characteristic chill and a gleaming touch.

Pro Tips

When crafting your Moscow Mule, the selection of specific ingredients and tools can make a world of difference. Here are some friendly pointers to ensure you get the most out of your cocktail experience.

Choosing Your Vodka:

  • Smirnoff Vodka is a classic choice for Moscow Mules. Its clean flavor lets the ginger beer shine and complements the lime juice well.
  • If you do prefer a different brand of vodka, go for one that matches your taste preferences but avoid overly flavored vodkas as they can overwhelm the balance of the drink.

Selecting Ginger Beer:

  • Fever-Tree and Q Ginger Beer are known for their quality and spicy kick, which are excellent in a Moscow Mule.
  • Fever-Tree’s version is slightly less sweet but carries a strong ginger flavor that gives the cocktail a fresh and fiery taste.
See also  White Russian


  • Traditionally, Moscow Mules are served in a copper mug known as a highball glass, which keeps the drink colder for longer.
Copper MugHighball Glass

Alcohol By Volume (ABV):

  • The ABV in a Moscow Mule typically ranges from 10% to 15%. It’s important to balance your components to avoid an overly strong or weak drink. A good rule of thumb is to use 2 oz of vodka to maintain the traditional taste and strength.

Which Liquor Brands to Choose

When crafting your Moscow Mule, the vodka you choose can significantly affect the taste. Here are some vodka brands recommended for a delightful Moscow Mule experience:

  • Smirnoff: This brand is a staple for many cocktails, including the Moscow Mule. It’s affordable and widely available.
  • Ketel One: A step up, Ketel One offers a smooth flavor that complements the ginger beer nicely.
  • Reyka: If you’re looking for a vodka with a clean taste, Reyka is an excellent option from Iceland, known for its purity.

Although vodka is traditional for a Moscow Mule, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can experiment with other spirits:

  • Bourbon: Swap in bourbon for a richer, deeper flavor known as a Kentucky Mule.
  • Tequila: Use tequila in place of vodka to create a Mexican Mule, bringing a crisp agave twist to the cocktail.
  • Rum: For a tropical take, add rum to concoct a refreshing Jamaican Mule.
  • Gin: Gin can introduce a botanical note to your Moscow Mule, referred to as a Gin-Gin Mule.
Spirit TypeRecommended BrandMule Variation Name
VodkaSmirnoffClassic Moscow Mule
BourbonYour favorite brandKentucky Mule
TequilaYour chosen premium tequilaMexican Mule
RumA well-aged rumJamaican Mule
GinA dry ginGin-Gin Mule

Remember, the quality of the spirit is key, so choose a brand that you enjoy on its own. With any of these options, you’ll craft a tantalizing twist on the classic Moscow Mule. Enjoy experimenting with these brands and find your perfect match!

Similar Cocktails

If you’re a fan of the classic Moscow Mule with its refreshing blend of vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a variety of mules and similar cocktails to explore. Each offers a unique twist on the beloved original.

  • Kentucky Mule: Swap out the vodka with bourbon for a Southern twist that’s bound to charm your taste buds with its rich and warming profile.
  • Jamaican Mule: Choose dark rum instead of vodka, and you’ve got yourself the tropical version that brings a bit more spice and a hint of molasses to the party.
  • Mexican Mule: Opt for tequila in place of vodka to add an edge, perfect if you’re in the mood for something with a little more kick.
  • Gin-Gin Mule: For a more botanical refreshment, gin is your go-to spirit, mingling with the ginger beer and adding a layer of complexity.
See also  Top 10 Drinks to Mix With Grey Goose

While not mules by name, the following cocktails share a kindred spirit with the iconic mule and may just tickle your fancy:

  • Dark and Stormy: Majorly similar to the Jamaican Mule, except you should strictly use Gosling’s Black Seal Rum.
  • Horsefeather: This one’s for whiskey enthusiasts; it combines whiskey with ginger beer and a dash of bitters.
  • Buck: A broader term for cocktails featuring ginger ale or ginger beer with citrus and spirits, it’s the family to which all these mules belong.

Whether you stick to the classic or venture out, each of these cocktails offers a refreshing experience with their own unique flavors. Enjoy your exploratory sips!


The tale of the Moscow Mule is a fascinating snippet of cocktail lore that begins in the early 1940s. Imagine you’re sitting in the Cock ‘n’ Bull pub in Los Angeles, where the owner Jack Morgan had a surplus of ginger beer. Now, meet John G. Martin, a man who had recently acquired a vodka brand struggling to find its market in America, a country dominated by gin and whiskey drinkers.

Their chance meeting led to an inspired mix of vodka, ginger beer, and the fresh zing of lime juice. The copper mug, now an iconic serving vessel for this drink, was meant to make the Moscow Mule stand out even more – an excellent marketing strategy and a sensory experience for you, adding a cool touch to the crispness of the drink.

  • 1941: Year widely accepted as the invention of the Moscow Mule.
  • 1967: Political tension leads to a decline in the cocktail’s popularity amid the Cold War.

Despite the ebb and flow in its popularity, by blending history and flavor, the Moscow Mule has firmly established its position in the canon of classic cocktails.

Save Recipe Form

moscow mule

Moscow Mule

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
4.5 from 2 votes
Course: Vodka
Keyword: Moscow Mule
Servings: 1
Author: Paul Kushner
This iconic cocktail comes in a copper mug that looks impressive, but it's easy to recreate at home with our recipe!


  • 2 oz premium vodka
  • 1/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 6 oz quality ginger beer
  • Lime and mint for garnish


  • Chill your copper mug in advance
  • Fill the copper mug with ice and pour in the vodka
  • Squeeze or pour in the lime juice
  • Top with ginger beer and garnish with lime and/or mint
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment and let us know how it was!
Moscow Mule
Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Follow them on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Google Guide and MuckRack.

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