It’s cocktail week! Today, I’m sharing everything you need to know about Moscow mules. Moscow mules are delightfully fizzy drinks made with fiery ginger beer, vodka and fresh lime.
Moscow mules are refreshing on hot summer days, sure, but they’re also holiday-appropriate thanks to the strong ginger flavor. They strike that elusive balance between spicy, sweet and strong, and I’d sip one any day.
Holiday bonus: Moscow mules are super easy to make! You’ll need just three basic ingredients (ginger beer, vodka and lime). You’ll find exact measurements in the recipe provided below.
The ginger beer component makes the biggest difference between a so-so and fantastic Moscow mule. So, I grabbed all the ginger beers I could find at the store and tried them at home with Mara.
Moscow Mule Ingredient Tips
The best ginger beer for Moscow mules is Fever-Tree brand ginger beer. Mara said, “It tastes the most like a Moscow mule,” and I wholeheartedly agreed. Fever-Tree’s ginger beer has the most clear and pronounced fresh ginger flavor, thanks to a blend of three gingers from Nigeria, Cochin and the Ivory Coast.
I found my Fever-Tree at Natural Grocers, but I’ve also seen it at Whole Foods (I think), World Market and Amazon (affiliate link). If you’re curious, you’ll find our ginger beer tasting notes below.
I recommend Tito’s brand vodka for Moscow mules. It’s affordable, high quality and made not-so-far-away in Austin, Texas. The ginger beer dominates the other flavors so much that any decent vodka on your shelf will do, really.
Be sure to squeeze your lime juice from fresh limes. Don’t use the stale bottled stuff (for anything, ever).
Copper Mug Notes
Moscow mules are typically served in copper mugs. Copper is an excellent conductor, meaning that cold or heat spreads rapidly through the material. While the copper material of your mug doesn’t actually make the drink colder, it makes it seem colder than it would if you were drinking it out of a regular glass or mug.
If you don’t have copper mugs at home, you can get by with a regular cocktail glass. If you’re shopping for copper mugs, be sure to buy food-safe mugs that are not copper on the inside. Copper leaches into acidic foods and poses health risks, yikes!
Moscow Mule History
Rumor has it that the Moscow mule is a product of American capitalism. Three business owners with a surplus of vodka, ginger beer and copper mugs schemed up a plan to get rid of their excess products, and a delicious cocktail was born.
The details are murky, but Moscow mules actually helped popularize vodka in the 1940s when it was new to the United States.
Easy Variations on Moscow Mules
- Kentucky Mule or Horsefeather: Use bourbon/whiskey instead of vodka.
- Gin-Gin Mule: Use gin instead of vodka.
- Mexican Mule: Use tequila instead of vodka.
- Jamaican Mule or Cuban Mule: Use rum instead of vodka.
- Dark ‘n Stormy: Use Gosling’s spiced rum instead of vodka.
Ginger Beer Tasting Notes (ranked from best to worst)
A couple of ginger ales snuck in, but you definitely need intensely-flavored ginger beer for a great Moscow mule!
- Fever-Tree Premium Ginger Beer: This ginger beer offers the most straightforward ginger flavor. It burns so good!
- Bottoms Up Ginger Beer: This ginger beer doesn’t seem to be as carbonated as the rest. It doesn’t offer as much ginger flavor as Fever-Tree, but I like it.
- Fentiman’s Ginger Beer: This ginger beer has a lot of bite. It’s yeasty, with a kombucha-like fermented flavor that distracts from the ginger.
- Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew: This ginger beer has more of a bite than ginger ale, but it’s still mostly clear and doesn’t pack enough ginger punch.
Moscow Mule Cocktail
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink
- Category: Cocktail
- Cuisine: American
Learn how to make the best Moscow Mule cocktail! They are so easy to make. Recipe yields 1 cocktail.
- 2 ounces vodka (I recommend Tito’s brand)
- ½ ounce fresh lime juice (about ½ medium lime)
- 4 ounces ginger beer (I recommend Fever-Tree brand)
- Lime wedge, for garnish
- Fill a copper mug or similarly sized glass with ice. Pour in the vodka and lime juice. Fill the glass with ginger beer and gently swirl it with a spoon once to mix.
- Garnish with a lime wedge, and enjoy!
Change it up: Garnish your Moscow Mule with a sprig of fresh mint for a drink reminiscent of a mint julep.