Moscow mule is a delicious and refreshing drink that is perfect for every occasion. The warm, spicy flavor of ginger works excellently with the acidic, slightly sweet taste of lime. But do you know that you can further improve your favorite beverage and enhance your drinking experience by using some Moscow mule bitters?
Bitters are alcohol-based infusions of botanicals, including fruits, spices, herbs, bark, leaves, and roots. They provide an additional layer of flavors (as the name suggests, bitterness) to balance out the primary tastes (sweet and sour) of a cocktail, giving it a more complex character.
Here are some of the best Moscow mule bitters that you can integrate into your drink to spice it up a little.
The most famous of all cocktail bitters available on the market, Angostura is a must-have for any bar, commercial or otherwise. With its name derived from the place where it all started, Angostura introduced its first product in 1824 not as a cocktail ingredient but as a cure to soldiers’ stomach ailments.
Known as the Angostura aromatic bitters today, Dr. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert formulated the original recipe by blending tropical herbs and spices, then infused the blend with a high-alcohol spirit. From this secret recipe, Angostura has developed various remarkable bitters such as orange and cocoa bitters.
Sample Recipe: Carrot Moscow Mule
Try this recipe and give your classic Moscow mule a healthy make-over. This brightly-colored cocktail is not only good for your body, but it is also yummy in its subtle way. The light sweetness of carrot juice subdues the spicy flavor of ginger, while the tartness of lime juice intensifies it.
- 1/3 cup Ginger beer
- ¼ cup Vodka
- ¼ cup Carrot juice (store-bought or fresh)
- 1 dash of Angostura Orange Bitters
- A squeeze of lime juice
- Carrot ribbon
- Lime zest
How to Make
- Fill a tall glass with ice.
- Put in the ginger beer (half), vodka, carrot juice, lime juice, and Angostura Orange Bitters.
- Pour the remaining ginger beer to fill the glass.
- To serve, garnish with carrot ribbons and twists of lime zest.
In 1830, a Creole apothecary in New Orleans created the Peychaud’s bitters. His name is Antoine Peychaud, and he used gentian root as the primary botanical for his blends.
Compared with other aromatic bitters, the Peychaud’s Aromatic Cocktail Bitters has a more robust anise flavor with a slight mint hint. It also offers unique tart yet fruity flavors with some vegetal notes and the sweetness of cherries.
Sample Recipe: Old-Fashioned Moscow Mule
This Moscow Mule recipe proves that Peychaud’s Aromatic Cocktail Bitters complements rye whiskey wonderfully. Enjoy the fusion of anise’s cooling sweet, licorice-like taste and the rye whiskey’s herbal and spicy flavors in one mouth-watering and thirst-quenching cocktail.
- 2 oz. Rye whiskey
- ½ oz. Simple syrup
- ¼ oz. Lime juice
- 6 oz. Ginger beer
- 2 dashes of Peychaud’s Aromatic Cocktail Bitters
- Crushed ice
- Orange wheel
How to Make
- In a tall pint glass filled with ice, put rye whiskey, simple syrup, lime juice, and two dashes of Peychaud’s Aromatic Cocktail Bitters.
- Stir to combine all the ingredients.
- Strain the mixture into a copper mug or cocktail glass filled with crushed ice.
- Add in the ginger beer and stir well.
- Garnish the cocktail with an orange wheel.
In the late 1990s, in an attempt to develop a better orange bitter, a team of cocktail experts created Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6 based on a recipe from a cocktail guide by Charles Baker. Its release was commercially successful and inevitably became a household name in the cocktail world.
This classic orange bitter combines orange zest, cinnamon, caraway, coriander, cinchona, clove, quassia, gentian, and cardamom, which gives it a complex profile that makes a perfect pairing with a wide array of spirits. This Moscow mule bitter is a bit spicier than most orange bitters you can buy on the market.
Sample Recipe: Moscow Mule-Mosa
As the name suggests, this recipe is a fusion of Moscow mule and mimosa. Enjoy the spiciness of ginger and the citrusy flavor of orange in one bubbly drink.
- 2 oz. Orange-flavored vodka
- ½ Fresh Orange, squeezed
- 2 oz. Ginger beer
- 2 oz. Champagne
- 2 dashes of Raegan’s Orange Bitters
- Fresh mint leaves
- 1 Orange wheel
How to Make
- In a copper mug filled with ice, pour in the orange-flavored vodka, orange juice, champagne, and two dashes of Raegan’s Orange Bitters.
- Gently stir to mix all the ingredients.
- Add in the ginger beer and gently stir.
- Garnish the cocktail with fresh mint leaves and an orange wheel.
Since the 1950s, the family-owned business, Fee Brothers, has been providing the cocktail industry with a variety of diverse bitters. There are various unusual flavors to explore, including grapefruit, celery, black walnut, plum, peach, and many more. They also have Old-Fashioned Aromatic Bitters comparable with Angostura’s aromatic bitters in taste and versatility.
Nowadays, the Fee Brothers produces mixes, brines, botanical waters, cordial syrups, and other cocktail essentials.
Sample Recipe: Black Apple Moscow Mule
This Moscow mule bitters recipe fuses the subtle sweetness of apple with the spiciness of ginger and tartness of lime, then splashes it up with the nutty flavor of black walnut bitters. Spice up your traditional Moscow mule with this exciting mix.
- 1 ½ oz. Vodka
- ¾ oz. Ginger syrup
- Half lime, juiced
- 6 oz. Club soda
- 2 dashes/drops of Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
- ½ cup Diced apple, plus some extra slices for garnishing
- Sprigs of mint
How to Make
- In a mixing tin or cocktail shaker, muddle the diced apple with the bitters and ginger syrup.
- Add the lime juice into the mixture, and shake the ingredients together.
- Pour in the vodka and shake again.
- Strain the mixture into a copper mug and add some crushed ice.
- Top it off with club soda.
- Garnish the cocktail with mint sprigs and extra apple slices.
Founded in Seattle, Scrappy’s is one of the first companies in the United States that offer handcrafted bitters. After immersing himself in herbology and extraction methods, Bartender Miles Thomas started making artisanal bitters in 2008. Since then, Scrappy’s has developed a line of simply-flavored bitters such as orange, grapefruit, chocolate, lavender, and cardamom.
For creating more intense cocktails, there are also unique variations to choose from, including Black Lemon that has a hint of spice and Orleans Bitters, which offers a strong anise flavor.
Sample Recipe: Lavender Moscow Mule
Another recipe you should try, this one uses lavender bitters to create a floral aroma and an undertone of mint in your classic Moscow Mule.
How to Make
- Combine vodka, lime juice, and three dashes of Scrappy’s Lavender Bitters in a copper mug or Collins glass.
- Put some ice into the glass.
- Stir gently.
- Pour in the ginger beer.
Another producer of craft bitters, The Bitter Truth, results from two German bartenders, Alexander Houck and Stephan Berg. The company is famous for recreating classic flavors—like aromatic, chocolate, peach, celery, and citrus fruits—and introducing new ones—such as Creole and Tonic bitters.
Sample Recipe: Cucumber Moscow Mule
This Moscow mule bitters recipe features the Fee Brothers Celery Bitters, adding vegetal notes to the refreshing cucumber-flavored Moscow Mule.
- 2 oz. Cucumber vodka
- ½ oz. Freshly squeezed lime juice
- 4 oz. Ginger beer
- 5-6 dashes of The Bitter Truth Celery Bitters
- 4 Cucumber half-moons and 3 thin slices (for garnish)
How to Make
- Muddle the cucumber and lime juice in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass.
- Add ice and pour in the cucumber vodka, ginger beer, and bitters.
- Stir to mix all the ingredients.
- Strain into a glass filled with ice.
- Top it off with the sliced cucumber for garnishing.
Another handcrafted bitters producer, the Bittercube, is well-known for its slow-crafted bitters made from real botanicals. These innovative products—including Bolivar, Cherry Black Vanilla, Jamaican No.1 and No. 2, Blackstrap bitters, and more—are perfect for different cocktail drinks.
Sample Recipe: Moscow Mule with Bittercube Bitters
This Moscow mule bitters recipe combines the classic cocktail’s gingery zing with the Jamaican No.1 Bitters’ citrus-forward flavor. And the result is an amazingly refreshing and delicious drink.
- 2 oz. Vodka
- 2 oz. Ginger beer
- 1 dash of Bittercube Jamaican No.1 Bitters
- ¾ oz. Fresh lime juice
- 1 oz. Simple syrup
- Candied ginger
How to Make
- Build your cocktail in a shaking tin by putting all the ingredients in it.
- Double strain the cocktail into a copper mug or cocktail glass.
- Add some ice.
- Garnish it with candied ginger.
If you think Moscow mules can’t get better, think again. Using bitters in your favorite cocktail can further enhance its aroma, taste, and even health benefits. Just a drop or two will do the trick. And with a broad spectrum of flavors, there is always the perfect Moscow mule bitter for your mix.
Which of these bitters would you like to try? Let us know in the comments. And if you found this article helpful, don’t forget to share it with your fellow Moscow mule lovers.