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The Moscow Mule is a refreshing drink that can be served on hot summer nights. Served in a copper mug meant to keep the drink chilled for longer.
It is one of the more popular vodka cocktails typically made with vodka, lemon juice, ginger beer and simple syrup. However, the syrup is not always needed since the ginger beer is usually sweet, depending on the brand, that is. Sometimes, spicy ginger beer is added instead of the regular ginger beer. In that case, simple syrup is used to even out the spiciness of the spicy ginger beer and the vodka.
As it is, Moscow Mule packs a lot of calories - a total of 180 calories for a 150-ml serving. For a drink as delicious and refreshing as the Moscow Mule, 1 serving is never enough. However, you can still enjoy Moscow Mule without the guilt by cutting down the calories.
How Many Calories?
Let us take a breakdown of this standard recipe to find out how many calories are in a Moscow mule:
- 1.5 oz. Vodka - 98 calories
- 3 oz. Ginger Beer - 36 calories
- ¼ oz. lime juice - 2 calories
- 1 tsp. Simple syrup - 48 calories
The computation of the calories in vodka is based on the classic 40% ABV (80 proof) vodka, like the Tito’s, Smirnoff, Hangar 1, Grey Goose, Absolut and Luksusowa. If they have the same ABV, it has the same calorie count.
The ginger beer is a different story, though. Most ginger beers range from 120 to 150 calories per 12-oz can. To use the 3 oz of Gosling’s Ginger Beer amounts to 45 calories while Fever-Tree GB has 40 calories.
Alternative Ways to Enjoy
If you want to enjoy your favorite Moscow Mule, you can still do so. The secret is swapping some ingredients to lower the calorie content or better yet, burn it off the next day.
Lower the amount of alcohol
The vodka packs the bulk of the alcohol in the Moscow Mule so cutting the alcohol in half also cuts the calories in half. There are also other spirits that you can use for the Moscow Mule but most spirits have more calories than vodka so it remains to be your best choice if you’re cutting on calories.
Swap for a non-alcoholic alternative
Most non-alcoholic alternatives like Seedlip have very low to zero calories so is a good alternative for vodka, especially for non-drinkers and those who want to cut off on the calorie intake.
Omit the syrup
Dropping the syrup effectively cuts the calories as one teaspoon of simple syrup is 48 calories. That’s double if you use rich syrup called for other recipes. Ginger beer is sweet so there is not really a need to add the syrup.
Use light ginger beer or swap it with ginger ale
Diet Ginger Beers ranges from 25-80 calories per 12-oz can. So if you can half the vodka and use diet ginger beer, that effectively cuts the calories to just 60-80 calories per 150-ml serving. Ginger ales on the other hand, are usually at 50 to 70 calories per 200ml can or 22 to 30 calories per 3oz measure for the Moscow Mule.
Burn those calories
A fifteen-minute Tabata burns 180-200 calories. A 30-minute jog can burn about 200 calories while 30 minutes on a treadmill at 4.5mph burns 150 calories.
Use Ginger Juice
Freshly extracted ginger juice diluted in water and sweetened with zero calorie sweetener is a good substitute. One thumb-sized ginger is 15 grams and can be used in one serving of reduced calorie Moscow Mule cocktail. It has zero calories.
Make a Keto Moscow Mule
The Keto diet follows a very strict, very low-carb, high-fat diet that induces the body into ketosis, a state that causes the increase of ketones resulting from reduced blood sugar and insulin levels. Ketones are acids produced in the liver from the fat and sent into the bloodstream that the body uses as food.
Keto Moscow Mule Recipe
This Keto Moscow Mule recipe has only 110 calories. A 70-calorie cut from the Moscow Mule is a good start.
- ½ oz lime juice
- 1 ½ oz vodka
- 4 oz diet ginger beer
Steps to make
- Chill the copper mug.
- Add lime juice and vodka into a glass. Stir.
- Strain into the chilled copper mug.
- Top with ginger vodka and serve garnished with lemon wedges, rind removed.
Why Use a Copper Mug?
A copper mug is the classic vessel to use in the Moscow Mule. In fact, the copper mug was made especially for serving the Moscow Mule.
The copper mug is especially important for the Moscow Mule as it needs to be chilled without being watered down. Copper mugs keep drinks chilled longer because of the high conductivity of the copper.
Calories from drinks are usually known as empty calories because they pile up but do not keep you satiated as food does. So while you enjoy your favorite drinks, it is best to be knowledgeable of its calorie count so you can keep your servings in check.
However, if you are not watching your weight (read: you have the ideal weight) or are not on a strict low sugar diet, you can check these other Moscow Mule recipes. Here’s a few recipes and tips for your Moscow Mule party. You might also want to check Gin Gin Mule which uses gin instead of the standard vodka.