20 Best Moscow Mule Variations & Recipes You Must Try!

Moscow Mule – two words that in any language mean a great time. If you’ve gone out to any bar with a cocktail menu worth its salt, bitter, and sour mix, you’ve run into the Moscow Mule. And not without reason, the head-on collision of vodka and ginger beer is a magic akin to alchemy. No doubt the drink and its associated copper mug seem ubiquitous, but there are so many ways you can spice up this combo.

The basic Moscow Mule can seem simple or timeworn, but this drink is anything but boring. There are dozens of easy variations that will make this classic seem brand-new in just a few seconds. And none of them are much harder than the original recipe itself. Vodka, ginger beer, lime, enjoy!

Not Russian, and No Mule

So, what heavenly spirit gifted us this sweet and satisfying cocktail? As with most good things in life, an air of mystery hangs around the drink’s origins. Cocktail historians (Yes, your dream job really exists!) seem to disagree over the exact details of the Moscow Mule’s story. Depending on who you believe it all began in either New York City or Los Angeles.

According to adamant east coasters, the story goes like this. The year is 1941. The players are a vodka distributor, a ginger beer distributor, and a mysterious 3rd party. The setting is the Chatham Hotel, in New York’s Little Moscow district, hence the name. At the time, ginger beer and vodka were both unpopular in the bar scene. The two distributors wondered if they could revitalize their product sales. They combined their products and, after a bit of experimentation, the Moscow Mule was born!

For those of you who feel "west coast is best coast", there's a flip-side to this story. The western version goes that a bartender at the Cock ‘n’ Bull in LA dreamt up the cocktail trying to offload a couple unpopular ingredients. The vodka-and-ginger-beer combo he developed went into the unused copper glasses they had. The drink was a hit, and has stayed popular until today.

The Moscow Mule has become one of the trendiest and most important drinks in a bartender’s repertoire, and for good reason. The cool, refreshing taste, combined with the sensations of the copper mug, make it the perfect drink to loosen up a warm summer day. The versatile cocktail is traditionally made with two parts vodka, five parts ginger beer, and a splash of fresh lime juice. As is the case with many popular drinks, different renditions have emerged, many of them arguably superior to the original recipe.

So, break out your copper mugs, find a ginger beer with a nice kick and try out these variations of the Moscow Mule.

Whether the origins are east coast, west coast or somewhere in between is up to you. What matters is that now, over 70 years later, the drink is a staple in bars and homes across the country. And the recipe is so simple, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have one right now!

1. Classic Moscow Mule Recipe

Ingredients

Instructions to make 

  1. Squeeze lime juice into a fresh chilled glass with ice (preferably a Moscow Mule pure copper mug, though a 10 - 11 oz highball glass will also work)
  2. Pour in Tito’s Handmade Vodka
  3. Fill the rest of the glass with Fever Tree Ginger Beer
  4. Garnish with a lime wheel

 

    Classic Moscow Mule Recipe

    2. Adding Color to Your Mule

    The best part of classic cocktails is the endless opportunities for variation. You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but you can certainly keep an old recipe from becoming old hat! And with such a beautiful, well-balanced base, the Moscow Mule is primed for bolder flavors. Next time you’ve got friends over, wow them with your own craft cocktail flair!

    Adding Color to Your Moscow Mule

    3. Kicking Mule (Jalapeño Moscow Mule Variation)

    There’s no better way to spice up a Moscow Mule recipe than with a little bit of spice. The jalapeño mule is great to beat the heat or bring a bit of tropical warmth to your midwinter hideaway. This variation adds the perfect hot-cool combination of mint and jalapeño to amplify the refreshing qualities of the original.

    Ingredients

    Instructions to make

    1. Using a muddler, smash lime juice, fresh mint, and jalapeño slices in the bottom of a mixing glass
    2. Add vodka
    3. Add ice and shake well
    4. Strain the mixture juice into your chilled copper mug filled with ice
    5. Pour ginger beer over the vodka mixture
    6. Garnish with a lime wedge, jalapeño slice, and sprig of mint; or any combination of the three.

    4. Straw-scow Mule (Strawberry Moscow Mule Recipe)

    Straw-scow Mule (Strawberry Moscow Mule Recipe)

    As a kid, the best part of summer was going out to pick-your-own strawberry patches with my family. We’d cart home boxes of the sweetest strawberries you could imagine. Now that I’m an adult, I like to mix this joyful summertime nostalgia with the best perk of being an adult: alcohol. Sweet strawberries set off the spiciness of the ginger beer which can be amplified with (if you dare) a sprinkle of black pepper.

    Straw-scow Mule

    Ingredients

    Instructions to make

    1. Using a muddler, smash the strawberry slices with lime juice in a shaker tin
    2. Add vodka
    3. Add ice and shake well
    4. Strain mixture into your chilled copper mug filled with ice
    5. Pour ginger beer over vodka mixture
    6. Garnish with a strawberry
    7. If you want to add a complex, grown-up touch, finish the drink off with a couple cranks of fresh black pepper. This adds a great, deep flavor that brings out the light sweetness of strawberries.

    5. Moscow Water-Mule-on (Watermelon Mule Recipe)

    Moscow Water-Mule-on (Watermelon Mule Recipe)

    This drink is so pretty in pink it might make Elle Woods jealous. It’s bright and festive. It’s refreshing. And to top it off, all that watermelon means it’s hydrating, so have as many as you want! (Or at least that’s what I tell myself.) This variation really amps up the already cool, refreshing nature of the classic Mule.

    Ingredients

    Instructions to make

    1. Muddle watermelon chunks and lime juice in a shaker tin
    2. Add vodka
    3. Add ice and shake well
    4. Strain into a pure copper mug filled with ice
    5. Pour ginger beer over vodka mixture until full
    6. Garnish with a mint sprig and watermelon slice

    6. Moscow Blue (Blueberry Mule Variation)

    Moscow Blue (Blueberry Mule Variation)

    Bright-colored drinks lend themselves to great party themes. This cocktail’s deep blue color makes it perfect for a 4th of July party, a nautical theme, or your Smurf fan-club. And bold colors mean bold flavors. The blueberry shrub is bright and tangy to lift up the hot-and-sweet style of the classic Moscow Mule.

    Ingredients

    For the Blueberry shrub:

    • ½ cup water
    • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1 cup blueberries (plus extras for garnish)
    • ¼ cup honey, agave, or simple syrup
    • Optional: ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger (If you like the extra ginger kick along with the ginger beer!)

    Instructions to make

    1. Make your shrub a couple days ahead of time: Place all the ingredients for the shrub in a blender and blend until fully liquefied. Add contents to a glass jar and allow to rest in the fridge for 1-2 days so that the vinegar flavor mellows a bit. Strain into a new glass jar for storage up to 4 months.
    2. Combine vodka and blueberry shrub in a cocktail shaker
    3. Add ice and shake well
    4. Strain over ice in a copper-built Mug
    5. Pour ginger beer over the mixture in mug until full
    6. Garnish with blueberries and a lime wheel (On a cocktail skewer looks great!)

     7. Georgia Mule (Peach and Ginger)

    Georgia Mule (Peach and Ginger)

    The reason ginger beer works so well for the Moscow Mule is that it has a nice fiery kick you just can’t get with ginger ale. But sometimes even ginger beer isn’t hot enough. When you find yourself longing for a southern-style combo of heat and sweet, this peach and ginger-enhanced Moscow Mule is perfect.

    Ingredients

    For the drink:

    For the ginger-peach puree:

    • 2-3 large ripe peaches (with thin slices for garnish reserved) pitted and cut in half.
    • 1 one-inch piece of fresh ginger (skin removed)
    • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
    • ¼ cup water
    • 2 tbsp honey (more to taste if peaches are tart) 

    Instructions to make

    1. Make the peach puree: Add all ingredients to your blender and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust flavors as needed (ginger for more heat, peaches and honey for more sweet, lemon juice for more more sour). Strain well using a fine strainer and discard all solids.
    2. Add the ginger-peach puree and vodka into a cocktail shaker filled with ice & shake well
    3. Strain the ginger-vodka mixture into a copper cup or mug filled with ice
    4. Pour ginger beer over the vodka mixture until glass is full
    5. Garnish with thin peach slices and candied ginger.

    8. Christmas Donkey (Cranberry Mule)

    Let this year be the end of heavy eggnog drinks and mulled wine’s tyrannical reign over your office holiday party. For the holiday traditionalists among us, there's a middle ground so good it hardly feels like a compromise. Cranberry juice, rosemary and ginger make a holiday spice that is more seasonally appropriate than you'd expect.

    Christmas Donkey

    Ingredients 

    Instructions to make

    1. Muddle 1 sprig of rosemary w/ cranberry juice in cocktail shaker
    2. Add vodka and ice and shake well
    3. Strain the cranberry-vodka mixture over ice into a copper mule mug
    4. Pour ginger beer over the vodka mixture until the glass is full
    5. Garnish with a rosemary sprig & float a few raw cranberries on top.

     9. Skinny Mule

    Skinny Mule

    A Moscow Mule may be worth the calories, but sometimes we must give in to self-control. But when self-control is ready to live a little, there’s a Mule for that, too. A low-sugar, low-calorie classic mule doesn’t have to be the fantasy of your late-night cravings!

    Ingredients

    Directions

    1. Squeeze lime juice into a copper mug filled with ice
    2. Add organic vodka
    3. Fill the rest of the glass with Fever Tree Naturally Light Ginger Beer 
    4. Garnish with a half lime wheel.

    10. Hibiscus-Berry Mule Recipe

    Hibiscus-Berry Mule Recipe

    Winter for me is long and full of dark beer. By the time spring has sprung I’m ready for anything fruity and floral. This bold, red variation has a floral sweetness that drives away the deepest of winter blues.

    Hibiscus-Berry Mule

    Ingredients

    • 4 - 5 oz. ginger beer
    • 1.5 oz. vodka
    • ¾ oz Hibiscus-Berry Syrup 
    • ½ oz fresh lime juice
    • hibiscus leaves or edible flowers for garnish

    For the hibiscus-berry syrup:

    Directions

    To make the Hibiscus-Berry Syrup:

    1. Add hibiscus tea to hot water in a saucepan and steep for 5-10 minutes, until color is a deep red
    2. Remove hibiscus tea bags
    3. Add remaining ingredients to a saucepan and mix well.
    4. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring & using a fork to help break up the berries. 
    5. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn to low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly until berries are completely integrated. 
    6. Cool to room temperature then strain into glass container.

    To make the cocktail:

    1. Combine the hibiscus-berry syrup, lime juice, and vodka in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake well.
    2. Strain the hibiscus-vodka mixture into a copper cup or mug filled with ice
    3. Pour ginger beer over the vodka mixture until mug is full
    4. Garnish with edible flowers.

    11. Pomegranate Mule Variation

    Pomegranate Mule Variation

    If the floral notes of the hibiscus-berry mule aren’t your style, try this pomegranate variation instead. It's just as bold and red but uses the tartness of pomegranate instead of floral hibiscus. This drink will make sure your friends don’t take your bartending for pome-granted (I’ll show myself out).

    Pomegranate Mule

    Ingredients

    Directions

    1. Combine pomegranate juice, vodka & lime juice into a pure-copper cup or mug filled with ice
    2. Pour ginger beer over the vodka mixture until glass is full
    3. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and a lime wedge.

    12. Mule Driver (Orange and Ginger Combo)

    Mule Driver (Orange and Ginger Combo)

    This gingery cousin to the college-classic screwdriver is enough to drive away every bad memory you have of waking up hungover on a friend’s couch when you were an undergrad. The orange and ginger combo is delicious and refreshing any time of day. And it may be tempting, but this doesn’t mean you should pour yourself one of these for breakfast. Though if you do, I won’t tell.

    Mule Driver

    Ingredients

    Directions

    1. Combine orange juice, vodka, and lime juice into a copper-built mug filled with ice
    2. Pour ginger beer over the vodka mixture until glass is full
    3. Garnish with an orange and lime slices.

    Using Other Types of Alcohol

    The “ROYGBIV” method of cocktail variation is a great way to switch up your drink without having to stock a full bar. But why stop there? Adding new ingredients to a cocktail doesn’t have to be the end-all of cocktail variations.

    Switching up the liquor is a great way to transform the classic Mule into something new and exciting. Changing the liquor in your recipe allows you to get to the heart of the flavors that make a Moscow Mule delicious. You also can introduce a new depth to the drink. There are a few great classic vodka-free variations, some as popular as the Moscow Mule itself.

    Using Other Types of Alcohol in moscow mule

    13. The Kentucky Mule

    Nothing can make an all-American classic like the Moscow Mule more all-American or more classic than America’s darling: bourbon! All true, great bourbons are born in Kentucky and bred from the finest American corn. Kentucky’s passion for distilling has blessed us with the finest liquors in the world. A good Kentucky bourbon compliments ginger beer with vanilla notes and an extra-boozy kick.

    Kentucky Mule

    Ingredients

    Directions

    1. Combine bourbon and lime juice in a copper Moscow Mule mug filled with ice
    2. Top with ginger beer until the mug is full
    3. Garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig.

    14. The Dark and Stormy

    The Dark and Stormy

    If the Moscow Mule wasn’t familiar to you, you may recognize the name “Dark and Stormy.” It's often billed on cocktail menus right beside its cousin. The Dark and Stormy is actually just another simple variation on the Moscow Mule.

    The Dark and Stormy combines ginger beer with the equally-tropical flavor of rum. The rum adds a bit of sweetness to the cocktail and mellows out the bright flavors, opting for a darker finish. The Dark and Stormy is an excellent (and popular) tropical deviation from the Moscow Mule.

    The Dark and Stormy

    Ingredients

    Directions

    1. Combine rum and lime juice in a copper Moscow Mule mug filled with ice 
    2. Top the rum off with Reed’s Ginger Beer until the glass is full
    3. Garnish with a lime wedge.

    15. The Gin-Gin Moscow

    Gin-Gin Moscow

    Vodka and gin are very similar, but juniper berries give gin its slightly floral flavor. Adding gin to a Moscow Mule adds a subtle herbal-floral note that is complemented by the ginger beer. I was skeptical the first time I had a gin mule.

    I thought the ginger beer would overpower the subtleties of gin. But, if anything, it amplifies it in a very pleasant way! Try any of the different types of gin for unexpectedly exciting flavor combinations (I’m partial to Hendrick’s cucumber notes and London dry gins).

    Gin-Gin Moscow recipe

    Ingredients

    Directions

    1. Combine gin and lime juice in a copper Moscow Mule mug filled with ice
    2. Top the rum off with ginger beer until the glass is full
    3. Garnish with a lime wheel.

    16. Moscow Mule Jello Shots

    Moscow Mule Jello Shots

    You always know a party is going to be great when you arrive and see a tray of neon jello shots making the rounds. Jello shots don’t have to be the Kool-Aid flavored abominations of your younger years, though. This recipe for Moscow Mule jello shots elevates the fun party attitude of classic jello shots to something dare I say… classy? And it does it without sacrificing any of the fun or alcoholic punch of the original recipe.

    Moscow Mule Jello Shots recipe

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    1. Combine ginger beer and lime juice (and food coloring) in a small pan
    2. Sprinkle gelatin over the surface and allow it to rest 2 minutes as the gelatin activates
    3. Warm the gelatin-ginger-beer mixture on medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Stir constantly and avoid allowing the mixture to boil.
    4. Remove from heat and stir vodka into the mixture.
    5. Spray molds with nonstick oil
    6. Pour this liquid into the shot mold of your choice – ice cube trays, sample cups, mini-muffin tins, and sheet pans all work well 
    7. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, until the shots are set completely
    8. Remove jello shots from the mold by either sliding around the edges with a thin knife or cutting them into the desired shape (if using a sheet pan)
    9. Keep the finished jello shots in the refrigerator and serve cold.

      17. The Mexico Mule

      Much like the Kentucky Mule, this rendition of the Moscow Mule gets its name from the region’s native inebriant. Tequila is made from the agave that is prevalent in Mexico, which has been harvested, crafted and aged to create the signature liquor. As it turns out, tequila works quite nicely to mix up a Mule, and puts a refreshing twist on the traditional recipe. As always, the lime juice and high-quality ginger beer are the backbone of the drink, but switch the vodka for some Camareña Family, Casamigos, Avion, or whatever brand you prefer.

      Ingredients

      Instructions to make

      1. Mix and shake tequila, lime juice and sugar syrup with ice
      2. Strain the mixture into an ice filled glass
      3. Top it with ginger beer, stir and serve
      4. Garnish it with lime wedge

      18. The Garden Mule

      This jazzed-up version of the Mule calls for vodka, but also works well with gin or tequila. In addition to our friends, ginger beer and lime juice, this interpretation of the Mule requires the addition of some flavor-enhancing accoutrements.

      Ingredients

      Instructions to make

      1. Take a cocktail shaker and put cucumber, 8 blueberries and mint leaves in the bottom
      2. Muddle until the whole concoction is crushed and appears juicy
      3. Add ice, lime juice and vodka
      4. Shake for 10-15 seconds
      5. Put ice in the Moscow mule mug and strain the liquid into a copper mug
      6. Now, add ginger beer and 4 blueberries
      7. Cut open the remaining 4 blueberries and candied ginger using a toothpick and use it alongside a sprig of mint.

      19. Moscow Water-Mule-On

      If you are not a fan of strawberries, you can opt for this Moscow Water-Mule-On (no pun intended). For this one, you will be just replacing strawberries with watermelon. You will also add a sprig of mint.

      Ingredients

      Instructions to make

      1. Have three to five chunks of watermelon and place them in your shaker tin.
      2. Pour 1/2oz of vodka into the mixture.
      3. Throw in some ice, and then shake.
      4. Strain the mixture into your hammered copper Moscow Mule Mug.
      5. Now, pour ginger beer and garnish with a watermelon slice. Don’t forget to add the mint sprig.

      20. Blueberry Moscow Blue

      Last on our list is the Blueberry Moscow Blue. Instead of watermelon or strawberries, you will be using Blueberries. This one is a bit more complex than the other two. You have to prepare first the Blueberry shrub. It’s advisable to make it ahead of time.

      Ingredients

      Instructions to make

      1. Take all these ingredients and put them in a blender. They should be fully liquified.
      2. Pour mixture into a glass jar, and put in the refrigerator for at least 2 days.
      3. Strain into a new and clean glass jar.
      4. Once your blueberry shrub is ready. Put 1.5oz of vodka and the blueberry shrub into a shaker tin. Add some ice as well. Then, shake.
      5. Use a strainer and pour the mixture into a barrel-style copper mug.
      6. Top it with a ginger beer. Garnish it with blueberries and a lime wheel.

      Conclusion

      And there you have it! It’s not just a Moscow Mule, it’s a Moscow workhorse! This simple and already hard-to-top cocktail has so many equally delicious variations it’s hard to know where to start. So don’t get caught up in the choices and just make time to try them all.

      There is a variation for any occasion and the Moscow Mule, any flavor, is always refreshingly delicious. You’ll never find yourself breaking a sweat with these easy and quick recipes. Sit back, relax, and take a trip to Moscow (or New York or LA, who’s to say?).


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      • andy estrada on

        recetas llenas de ideas .. muchas gracias me serán muy útil para mi formación como bar tender.

      • Matthew on

        I add some tropicana mango pineapple juice to my Moscow mule…try it…I call it my “Tropical” Mule…

      • Linda on

        I had a Moscow Mule the other evening at a Italian restaurant made with Lemoncello. It was delicious. Try it


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