15 Moscow Mule Recipes You'll Fall In Love With

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, bitters, 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 drink 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.

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!

Classic Moscow Mule Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4-5 oz. Fever Tree Ginger Beer
  • 2 oz. Tito’s Handmade Vodka 
  • ½ oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • Fresh lime wheel for garnish

Directions

  1. Squeeze lime juice into a fresh chilled glass with ice (preferably a copper Moscow Mule 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

Adding Color to Your Moscow 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!

Kicking Mule (Jalapeño Moscow Mule)

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

  • 4 - 5 oz. ginger beer
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • 1-2 jalapeño slices (to taste), seeds removed
  • 1 sprig fresh mint
  • Fresh lime wedge, a slice of jalapeño and a mint leave (for garnish)

Directions

  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.

Straw-scow Mule (Strawberry Moscow Mule)

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.

Ingredients

  • 4 - 5 oz. ginger beer
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • 2-3 large fresh strawberries or 5-6 tiny ones, stems removed and sliced, 1 reserved for garnish
  • 1 or 2 cranks of fresh black pepper (optional)

Directions

  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 the strawberries.

Moscow Water-Mule-on (Watermelon Moscow Mule)

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

  • 4- 5 oz. ginger beer
  • 1.5 oz. vodka
  • 3 watermelon chunks
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • Sprig of mint for garnish
  • Watermelon slice for garnish

Directions

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

Moscow Blue (Blueberry Moscow Mule)

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

  • 4 - 5 oz. ginger beer
  • 1.5 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. blueberry shrub
  • lime wheel for garnish

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!)

Directions

  1. Make your shrub a couple days ahead of time: Place all 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 a copper Moscow Mule 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!)

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:

  • 4 - 5 oz. ginger beer
  • 1.5 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz ginger-peach puree
  • fresh peach slices for garnish 
  • candied ginger for garnish

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)

Directions

  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 Moscow Mule 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.

Christmas Donkey (Cranberry Moscow 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.

Ingredients

  • 4 - 5 oz. ginger beer
  • 1.5 oz. vodka
  • ½ oz sweetened cranberry juice 
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • fresh or frozen cranberries for garnish

Directions

  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 Moscow 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.

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

  • 4 - 5 oz. Sugar Free Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer
  • 1.5 oz. organic vodka
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice

Directions

  1. Squeeze lime juice into a copper Moscow Mule 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.

Hibiscus-Berry Moscow Mule

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.

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:

  • 1 cup mixed berries, fresh or frozen (I used raspberries and blackberries)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 4 Hibiscus-flavored tea bags, or about ½ ounce dried hibiscus leaves

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 Moscow Mule mug filled with ice
  3. Pour ginger beer over the vodka mixture until mug is full
  4. Garnish with edible flowers.

Pomegranate Moscow Mule

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).

Ingredients

  • 4 - 5 oz. ginger beer
  • 1.5 oz. vodka
  • ½ oz Pomegranate Juice (POM is a great alternative to fresh)
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish
  • lime wedge for garnish

Directions

  1. Combine pomegranate juice, vodka & lime juice into a copper Moscow Mule 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.

Mule Driver (Orange Moscow Mule)

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.

Ingredients

  • 4 - 5 oz. ginger beer
  • 1.5 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice (Try substituting mandarins or tangerines) 
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice 
  • Orange slice for garnish

Directions

  1. Combine orange juice, vodka, and lime juice into a copper Moscow Mule 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.

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 liquor in the world. A good Kentucky bourbon compliments ginger beer with vanilla notes and an extra-boozy kick.

Ingredients

  • 4 - 5 oz. ginger beer
  • 1.5 oz Kentucky bourbon
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • Mint sprigs for garnish

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.

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.

Ingredients

  • 4 - 5 oz. Reed’s ginger beer
  • 2 oz. Dark rum
  • ½ oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • Lime wedge for garnish

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.

The 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).

Ingredients

  • 4 - 5 oz. ginger beer
  • 1.5 oz. gin 
  • ½ oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • lime wheel for garnish

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.

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.

Ingredients

  • 8.5 oz ginger beer
  • 1 ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • 2 envelopes (2 Tbsp) of unflavored gelatin
  • 6 ounces of vodka
  • nonstick cooking oil spray to easily remove from molds
  • food coloring (optional)

Directions

  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.

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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