How to Make the Best Moscow Mule

You don't have to go to a trendy cocktail bar to have a top-notch drink. Start with just three simple ingredients to make this ultra-refreshing cocktail.

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Yes, they go down easy, but they’re also easy to make at home. A standard Moscow Mule has a perfectly balanced mixture of vodka, ginger beer and fresh lime with a garnish of a lime wedge or mint. Because of the fizzy nature of ginger beer, it’s a stirred cocktail served over ice.

Our Moscow Mule Recipe

If you’re looking to make a batch of mules, try this recipe. Otherwise, you can mix them up one by one with this ratio.

Step 1: Fill a cup—preferably a copper mug—with ice. Add vodka, ginger beer and lime juice.

Step 2: Give it a stir and top with a wedge of lime. That’s it!

Using the Best Vodka & Ginger Beer

Restaurant lore has it that Moscow Mules were originally created to use excess Smirnoff vodka and homemade ginger beer at Cock n’ Bull Tavern in Los Angeles (that’s right—the drink isn’t Russian in origin).

Because this recipe has so few ingredients, it’s important to use quality spirits and mixers you love. If you’re not familiar with ginger beer, try go-to brands like Gosling’s or Fever Tree. If you want to branch out, try Q Ginger Beer which has a hint of chile for extra spice. As for vodka, here are some of our favorite brands, including Absolut Elyx and Ketel One Cucumber-Mint.

What’s with the Copper Mug?

Folks have been asking about the copper mug since the drink’s inception. At Cock n’ Bull Tavern, the drink was served up in mugs that drew attention, causing guests to ask what that nifty drink was (and hopefully order one!).

Thin copper also cools very quickly and is able to retain that cold temperature for longer than a classic glass cup. Using this traditional barware keeps your cocktail cold—and cool-looking. Grab a set and these other barware classics for a well-stocked bar at home.

Twists on the Classic Mule

There are so many ways to spice up this simple drink—and bartenders love to riff on the basic mule recipe. Here are a few easy ways to switch up the recipe:

  • Kentucky Mule: Swap out the vodka for bourbon and add a spring of mint.
  • Mexican Mule: You guessed it: Use tequila in lieu of vodka. If you want to add some spice, add a slice of jalapeno to garnish.
  • Gin Gin Mule: Try gin instead of vodka and garnish with cucumber slices. This one’s really refreshing.
  • Mule Driver: Just add an ounce of orange juice to your classic mule and garnish with an orange wedge.

Check out a few more of our favorite ideas here. And don’t forget the garnish to make it your own.

Once you’re a master of the Moscow Mule, try your bartending skills on these festive cocktails.

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Mandy Naglich
Mandy is a food and beverage writer with bylines at WNYC, Munchies, Mic and October. She's a Certified Cicerone and award-winning homebrewer living, writing and cooking in New York City.