Kentucky Mule Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 10 min.
Turn your Moscow mule into a Kentucky mule by using your favorite bourbon, and garnish those pretty copper mugs with a mint sprig.

Updated: May 03, 2024

Ginger beer enthusiasts and bourbon aficionados, this one’s for you. The Kentucky mule is a delicious cousin to the Moscow mule. In the Kentucky mule, vodka is replaced with bourbon. It’s a welcome twist for those who prefer the earthy warmth of bourbon. And who doesn’t love an excuse to dust off the fun cocktail glasses you might not use all the time? Copper mugs were made for mules!

Kentucky Mule Ingredients

  • Ginger beer: Despite the name, there’s no alcohol in most ginger beer brands. Ginger beer is similar to ginger ale, but the bite of ginger pulls through more than it would in sweet ginger ale.
  • Bourbon: There’s a difference between bourbon vs. whiskey, and you’ll want to opt for a true bourbon to make this a Kentucky mule. Otherwise, it’s an Irish mule (which is just as sippable!).
  • Lime juice: A bourbon ginger might be great, but tart lime juice adds much more flavor. Squeeze fresh lime juice instead of using store-bought for the best cocktail.

Directions

Step 1: Stir

Combine the ginger beer, bourbon and lime juice in a pitcher. Use a long-stemmed cocktail spoon to stir all the ingredients together.

Step 2: Pour

Pour over ice into mule mugs. If desired, garnish each mug with a lime slice and mint sprigs.

Kentucky Mule in a pitcherTMB studio

Kentucky Mule Variations

  • Make it an Irish mule: This is the simplest swap of all. Use Irish whiskey if you don’t have bourbon on hand.
  • Cut back the ginger flavor: Ginger beer is a bit spicier than ginger ale. If you don’t love the bite of ginger beer, swap in ginger ale in equal parts.
  • Add fruit: Blackberries pair beautifully with bourbon and mint. Use the berries as a garnish, or muddle them into the bottom of the mugs to infuse the flavor into every sip.

Can you store Kentucky mules?

We don’t recommend trying to store Kentucky mules since the carbonation will run flat. Luckily, this drink has very few ingredients, so it’s not too time-consuming to whip up individual mules when you’re ready for serving.

Kentucky Mule Tips

two copper mugs with Kentucky MuleTMB studio

Julie Schnittka, a senior editor with Taste of Home, shares her tips for making the perfect mule:

What kind of bourbon should you use to make Kentucky mules?

Unlike a Moscow mule, which features vodka, a Kentucky mule calls for bourbon. The type of bourbon you use to make Kentucky mules comes down to personal preference. Most bourbons have strong notes of vanilla, oak and caramel. In comparison, wheated bourbons are more mellow and soft, while bourbons with a higher amount of rye are spicier.

Can you serve a Kentucky mule in other glasses?

Using the traditional copper mug keeps your cocktail cold longer, but in a pinch, you can also serve a Kentucky mule in a highball glass.

What do you serve with a Kentucky mule?

No Kentucky Derby party would be complete without Kentucky mules! Plan your menu around some of the best recipes from Kentucky, including Benedictine spread, mini hot browns and Kentucky Derby desserts like pecan pie bars and bourbon balls. And don’t forget another favorite beverage—mint juleps!

Watch how to Make Kentucky Mule

Kentucky Mule

Prep Time 10 min
Yield 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups ginger beer, chilled
  • 1-1/4 cups bourbon
  • 2/3 cup lime juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Optional: Lime slices and mint sprigs

Directions

  1. Combine ginger beer, bourbon and lime juice in a pitcher. Serve over ice. If desired, serve with lime slices and mint sprigs.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 169 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 12mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (15g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.

Bourbon lovers will love this Kentucky mule recipe. It's the same as a Moscow mule, but replaces the vodka with bourbon. Serve the cocktail in a copper mug to keep it cold. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Recipe Creator