Classic Moscow Mule Recipe

Table of Contents

Classic Moscow Mule Recipe Guide

The Moscow Mule, one of the great classic cocktails with a history as rich as its taste, is here to add a dash of spice and a splash of fun to your life.

steamy moscow mule

In this guide, we'll explore the drink's intriguing origins, how to craft the perfect Moscow Mule at home with a step by step recipe, suggest tantalizing variations, and answer all your burning questions about this refreshing libation.

So, grab your copper mug, a handful of ice cubes, and let's get mixing!

History and Origins

The Birth of a Legend

The Moscow Mule cocktail didn't just appear out of thin air. It was the brainchild of three enterprising people who decided to mix cold ginger beer, vodka and lime juice in a copper mug.

But how did this concoction come to be known as the Moscow Mule?

The Moscow Connection

woman drinking moscow mule

The Moscow Mule's name might suggest it hails from Russia, but it actually has nothing to do with the country. It was a marketing ploy by the original creators, who hoped to capitalize on the Red Scare and the allure of exoticism in the 1940s.

The Hollywood Influence

Hollywood played a pivotal role in popularizing the libation, with stars like Marilyn Monroe sipping on it in iconic movies.

A Step-by-Step Moscow Mule Recipe

  1. Gather the Ingredients

    Before we start mixing, make sure you have these essentials on hand: cocktail shaker, vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, ice cubes, and a copper mug.

    (Not wanting to make from scratch? White's Elixirs Moscow Mule Mix is made fresh with Cane Sugar, Ginger Root, Lime Juice, and Organic Fresh Ginger Juice!)

  2. The Perfect Ratio

    A classic Moscow Mule recipe calls for a 2:4:1 ratio of vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. So, for one drink, you'd use 2 ounces of vodka, 4 ounces of ginger beer, and 1 ounce of lime.

  3. Stir and Sip

    Combine the vodka, ginger beer, and lime in a cocktail shaker with ice. Stir vigorously and then strain it into your chilled copper mug filled with ice or crushed ice.

  4. Garnish with Style

    No Moscow Mule is complete without a garnish. A lime wedge perching on your copper mug and a sprig of fresh mint add a burst of color and aroma.

Types of Glasses and Ice to Use

Moscow Mule Copper Mugs: The Iconic Choice

moscow mule in a copper mug

The copper mug isn't just for show; it actually enhances the drinking experience by keeping the cocktail colder for longer. Plus, it looks darn good in your hand!

Highball Glass: The Alternative

If you don't have an ice cold copper mug, a highball glass will do. It may not have the same cooling effect, but it still lets you enjoy the refreshing flavors of the Moscow Mule.

Ice, Ice, Baby

Crushed ice is the preferred choice. It chills your Moscow Mules faster and adds to the overall presentation.

It even adds a frosting to the exterior of copper mugs. However, regular ice will work just fine in a pinch.

Variations on the Moscow Mule

Kentucky Mule: A Southern Twist on a Refreshing Cocktail

Substitute vodka with bourbon, and you've got yourself a Kentucky Mule. The smoky, oaky notes of bourbon add a whole new layer of complexity to the classic drink.

white's elixirs artichoke moscow mule recipe

Artichoke Mule Cocktail Recipe

4 oz White’s Elixirs Moscow Mule Mix

2 oz Cynar

Splash lime seltzer

white's elixirs smokey moscow mule recipe

Smokey Moscow Mule Cocktail Recipe

4 oz White’s Elixirs Moscow Mule Mix

2 oz Corsair Triple Smoke Whiskey

Splash lime seltzer

Garnish with a lime wedge

Moscow Mule Mocktail Recipes

Classic Moscow Mule Cocktail:


4 oz ginger beer

1 oz lime juice

1/2 oz simple syrup (adjust to taste)


Lime wheel and fresh mint sprig for garnish


Add ice cubes to a copper mug

Pour in the lime and simple syrup.

Top it off with ginger beer and gently stir to combine.


Serve and enjoy your classic Virgin Moscow Mule!

Raspberry Moscow Mule:


4 oz raspberry-flavored ginger beer

1 oz lime juice

1/2 oz raspberry syrup (adjust to taste)


Fresh raspberries and a lime wedge for garnish


Fill a copper mug with ice cubes.

Add the lime and raspberry syrup.

Pour in the raspberry-flavored ginger beer and gently stir to combine.


Sip and savor the fruity twist of the Raspberry Virgin Moscow Mule.

Pineapple Ginger Moscow Mule:


4 oz pineapple-infused ginger beer

1 oz lime

1/2 oz pineapple syrup (adjust to taste)


Pineapple wedge and a sprig of fresh mint for garnish


Fill a copper mug with ice.

Pour in the lime and pineapple syrup.

Top it off with the pineapple-infused beer and gently stir.


Indulge in the tropical flavors of the Pineapple Ginger Virgin Moscow Mule.

These non-alcoholic Moscow Mule variations offer a delightful range of flavors, from the classic zing to fruity and exotic twists.

Enjoy these refreshing drinks at any time, whether you're abstaining from alcohol or simply seeking a vibrant and satisfying beverage.

Commonly Asked Questions About the Moscow Mule

What's the Difference Between Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale?

The beer has a stronger, spicier ginger flavor compared to the milder and sweeter taste of ginger ale, making it the preferred choice for a Moscow Mule.

Can I Use Any Vodka for Moscow Mules?

Most any can be used, but here are just five popular vodka brands known for their compatibility with Moscow Mules:

Absolut Vodka: Absolut is a Swedish vodka known for its clean and smooth character.

It has a mild and neutral flavor profile, making it an excellent choice for those who prefer a vodka that allows the ginger and lime to shine in a Moscow Mule.

titos vodka

Tito's Handmade Vodka: Tito's Handmade Vodka, produced in the United States, is celebrated for its smoothness and slightly sweet undertones.

It has a gentle flavor that pairs well with the spicy kick of ginger beer.

Ketel One Vodka: Ketel One, a Dutch vodka, offers a silky-smooth texture and a hint of citrus notes.

It's a versatile vodka that complements the flavors of a Moscow Mule without overpowering them.

Belvedere Vodka: Belvedere, a Polish vodka, is known for its exceptional purity and subtle vanilla and cream notes.

It adds a touch of elegance, enhancing its overall character.

360 vodka

360 Vodka: 360 Vodka is an American vodka known for its commitment to sustainability. It has a clean and crisp taste, making it a suitable choice for mixing.

Do I Need to Use Copper Mugs?

Copper mugs are traditional, but not mandatory. The choice between copper mugs and highball glasses is a matter of personal preference and style.

Can I Make Moscow Mules Without Fresh Lime Juice?

Fresh lime juice is preferred for its vibrant flavor, but if you're in a pinch, bottled juice can be a suitable substitute.

What's the Best Ginger Beer for a Moscow Mule Recipe?

The best ginger beer is highly subjective. What makes a great ginger beer depends on your personal preference for a sweet and spicy balance. Here are various types of ginger beer, along with examples of popular brands and their flavor characteristics:

golings ginger beer

Traditional (e.g., Gosling's Ginger Beer): Gosling's is often used in the popular Dark 'n' Stormy cocktail. It has a strong ginger presence with a slightly sweet and spicy profile. It pairs excellently with dark rum.

Spicy (e.g., Blenheim's): Blenheim's is extra spicy and packs a punch with intense ginger heat and minimal sweetness, making it a favorite among ginger enthusiasts.

Sweet (e.g., Reed's Ginger Beer): Reed's is known for its sweet ginger beer, delivering a milder ginger kick with pronounced sweetness, creating a smoother and gentler flavor.

Craft or Artisanal (e.g., Fentimans Ginger Beer): Craft ginger beers, such as Fentimans, often incorporate natural ingredients and real ginger root.

They offer a complex flavor profile, featuring strong ginger notes, subtle herbal hints, and varying levels of sweetness.

Light (e.g., Fever-Tree Naturally Light Ginger Beer): Fever-Tree's light ginger beer, part of their esteemed Fever Tree Ginger Beer line, is a lower-calorie and lower-sugar option. It maintains a noticeable ginger taste while being less sweet and having fewer calories. If you the want full octane, fully-flavored option, then just purchase Fever Tree Ginger Beer, instead.

Fruity (e.g., Reed's Raspberry): Flavored ginger beers infuse fruit flavors like raspberry into the spicy ginger base, resulting in a more refreshing and fruity taste.

Honey (e.g., Maine Root Ginger Brew with Honey): Ginger beers with honey, such as Maine Root, combine the warmth of ginger with the natural sweetness of honey, offering a smoother and richer flavor profile with subtle floral notes.

Organic or All-Natural (e.g., Q Ginger Beer): Brands like Q prioritize high-quality, natural ingredients.

They typically deliver a cleaner and crisper ginger flavor, with less reliance on artificial sweeteners or additives.

Dry (e.g., Old Jamaica Ginger Beer): Dry ginger beers like Old Jamaica are characterized by minimal sweetness and a more intense ginger bite, making them an excellent choice for cocktails that highlight ginger flavor.

Fentimans: While technically ginger beer, Fentimans offers a strong, fiery ginger flavor with a touch of herbal and botanical notes.

It's less sweet, making it ideal for mixing in cocktails.

Cock'n Bull: Cock'n Bull is a spicy ginger beer designed specifically for Moscow Mules. It has a fiery kick with a balanced sweetness, creating the perfect complement to vodka and lime juice.

What are some Ginger Ales I could use?

Canada Dry: Canada Dry is one of the most well-known brands. It offers a mild and crisp ginger flavor with a hint of sweetness.

It's not overly spicy, making it a popular choice for those who prefer a milder ginger taste.

Schweppes: Schweppes is another classic option. It has a balanced ginger flavor with a touch of citrus and sweetness.

It's a bit spicier than Canada Dry but still maintains a refreshing and bubbly character.

vernors ginger ale

Vernors: Vernors, known for its distinctive taste, has a bold and robust ginger flavor. It's sweet with a strong kick of ginger spice, making it a favorite for those who like a more intense ginger experience.

Reed's: Reed's is known for its all-natural ingredients and robust ginger flavor. It offers a spicy and zesty taste with a slight earthy note, making it a go-to choice for ginger enthusiasts.

Blenheim's: Blenheim's is famous for its spicy kick. It comes in various levels of spiciness, from mild to extra hot.

The heat from the ginger is the star here, and it's not overly sweet, catering to those who love the burn.

Bruce Cost: This artisanal ginger ale is made with fresh ginger root. It boasts a real ginger punch with a natural sweetness.

It's less carbonated and has a cloudy appearance due to the real ginger particles.

I don't have an ice crusher. What can I do?

If you don't have an ice crusher, you can use a Lewis bag and mallet as a manual alternative.

lewis bag and mallet

Place a handful of ice cubes inside a Ziplock bag and seal it, removing as much air as possible.

Lay a clean towel or cloth on a sturdy surface, like a kitchen countertop or a wooden cutting board, to protect it from damage.

Place the sealed Ziplock bag filled with ice on the towel or cloth.

Fold the towel over the bag, covering it completely.

Using a mallet, rolling pin, or another heavy object, gently but firmly pound the ice inside the bag. Continue to crush the ice until you achieve the desired consistency.

This method allows you to control the level of coarseness or fineness of the ice.

Open the bag, pour the ice into a container, and use it immediately.

I'm going out, where can I get Moscow Mules?

While almost every bar serves some version of a mule, here are five globe-trotting options:

The Broken Shaker - Miami Beach, Florida

The Broken Shaker is renowned for its creative and artisanal approach to cocktails.

Try their "Garden Mule," a unique twist on the Moscow Mule that incorporates muddled cucumber and basil, along with lime juice and ginger beer. It's a refreshing and herbaceous take on the classic.



The Aviary - Chicago, Illinois

The Aviary is renowned for its avant-garde cocktails, and their "In the Rocks" Moscow Mule is a true spectacle.

This immersive experience involves a hollow ice sphere filled with a Moscow Mule cocktail, served with a straw that pierces the sphere, releasing the drink. It's a visually stunning and memorable take on the classic cocktail.

Death & Co - New York City, New York

Death & Co is celebrated for its inventive mixology, and their "Mexican Mule" is a standout.

This twist on the Moscow Mule incorporates tequila instead of vodka, along with fresh lime, homemade ginger beer, and a touch of agave nectar.

It offers a delightful blend of tequila's earthy notes and the cocktail's classic spiciness.

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