Learn how to make a Moscow Mule with this classic 3-ingredient recipe. Plus, tips on how to purchase Moscow Mule mugs and how to customize your drinks.
Well, we couldn’t go a week talking all about summer cocktail recipes without giving a nod to the infamous cocktail that stole a new generation’s hearts and somehow managed to convince all of us that a shiny set of copper mugs in our bar carts was now essential…
I’ve been a fan of the Moscow Mule (and even moreso, it’s whiskey-with-a-splash-of-bitters cousin, the Horsefeather) for years and years now. But especially so in the summertime. When served up in a chilly mug, with a good spicy ginger beer, a solid splash of lime, and ideally a side of good friends all gathered around a patio table, this cocktail is my idea of a lovely way to cool down on a warm evening. And in my experience hosting, it’s also proven to always be a hit.
That said, there are endless ways to customize your own Moscow mule recipe. So if you happen to be looking for some new spins on the classic, or recommendations for a new set of copper mugs to purchase (totally not necessary for this cocktail, though!), or just a solid classic Moscow Mule recipe to bookmark, I’ve gotcha covered today.
So grab your favorite ginger beer, and let’s get to mixing!
The BEST Moscow Mule Recipe | 1-Minute Video
Moscow Mule Ingredients:
So what is in a Moscow Mule recipe? Three easy ingredients. And as with any cocktail with such a short ingredient list, the quality of each of those three ingredients will make a notable difference in your cocktail. So avoid the cheapest options at the liquor store, and do some taste-testing to learn which Moscow Mule ingredients you love best.
To make a homemade Moscow Mule cocktail, you will need (affiliate links are included here):
Ginger Beer: Everyone has a different opinion about which brand makes the best ginger beer for Moscow Mules, so go with whichever one you love most! ♡ I prefer my ginger beer to be minimally sweetened and as spicy as possible, so some of my personal favorites include:
Q Ginger Beer (available in many stores and on Amazon)
Fever Tree Ginger Beer (available in most stores and on Amazon)
Thomas Henry (available in Europe)
Vodka: Quality is also important here, so try to avoid the cheapest bottle in the store. I would recommend Tito’s or Absolut vodka.
Freshly-Squeezed Lime Juice: Key words: freshly-squeezed. Avoid the bottled lime juice and I promise you will taste the difference!
Also, you will need lots of ice per serving (crushed ice is traditional) plus garnishes, if you would like. I tend to just add my leftover lime wedge into the drink, plus maybe a sprig of mint if I happen to have some on hand.
Moscow Mule Mugs:
I’ve gotta say — I have been making Moscow Mules for a decade in normal (glass) cocktail glasses, and the drinks are just as delicious. But when we were stocking our new kitchen here in Barcelona, we decided to spring for a set of cute copper mugs for our Moscow Mules and Horsefeathers. And I will admit — they’ve made us ridiculously happy each time we’ve used them. They’re just so fun! And even though it’s been proven that the copper doesn’t really keep your drinks any cooler, those chilly handles and frosty mugs make a cold drink even more delightful in the summertime.
That said, there has been quite a bit of controversy this past year about the safety of 100% copper mugs. Some scientists have warned that lime and copper are a dangerous mixture, while others have said that “you’d have to drink from a copper cup every meal of every day for 25 years” to ingest a dangerous amount of copper. I opted for nickel-lined Moscow Mule mugs just in case. But if you would like to purchase nickel- or stainless-steel-lined Moscow Mule mugs of your own, here are a few specific options that I love:
It’s super easy to learn how to make a Moscow Mule cocktail. Simply…
Fill a glass or copper mug with ice. Crushed ice is traditional, but any kind will do.
Add vodka and lime juice. And feel free to toss the remaining squeezed lime into the glass/mug.
Add ginger beer. Fill to the top with ginger beer.
Stir and serve! Give your Moscow Mule drink a quick stir, and then serve!
Moscow Mule Variations:
Nowadays there are about a million cocktails that claim to be some variation of a “mule”. So feel free to get creative with your cocktails and see what you love best! Some ideas for variations could include:
Changing the liquor:
Dark & Stormy: swap vodka for dark rum
Kentucky Mule: swap vodka for bourbon
Irish Mule: swap vodka for Irish whiskey
Glasgow/Scottish Mule: swap vodka for Scotch whiskey
Mexican Mule: swap vodka for tequila
Oaxacan Mule: swap vodka for mezcal
Gin Gin Mule: swap vodka for gin
Muddling in juicy fruit, such as watermelon, berries, peaches, pineapple, apple, pear, cranberry, and/or grapefruit would be delicious.
Adding veggies or herbs:
Muddling in veggies like cucumber, or herbs like basil, cilantro, sage or lavender would also be delicious.
I personally love adding a slice of jalapeño or serrano pepper to give my cocktails an extra kick.
Bitters are not used in the classic Moscow Mule recipe, but I almost always add a few shakes to my own.
Learn how to make a Moscow Mule with this classic 3-ingredient recipe. I like to garnish mine with a leftover lime wedge and maybe a sprig of mint, if I happen to have it on hand. See notes above for ideas on Moscow Mule variations, if you would like to mix things up.
2 ounces vodka
1 tablespoon (½ ounce) freshly-squeezed lime juice
4 ounces ginger beer
Fill a copper mug or a tall cocktail glass with ice.
Add vodka and lime juice. Then fill the glass to the top with ginger beer.
Give the drink a quick stir, top with garnish(es) if desired, then serve cold.