Classic Moscow Mule Recipe (Only 3 Ingredients!)

The Moscow Mule is one classic cocktail that has stood the test of time with good reason! The spicy ginger ale paired with vodka (and a splash of lime) has been delighting fans for decades.

And while there are many ways to put a twist on this iconic drinkthe classic is still a winner every time.

The drink was invented back in the 1940s in America when John Martin wanted to sell Smirnoff vodka through his distribution company.

It was not a popular spirit at the time, and by chance bar owner Jack Morgan was trying to sell his ginger ale at his Cock ‘n’ Bull pub. So they added them along with some lime and made cocktail magic.

Do you need a copper mug for this drink? Not at all! While it adds to the tradition and fun aspect of a Moscow Mule, the copper mug is completely optional. You can serve it in a rocks glass or other glass you like.

moscow mule drinks in copper cups

Looking for a variation of a Moscow Mule? Sample:

What is Ginger Beer?

If you’ve never tried ginger beer, it’s a non-alcoholic “root beer” soft drink. It’s not the same as ginger ale – it’s less sweet and can also be spicy.

I like to think of ginger beer as ginger ale’s cooler, older sister. If you don’t drink, you should try it with lime juice. So good!

Why do they call it a “Moscow Mule”?

Supposedly, the drink got its name from its ingredients, as vodka was usually associated with the country of Russia (and Moscow is the capital of Russia), and the ginger beer gives the drink a kick like a mule would.

moscow mule drink ingredients with copper cups

What ingredients do I need for a Moscow Mule?

  • Vodka-While there are some variations that use gin for a Moscow Mule, vodka is the classic choice for this drink.
  • Ginger beer-This non-alcoholic soda gives the Moscow Mule its kick and comes in a variety of levels of “spicy” depending on the brand.
  • Lemon– Lime adds a sour layer to the drink and gives it a third note of a citrus flavor. You can try a lemon or orange instead of a variation, but lime is the classic choice.

How to make a classic Moscow Mule:

  1. In a copper mug or glass with ice, add 2 ounces of vodka.
  2. Juice half a lime in the mug and add the lime zest when it is done.
  3. Top the drink with 6 ounces of ginger beer.
  4. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve!
moscow mule drinks in copper cups

What type of vodka is best for a Moscow Mule?

Choosing a brand or type of alcohol for your Moscow Mule is mostly a preference-based decision, but if you want to be the most authentic, you can choose Smirnoff brand vodka since that is what was used in the original concoction.

What type of ginger beer is best for a Moscow Mule?

Ginger beer comes in varying degrees of ginger “spice” levels depending on the brand, so you can choose a milder or more intense flavor based on your preference for spice. Some of the options are:

The most spicy ginger beer: Goya ginger beer in Jamaican style being very spicy is a little harder to find in stores but is available online.

A Medium Spice Ginger Ale: Fever Tree brand is a solid but medium level spice option for ginger beer (and is easier to find in stores).

The lowest spice ginger ale: Parker’s Ginger Beer is a great option for “beginners” as it is a low spice option. Or you can also try one ginger beer that tend to be less spicy and slightly sweeter.

Best option for budgets: Gosling’s Story Ginger Beer is a solid option that’s easier to find in stores and gives you a good amount of ginger ale for the price.

moscow mule drinks in copper cups

Why do they serve Moscow Mules in copper mugs?

Part of the origin legend of the Moscow Mule, which says that the vodka seller and the ginger beer seller met with a woman who also had to empty her stock of copper mugsand the three of them came up with the drink components together.

Also the copper of the mug keeps the drink frosty as it is a very good conductor of temperature (much better than traditional glass cups would be) so it is a better choice when possible just to keep the temperature cooler for longer.

moscow mule drinks in copper cups

Can you make a non-alcoholic Moscow Mule?

Yes! Simply omit the vodka and fill the glass with ginger ale and lime over ice, or you can add a non-alcoholic vodka like this.

Make a tweak and turn your Moscow Mule into a…

Dark and Stormy: The difference between a Moscow Mule and a Dark and Stormy is that you substitute rum for the vodka to make it a different variation of the drink. It is slightly sweeter and really good.

Kentucky Mule: Also known as an “Irish Mule”, the difference between a Moscow Mule and a Kentucky Mule is that you substitute the bourbon for the vodka. Still a great choice and just comes down to what your favorite liqueurs are!

Be sure to check out some of our other favorites cocktailsalso!


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get the recipe
Get the recipe

Make the classic Moscow Mule cocktail with just 3 simple ingredients!

Cost $2

Yield 1

Prepare 5 mine

Total 5 mine

Instructions

  • Add 2 ounces of vodka to a copper mug or glass with ice.

  • Juice half a lime in the mug and add the lime zest when it is done.

  • Top the drink with 6 ounces of ginger beer.

  • Garnish with a lime wedge and serve!

Notes

  • Choosing a brand or type of alcohol for your Moscow Mule is mostly a preference-based decision, but if you want to be the most authentic, you can choose Smirnoff brand vodka, since that’s what was used in the original concoction.
  • For a non-alcoholic Moscow Mule, simply omit the vodka and fill the glass with ginger ale and lime over ice, or you can add a non-alcoholic vodka instead.

Nutrition

Nutrition facts

Classic Moscow Mule (only 3 ingredients!)

Amount per portion

% Daily Value*

* Percent daily values ​​are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Note: Nutrition is automatically calculated using Spoonacular for your convenience. Where applicable, we recommend using your own nutritional calculations.

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