Classic Moscow Mule

Light and citrusy, a Classic Moscow Mule cocktail makes an easy and delicious sipper. This vodka mixed drink is easy to make at home with 3 simple Moscow mule ingredients, and it comes together in less than 5 minutes. Makes 1 drink.

Love a good mule? Me, too. I’ve written down all my tips and tricks for mixing them at home in this Ultimate Guide of How to Make Moscow Mules.

Three glasses holding Classic Moscow Mule cocktails are shown on a blue towel

My pal, Julie from the site Bunsen Burner Bakery, does a “Year of the {certain type of recipe}” every year, featuring a certain type of recipe on her site every month. In 2019, she highlighted all kinds of Yeast Breads, and I drooled all year long.

And this year, I’m following her year… but with a monthly cocktail instead.

Since y’all seem to love my MOSCOW MULES so much, I figured that this year can and should be the Year of the Moscow Mule… because the mule is a classic cocktail we should all know how to make at home.

Prepare yourself, friend. You’re in for 12 (!!!) new Moscow Mule cocktail recipes on TSP, and we’re kicking off the year with the original. Because somehow in all my adaptations, I’ve never thought to serve y’all the classic cocktail recipe.

More Moscow Mule recipes you should check out that are a part of the YEAR of the MULE: Raspberry Moscow MuleBlood Orange Mocktail Mule | Irish Mule | Mexican MuleKentucky MuleFrozen Moscow Mule

Looking for a different type of cocktail? Check out my Drinks recipe index.

A copper mug sits on a marble countertop with drink ingredients scattered around it

What you’ll need to make a Moscow Mule

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In addition to these tools, you’re going to need a few Moscow Mule ingredients, too:

  • Ginger beer—the spicy ginger in this bubbly drink gives our mule its kick! Please know that ginger beer is not the same thing as ginger ale. It’s actually brewed, and it’s similar to kombucha in the way it’s made. While it has the name beer as a part of it, it doesn’t classify as an alcohol because the levels of alcohol are super low.
  • Vodka—we don’t need a fancy vodka to make this mixed drink. However, we do need a drinkable vodka, so choose a brand that you know and love or get a worker at your local liquor store to offer a suggestion of a drinkable brand that’s not too expensive.
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice—the shelf-stable bottled stuff simply won’t cut it for a homemade Moscow Mule. Squeeze it yourself… you just need a single lime for this recipe!
A collage of four images showing what order to add ingredients to a Moscow Mule copper mug

How to make a Classic Moscow Mule

Add ice to your copper mug (or whatever glass you’re using to serve your drink in.)

Measure out the ingredients, then pour into the mug. That means measuring out the ginger beer and vodka. Squeeze in the lime juice, too. (If you’re using a citrus reamer, use a fine mesh strainer to catch potential seeds and pulp that are pushed out of the lime.)

If you’re feeling fancy or need to make more than one at a time, you can pour the Moscow mule ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake and pour into a mug with ice.

Stir, and serve with a lime wedge.

Close up of a copper mug holding a Moscow Mule, garnished with a lime, on a blue towel

Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

These vodka ginger beer drinks are the perfect party sipper because they only require three ingredients, and those ingredients are pretty easy to prep in bulk. They’re also excellent for a hot summer day.

If you’re going to host people and offer Moscow Mules, I suggest making a “Mule Bar” on a surface in your kitchen or living room. Why? So guests can measure out their ingredients and stir up their drinks without needing your assistance! And since this cocktail is so simple to make, your guests can definitely do this, too.

Here are a few things to do to make life easier on you:

  • One to two hours before the party, squeeze the limes and get that lime juice ready. I don’t recommend using shelf stable lime juice, as it’s not nearly as fresh-tasting. Keep in mind that if you squeeze the limes earlier that the juice will become more potent.
  • Quarter your limes in advance, too. Keep ‘em in a food storage container in the fridge for up to a few days before your gathering.
  • Set out measuring tools for your guests on the Mule Bar.
  • Print out the Moscow mule ingredients and measurements, and place them in a frame (or in a place on the bar where spilled ingredients won’t bother them.)

If you don’t want to do a mule bar, consider turning this drink into a Moscow Mule Pitcher!

Overhead of three drinks on a blue towel, with limes scattered around them

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the story behind the Moscow Mule?

No one knows the true story behind the Moscow Mule, but here is the story I’ve seen reiterated several times online: In the 1940s, Americans didn’t like vodka and subsequently, wouldn’t drink it.

The story goes that a bartender at an L.A. restaurant made this drink after listening to three businessmen—a vodka maker, a ginger beer maker and a copper mug maker—complain about no one using their products. He also might’ve had an excess of all three. *shrugs*

Whatever actually happened resulted in a delicious sipper, traditionally served in a copper mug. (But please know that if you don’t have a copper mug, you can still enjoy one of these in a regular cocktail glass.)

Why is this drink called a Moscow Mule?

I’ve read that the name was decided at random. I’ve also read that Moscow was used because Russians are known for their vodka. (Fun fact: Did you know the translation of vodka is “little water?” I did not!)

Mule could have been chosen because the spicy ginger beer gives the drink a kick.

Does anyone really know? NOPE. And does it really matter? No, though it’s fun to read up on your favorite cocktails.

Can I make a mule without alcohol?

YES! I was delighted to realize that previous twists on the Moscow Mule are delicious booze-free, and this one is the same. Leave out the vodka, mix up the other ingredients, then you’re good to go.

What kind of ginger beer do you recommend?

We love, love, love Fever Tree’s ginger beer because it has some major heat to it. If you’re not into a ginger beer that has more spice, the Sprouts Farmers Market brand is delicious, too.

What is the best vodka for a Moscow Mule?

My advice is to use your favorite vodka to make these mules. I do not recommend using the cheapest vodka that you can find, as that doesn’t taste nearly as good as a drinking vodka.

Our favorite vodka brand is Tito’s.

Three Moscow Mules are shown on a blue towel, with Pinterest text

Quick tips for making homemade Moscow Mules

  • Not a fan of vodka? Use gin instead and make a Gin Gin Mule!
  • Quarter your limes in advance, and squeeze them an hour beforehand… but don’t store the freshly squeezed juice in the fridge for days. In my opinion, it starts to taste really strong and kind of icky.
  • Want to make this classic mule fancier? Try out Apple Pie Moscow Mule, Gingerbread Mule or Ginger Pomegranate Mules.
Three glasses holding Classic Moscow Mule cocktails are shown on a blue towel
Yield: 1 drink

Classic Moscow Mule

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Light and citrusy, a Classic Moscow Mule cocktail makes an easy and delicious sipper. Calling for ginger beer, vodka and freshly squeezed lime juice, this mixed drink is easy to make at home.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. ginger beer
  • 1 ½ oz. vodka
  • ½ oz. lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • Ice, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a copper mug (or your favorite cocktail glass), measure out the ginger beer, vodka and lime juice.
  2. Add ice, and stir with a cocktail spoon.
  3. Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy immediately!

Notes

If you like your drinks a little stronger, use 3 ½ oz. of ginger beer instead of 4 to give your drink a little more of a punch!

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

1 drink

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 163Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 10mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 0gSugar: 16gProtein: 0g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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