Moscow Mules 101: The Ultimate Guide of Everything Moscow Mule

Want to mix Moscow Mules at home? This guide has all the information that you need: from the tools to have, popular ingredients, tips and tricks AND 12+ Moscow Mule recipes to make this classic cocktail your own.

Three copper mugs sitting on a blue and white striped towel hold Moscow mules garnished with lime wedges on marble with a pitcher behind them

We’ve spend an entire year talking about Moscow Mules and all kinds of variations on them, so to finish off the year strong, I wanted to share my ultimate guide to making the best Mule!

In this guide, you’ll find the tools you absolutely need to have on hand for any type of Moscow Mule, as well as popular ingredients you might find.

Also, if you ever wanted to learn my best tips and tricks for making Moscow Mules, they’re here, too, along with the list of mules made this year, as well as a few extras.

What is a Moscow mule?

It is a simple vodka mixed drink made with three simple ingredients.

Moscow mule history:

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.

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    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.

    The Year of the Mule recipes: Classic Moscow Mule | Blood Orange Mocktail Mule | Raspberry Moscow Mule | Irish Mule | Kentucky Mule | Mexican Mule | Gin Gin Mule | Frozen Moscow Mule | Dark and Stormy (Rum Moscow Mule) | Pumpkin Spice Mule | Apple Cider Moscow Mule | Moscow Mule Pitcher | Cranberry Moscow Mule (Yule Mule)

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      What you need to make a mule:

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      Moscow Mule cups:

      Moscow Mules are traditionally served in copper mugs.

      Invest in a set of the classic smooth mugs like I have or these gorgeous hammered mugs.

      Mule ingredients:

      Depending on the recipe you’re making, you will need a variation on the following. But a classic Moscow Mule involves…

      • Vodka
      • Ginger beer
      • Fresh lime juice

      What vodka should I use in a Moscow Mule?

      Whenever making cocktails, I always, always, always suggest using a good quality liquor. The same goes for a vodka in this cocktail.

      Tito’s is our hands-down favorite. (Texas brands for the win!)

      However, there are so many excellent quality vodkas out there that you probably have one hanging out in your home already, so use what you’ve got on hand, so long as it’s a decent quality.

      What ginger beer should I use in a Moscow Mule?

      Ginger beer is integral to this classic vodka drink, and it’s a piece of every riff I’ve ever seen on the classic drink, too.

      Fun fact: Ginger beer isn’t a beer in the sense that we think of beer. In fact, it’s not considered an alcoholic beverage because there is so little alcohol present. Ginger beer is brewed like a kombucha, so there is a very small amount of alcohol present when all is said and done.

      What brand is our favorite? Fever Tree, hands-down, because it’s got a bit of spice to it.

      What kind of lime juice should I use in a Moscow Mule?

      I’m of the mindset that you’re going to need freshly squeezed lime juice. Which means you’ll need to do it yourself or purchase freshly squeezed, cold press lime juice from the refrigerated section of your grocer’s store. (You’ll generally find the juices next to the pre-cut fruit.)

      Please, please, please do not purchase the shelf-stable lime juice in a lime-shaped bottle. The taste of your cocktail will not be the same.

      If you’re going to juice the limes yourself, here are a few tips for doing that to get the most yield:

      • You’ll get 1-2 oz. of juice per lime, depending on the size of the lime.
      • Room temperature limes will yield the most juice. If you keep yours in the fridge, pop the lime(s) into the microwave and nuke for 10-20 seconds. This will help get the juices running.
      • Use a citrus juicer or reamer (affiliate links) to get the most juice from your lime(s). I like to juice mine into a liquid measuring cup (affiliate link) that has a fine mesh strainer (affiliate link) fitted onto it to ensure no lime pulp or seeds make it into my final drink.

      What ingredients do I need if I’m going to make a twist on this classic vodka drink?

      The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

      Twists on Moscow Mules are so much fun and add some unique flavors in with the ginger-lime-vodka combination.

      If you’re making a twist, you’ll likely need…

      • Fruit juice, depending on the mule
      • Simple syrup
      • Additional fruit/herb garnishes

      If you’re looking for some recipes for that, keep scrolling because I’ve listed every Mule we’ve ever made for this site!

      Garnishes for Moscow Mules

      This is all dependent on what kind of mule recipe you’re making, but here are a few ideas:

      • Lime wheels or wedges
      • Fresh fruit
      • Fresh herbs, like mint, parsley, basil, etc.

      Tips and Tricks to the best homemade Mules

      • Use good quality vodka or liquor if you’re making a riff on a classic, like an Irish Mule, Mexican Mule, Gin Gin Mule or a Kentucky Mule.
      • Use a good quality ginger beer, too. We’ve tasted a lot of ginger beer in our time, and some veer from very sweet to tart and spicy. Fever Tree is still our favorite because it has an element of heat.
      • When mixing, taste as you go. Some lime juice is more tart than others, and you might need to sweeten it with some simple syrup.

      Up your cocktail game!

      Subscribe for a FREE Mixed Drinks Cookbook to mix fast, easy and delicious drinks at home!

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        Classic Moscow Mules

        Looking for the classic recipe? We've got a few for you, depending on your mood.

        Close up of a copper mug holding a Moscow Mule, garnished with a lime, on a blue towel
        Classic Moscow Mule
        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.
        Get the Recipe
        Three copper mugs sitting on a blue and white striped towel hold Moscow mules garnished with lime wedges on marble with a pitcher behind them
        Moscow Mule Pitcher
        A Moscow Mule Pitcher takes the classic cocktail and makes it into a batch. This light, citrusy pitcher drink recipe is easy to make and simple to put together for a crowd.
        Get the Recipe
        A glass of a Frozen Mule sits on a marble counter
        Frozen Moscow Mule
        Cool off on a hot day with a gingery, refreshing Frozen Mule. Made with classic Moscow Mule ingredients, this slushy cocktail is easy to sip.
        Get the Recipe

        Twists on the Classic Mule

        Looking for a take on the classic that's a little different? We've got a LOT of ideas for you, featuring fresh fruits and veggies.

        Two glasses of Raspberry Moscow Mules sit on a marble countertop, with a shaker and limes
        Raspberry Moscow Mule
        Tart with a hint of sweetness, the Raspberry Moscow Mule is beautifully balanced. Calling for fresh raspberry puree and a few other ingredients, this mixed drink is easy to make at home.
        Get the Recipe
        A glass holds a mixed Strawberry Moscow Mule, surrounded by strawberries and mint
        Strawberry Moscow Mule
        Sweet and a little tart, this Strawberry Moscow Mule recipe is a twist on the classic cocktail! Calling for fresh strawberries, lime juice, ginger beer and vodka, this mixed drink is perfect for the spring and summertime. It can easily be made into a non-alcoholic drink for kids and non-drinkers to enjoy, too.
        Get the Recipe
        Two Peach Moscow Mule sit on a marble background, surrounded by peach slices and limes
        Peach Moscow Mule
        Celebrate summertime by mixing up a Peach Moscow Mule! Fresh peach puree serves as the base for this cocktail. Sweet, but not too sweet, this fun twist on a classic Moscow Mule tastes like a slice of peach pie on a hot day.
        Get the Recipe
        Two Apple Cider Moscow Mules sit on a marble background, surrounded by apples, lime slices and cinnamon
        Apple Cider Moscow Mule
        Celebrate fall weather and flavors by mixing up an Apple Cider Moscow Mule! Sweet, but not too sweet, this autumnal twist on a classic Moscow Mule tastes like a slice of apple pie.
        Get the Recipe
        Three Pumpkin Mules, garnished with cinnamon sticks and lime wedges, surrounded by limes, pumpkin and a jigger on marble
        Pumpkin Spice Mule
        Singing with warming spices, the Pumpkin Spice Moscow Mule is a spicy, crisp drink. This twist on a classic cocktail gets fall flavors from homemade pumpkin spice syrup.
        Get the Recipe
        Three Yule Mules, garnished with fresh cranberries, lime wedges and rosemary sprigs, sit on a silver platter
        Cranberry Moscow Mule (Yule Mule)
        This Cranberry Moscow Mule is a lovely Christmas sipper. Also known as a Yule Mule, this twist on the classic cocktail highlights cranberry juice!
        Get the Recipe
        three gingerbread mules on a plate with polka dot napkins
        Gingerbread Mule
        Get in the holiday spirit by mixing up a spicy Gingerbread Mule. This cocktail starts with a ginger/cinnamon-infused vodka and a molasses simple syrup. With spice from the ginger, sweetness from the molasses, warmth from the cinnamon and acid from the lime juice, the Gingerbread Mule is balanced and spicy-sweet delicious!
        Get the Recipe
        ginger pomegranate mules with a fresh pomegranate
        Ginger Pomegranate Mules
        Prepare for the upcoming holidays by mixing up a cocktail with some ginger zing! Ginger Pomegranate Mules make the perfect seasonal drink for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
        Get the Recipe

        Mules Made with Other Alcohols

        Moscow Mules aren't just for vodka lovers! Here are a few variations that use other liquors to make fun, festive drinks.

        A copper mug holding an Irish Whiskey Moscow Mule sits on a marble background, surrounded by ingredients
        Irish Mule
        Smooth and flavorful with a bit of spice, this Irish Mule recipe is a perfect St. Patrick’s Day mixed drink. This classic cocktail is made with simple ingredients that get a twist from Irish whiskey.
        Get the Recipe
        Two Dark and Stormy Drinks sit on marble surrounded by ice cubes, lime wedges and a gold jigger
        Dark and Stormy (Rum Moscow Mule)
        Singing with spicy ginger and toasty caramel notes, the Dark and Stormy Rum Moscow Mule is a refreshing drink. This twist on a classic cocktail is made with simple ingredients that get a flavorful twist from dark rum.
        Get the Recipe
        Overhead image of three Cranberry Mules on a white serving platter
        Spiced Rum Cranberry Mule
        The Cranberry Mule is a fun take on the more traditional Moscow Mule. Perfect as a Thanksgiving cocktail, this drink calls for cranberry, ginger beer and spiced rum, then is topped with sugared cranberries as garnish.
        Get the Recipe
        A brown tray holds two copper mugs of Mexican Mules, with ice and lime wedges around them
        Mexican Mule
        Smooth and balanced, this Mexican Mule recipe is a tasty tequila cocktail to make for any gathering. Made with simple ingredients, this mixed drink is a twist on a classic Moscow Mule because it calls for 100% blue agave tequila.
        Get the Recipe
        Two copper mugs garnished with lime rounds and mint are shown in a brown serving tray holding Gin Gin Mules
        Gin Gin Mule
        Floral and zesty with a bit of zing, the Gin Gin Mule is a perfect summertime drink. This twist on a classic Moscow Mule calls for gin instead of vodka.
        Get the Recipe
        A silver platter holds two copper mugs holding Kentucky Bourbon Mules
        Kentucky Mule
        Singing with oak and spicy ginger, the Kentucky Mule is a perfect Derby Day drink. This classic cocktail is made with simple ingredients gets a twist from bourbon.
        Get the Recipe

        Mocktail Mules and Mules without Alcohol

        Because you don't need alcohol to enjoy a good mule drink!

        Two Blood Orange Mocktail Mules sit on a yellow napkin on a silver platter, surrounded by sliced citrus
        Blood Orange Mocktail Mule
        Light and bubbly, Blood Orange Mocktail Mules make a delightful sipper to serve during the winter months. Made with a few simple ingredients, this nonalcoholic drink is perfect for sharing.
        Get the Recipe
        A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

        About the Author:

        Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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