A Moscow Mule is an alcoholic beverage made from vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. The delicious Moscow Mule is typically served in a copper or metal mug, which makes it extra frosty and refreshing.
What vodka goes best in a Moscow Mule? We have our favorite picks outlined below. We’ve also shared some fun Moscow Mule variations, and how you can switch things up with this delicious drink!
Absolut Elyx is made from winter wheat that is sourced in southern Sweden. The dry, cold winters and long, warm summers are ideal for producing this particular kind of wheat. Absolut Elyx is distilled using a vintage copper column still from 1921. This vodka has a nose of fresh bread with notes of white chocolate. Sipping this vodka, you’ll have hints of macadamia nuts, creamy cereal, and garnishes of white chocolate and baked bread. These flavors pair exceptionally well with ginger beer.
Made in the Netherlands, Ketel One is made from selected European wheat. The vodka smells of citrus and honey, which are key pairing notes with the lime in the Moscow Mule. It has a hint of cracked black pepper and fennel on the palate, which go fabulously with the ginger beer.
The Boyd & Blair distillery is located in Pittsburgh. The secret to their distilling process? They use champagne yeast to bring out the sweetness from the locally-sourced potatoes. The distiller uses only the “hearts” of the distillate to ensure a slightly sweet flavor. The result is a vodka that is soft and creamy. The spirit’s aroma brings notes of black cardamom, and the flavor profile includes soft baked flan. This is a great vodka to highlight the sweetness of your ginger beer—so make sure you choose your bubbly wisely!
Made and bottled in Latvia, Stolichnaya was introduced to the U.S. in 1938. It’s a grain-based (wheat and rye) vodka and is filtered through Russian birch charcoal and quartz sand. The result is a vodka that is clear and smooth, with hints of marshmallow, lemon, and orange peel aromas, and pastry frosting. It has the lingering taste of frosting and sugar dust. That sweetness pairs wonderfully with the ginger beer.
This one is crafted in Pekin, Illinois by a water sommelier, a chemist, and a professional bartender. Skyy is a clear, smooth vodka with a peppery finish and subtle saltiness. Flavor notes include mineral flavors, whipped cream, fennel, and powdered sugar. It has a nice tingle to it, which pairs excellently with ginger ale.
Cîroc has a higher price point, and depending on what you’re using to mix with it, that quality is begging to come through. Using Cîroc, you’ll want to mix with very light ginger ale—nothing too powerful. Unlike most other grain and potato vodkas, Cîroc is made from fine French grapes and distilled in the south of France. It has refined, citrus aromas, with a hint of flowers. The finish is delightful, with an almost Champagne-like lingering profile.
Looking to make the perfect Moscow Mule? Look no further! This is the classic Moscow Mule recipe.
You will need:
Serves 1. First, pour the vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer into an awesome mule mug. Add ice and garnish with a lime slice. Easy-peasy!
First, it’s important to note that ginger beer (or ginger ale) is NOT alcoholic. Secondly, ginger beer and ginger ale are similar, but not quite the same thing. Ginger ale tends to be sweeter, bubblier, and less cloudy. Moscow Mule drinks are best made with real ginger beer.
Not all ginger beers are made the same. Some are made with real ginger, and some are made with fake ginger flavor. Some have artificial sweeteners, and some use natural processes to ignite sweetness and bubbles.
You can switch the ginger beer for seltzer water (or fizzy water), but you’re sacrificing some flavor in the process. You can also switch things up by using lemon soda, lime soda, or cream soda instead of ginger beer in your Moscow Mule drink.
Moscow Mules are traditionally served in awesome copper mugs. Why is the drink served that way?
1. Copper keeps the drink cool. Copper has long been a favorite metal for cooks in the kitchen. It conducts heat and cold differently than other metals. Copper will immediately take on the temperature of the drink and keep it cold for a long time. Plus, the cup will make your hand cold, which is awesome on a hot summer day! You can definitely serve the drink in any glass you want, but copper is a great choice if you have the option. Remember: These glasses get sweaty, so be sure to use a coaster.
2. Tradition! The Moscow Mule may have been invented as a way to sell more vodka, ginger beer, and copper mugs sometime in the 1940s. Images of Hollywood stars drinking out of copper mugs started to make the rounds, and soon the fad took off.
How many calories are in a Moscow Mule depends greatly on the type of ginger beer or mixer you use to go with your vodka. A general rule of thumb is to estimate about 150 calories for your drink. An approximate breakdown is:
If you add simple syrup to your drink, figure about 50 calories for that. To keep your drink lower in calories, use less ginger beer and another squeeze of lime juice.
There are a ton of variations on the classic Moscow Mule! Try one of these change-aroos. (It’s fun to display these on a nice bar tray, especially with fun garnishes and your shaker, for house parties.)
A Mexican Mule variation: swap tequila for vodka, as above. But add some jalapeno peppers and basil leaves in a shaker before topping with ginger beer.