Your Ultimate Guide to Making the Best Moscow Mule

Moscow Mules in two copper mugs, garnished with lime wedges and mint.
Your tastebuds will thank you!.

JulijaDmitrijeva/Getty Images

There's a reason why the Moscow Mule has remained a favorite among the drinking crowd for decades. It includes citrus, spice, and everything nice, after all. And by "everything nice," we absolutely mean vodka. Consisting of only three ingredients, the Moscow Mule is an easy-to-make cocktail that's almost always served in a copper mug with plenty of ice for endlessly refreshing sips.

While the exact origin of the Moscow Mule may vary a tad depending on who's telling the story, it's widely believed that the cocktail was created out of a need to sell two products: vodka and ginger beer. Specifically, Smirnoff vodka and Cock n' Bull Ginger Beer. Up until the creation of the Moscow Mule decades ago, the two beverages did not do terribly well with sales in the U.S.

Even though the Moscow Mule is a fairly easy cocktail to make, having the right ingredients on hand and nailing the correct method are super important. If any of this is intimidating, below you'll find a series of steps that will guide you in making your tastiest Moscow Mule yet.

01 of 04

Ingredients Are Key

First thing's first, you'll need a great vodka for your Moscow Mule. While you can absolutely choose a flavored vodka for added flair and flavor, regular vodka is the preferred choice. With lime and ginger beer serving as the only other ingredients, opt for a vodka with a crisp taste and smooth mouth feel. If you prefer local spirits, the Austin, Texas-based Tito's Handmade Vodka is a worthy option. And for non-domestic vodkas, Russian Standard Vodka, Belvedere Vodka, Ketel One Vodka and Grey Goose are all great picks.

With ginger beer serving as a key ingredient in many craft cocktails, there's now plenty of ginger beer brands to choose from. Fever-Tree's ginger beer is a solid go-to for mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts.

You'll also need a few limes for your fresh lime juice. And be sure to save a lime wedge for your garnish.

And if vodka isn't your thing, simply swap out vodka for whisky to create the equally delicious Kentucky Mule.

02 of 04

Grab A Copper Mug

There are few bar tools that are necessary to create a Moscow Mule, but a copper mug is absolutely one of them. For those curious, the copper mug is the vessel used for a Moscow Mule for a pretty simple reason. The copper keeps whatever cold beverage is in your cup icy cold until just about the last sip. When shopping for a copper mug(s), opt for good quality and take careful note of cleaning/care directions.

03 of 04

Mix It Up

Now that you have your ingredients and your copper mug, it's time to build your Moscow Mule. First off, grab your copper mug and pour 1.5 oz. of vodka and 0.5 oz. of fresh lime juice. Add a hearty helping of ice and stir. Top off your cocktail with a generous pour of ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge.

For a seasonal Moscow Mule, try adding fresh cranberries, oranges, pomegranates or other fruits that are in season.

If you find that your traditional Moscow Mule lacks a certain "je ne said quoi," you can liven it up with a few simple adjustments. Rather than a lime wedge, you can garnish your Moscow Mule with a lime peel for a more sophisticated look.

And instead of a copper mug, you can use another type of copper cup. The Absolut Elyx online boutique is known for its line of whimsical copper barware. They even sell a set of vintage, copper-plated cocktail coupes that would be perfect for an elevated Moscow Mule.

04 of 04

The Perfect Pairing

What's a great cocktail without great food? With a mix of citrus and spice, and the flavor profiles your vodka of choice brings about, the Moscow Mule pairs well with a variety of foods. If you're in need of delicious options for pairing, consider starting off with Asian fare. The spice from the ginger beer makes the Moscow Mule ideal for pairing with Asian dishes that are made using ginger and other spices. Think curry-based dishes or paneer butter masala.

Related Stories