The Moscow Mule has been a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts since its invention way back in the 1940s when a Russian immigrant trying to unload 2,000 copper mugs walked into the Cock ’n’ Bull Pub. At that pub sat the pub owner, and the owner of the Smirnoff Vodka company, both of whom were struggling to come up with ways to save their respective businesses.
With the copper mug, they set out to create a new cocktail. After some trial and error, the Moscow Mule was born. The simple formula of vodka, lime, and ginger beer, and ice was served in a copper mug. The mug keeps the drink perfectly chilled, made this a flavorful and instantly popular drink that’s remained virtually unchanged for decades, which speaks to its popularity.
However, even with cocktail staples like the Moscow Mule, people sometimes want to change things up to add new excitement to an old standby.
There are many variations you can make based on the Mule. Here, we take a look at five of the most popular ways you can mix up the Moscow Mule and still enjoy the benefits of a chilled, relaxing beverage.
Substitute Bourbon for Vodka
While the Moscow Mule’s centerpiece is vodka, you can change things up by substituting bourbon in its place. This drink (sometimes called the Kentucky Mule) is a wonderful change that’s refreshing on those lazy summer evenings. The ingredients of this drink are identical to that of the Moscow Mule, with the only difference being substituting bourbon for the vodka, which gives the drink a sweeter flavor. Also, if you really want to spice things up, try a stronger ginger beer for an added kick. To make a Kentucky Mule, take 2 ounces of bourbon, .5 ounces of lime juice, and put them into a copper mug along with ice. Then add your ginger beer and garnish with a lime wedge. Note: for this drink, you can either use crushed or cubed ice. Lastly, some people prefer a hint of mint with this drink. If you choose to add that, simply bruise a sprig of mint in your hands and add that to your garnish.
Switch the Vodka Out for Gin
The Gin Gin Mule, as the name implies, substitutes gin for the vodka as the main spirit. This variation of the drink can be traced back to the UK where gin and ginger beer are favorites among the drinking population. To make this drink, it’s recommended you use a London Dry gin such as Beefeater or Tanqueray. Fresh mint leaves make this a minty drink that goes down smooth. Also, you can serve this drink in the traditional copper mug or a highball glass, whichever you prefer. Preparation of the Gin Gin Mule is simple; take .5 ounces of lime juice and combine that with five fresh mint leaves in the bottom of your copper mug or a Collins glass if you like. Muddle these ingredients together then add your gin and ice. Stir until chilled. Finally, add in your ginger beer, and garnish with mint and a lime wedge.
Make it a Mexican Mule
If you really want a change of pace, try a Mexican Mule. This variation of the drink uses tequila in place of vodka and is capped off with fresh lime juice, making this a perfect drink to cool you down on a hot day. This refreshing drink is simple to make. Use your copper mug or a Collins glass if you prefer. Fill with ice and then add in 2 ounces of tequila, .5 ounces of lime juice, and ginger beer. Stir for about 5 seconds and garnish with a wedge of lime.
Heat it up With a Spicy Mule
To add a real kick and spice to your drink, the Spicy Mule is a perfect choice. This variation of the Moscow Mule retains the vodka but adds jalapeño peppers for a drink that kicks you in the butt in more ways than one. What’s special about this drink is how well the hot peppers play with the ginger. While many of these variations are meant to cool you down, this one is designed to make you sweat. To make this drink, take thin slices of peppers along with lime juice and orange liqueur and muddle in your copper mug or you can use a Collins glass if you like. Add in your ice and stir in the vodka and ginger beer. Finally, garnish with a slice or two of peppers and serve. The combination of flavors and spice are a real treat for your taste buds.
Add a Hint of Mint and Berries
Another favorite variation on the Moscow Mule is the Garden Mule. What makes this drink so special is the addition of fresh blueberries, cucumber, and mint for one of the most refreshing summertime cocktails you’ll ever have. To make this drink, use four slices of cucumber, 16 blueberries, six mint leaves plus a sprig for garnish, 2 ounces of vodka, 1 ounce of lime juice, 4 ounces of ginger beer and one piece of candied ginger. The cucumber, eight blueberries and mint leaves are placed into the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Muddle these ingredients until they’re fully crushed. Add ice, vodka, and lime. Shake for approximately 12 seconds. When finished, fill your copper mug with ice then strain the contents of the shaker into your mug. Add in your ginger beer and blueberries. For garnish, add in a piece of candied ginger stuck on a toothpick along with a sprig of mint. This drink goes well with those summer get-togethers in the backyard where you just want to sit down, relax, and enjoy each other’s company.
The Moscow Mule has become a staple among cocktail drinkers due to its refreshing taste and the copper mug that keeps everything perfectly chilled. It’s the perfect cocktail for when you want to relax after a long day, and there are a wide range of variations on this popular drink that will complement whatever mood or atmosphere you happen to be in.