Moscow Mule

Written By Alexandra Vaughn 

Moscow mule

Photo: David Vaughn

Deliciously refreshing and simple to make, this slightly citrusy, slightly spicy, super fizzy cocktail is sure to be a hit for any occasion. The recipe calls for vodka, lime juice and ginger beer and is traditionally served in a copper mug.

Moscow Mule


1 1/2 oz vodka

3/4 oz triple sec

1/2 oz lime juice

1/4 oz cranberry juice

garnish: lime wheel


Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and double strain into martini glass. Garnish with lime wheel.


There are 2 main claims to the origin of the Mule. Possibly the most popular belief is that the drink was created circa 1941 when Cock 'n' Bull owner, Jack Morgan, arrived at Chatham Hotel in New York City carrying a case of his crafted ginger beer. Joining him would be John G. Martin, president of G.F. Heublein Brothers Inc. (also known as Heublein Spirits: an American Alcoholic beverage distributor in the 20th century) and Rudolph Kunett, president of the Pierre Smirnoff, Heublein’s vodka division. 

I bet you can guess where this story is headed! While siping on vodka, the idea to combine the 2 ingredients seemed obvious. Lemons, mugs and ice were procured and the potion did not disappoint. 

Another version is that a bartender at the Cock n' Bull Bar Restaurant when a bartender was trying to clear out old inventory. After serving it to the actor Broderick Crawford the drink became tremendously popular.

In 2022 some bars across America and Canada began referring to the cocktail as the "Kyiv mule" - referring to the Ukrainian capital - in protest of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Moscow mule

Photo: David Vaughn


There are endless possibilities when it comes to different flavors for a mule. You can add fresh herbs or muddle fruit. Purees and liqueurs are often added for more complex flavors. Here's a list of some of the more popular variations on the Moscow Mule:

Berlin Mule: Jagermeister

Bohemian Mule: Absinthe

Dead Man's Mule: Absinthe & Cinnamon Schnapps

London or Munich Mule: Gin

Glasgow Mule: Scotch and St Germain

Irish Mule: Irish Whiskey

Jamaican Mule: Spiced Rum

Kentucky Mule: Bourbon

Mexican Mule: Tequila

Mezcal Mule: Mezcal

New Orleans Mule: Bourbon & Coffee Liqueur

Oslo Mule: Akvavit

Southern Mule: Southern Comfort

Tennessee Mule: Tennessee Whiskey

Tuscan Mule: Tuaca

The Copper Mug

Why use a copper mug? Well, it's functional for one. People have been using copper mugs as drinking vessels for thousands of years. Not only does a copper mug just look cool, its temperature transferring properties insulate the beverage inside. Some even claim this adds to the fizziness of the ginger beer. 

However, the ingredients of a mule are considered acidic and over time, that acid can erode a traditional copper mug. In 2007 the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division issued a statement declaring pure copper mugs unsafe in the use of acidic drinks. Not to worry, if this concerns you, simply look for copper mugs that are lined on the interior with stainless steel.

Regardless, we can't see ourselves drinking a Mule out of any other vessel! So grab your mug, some ginger beer and whatever liquor suits your taste and get to mixing!