classic Moscow mule

The Perfect Moscow Mule Recipe: Refreshing and Easy to Make

Originally Posted On October 13, 2023 and Last Updated On

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Enjoy Our Easy Moscow Mule Recipe

Ever since Oprah told the world how amazing a Moscow Mule really is, the old drink has been making a comeback and can even be seen in shows like “Better Call Saul,” much like the Cosmopolitan cocktail once Sex in the City made it their “official” drink.

The Moscow Mule is a well-known cocktail composed of vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, often garnished with a lime slice and mint sprig.

History of the Mocow Mule and How it Came About

The precise genesis of the Moscow Mule remains shrouded in some mystery, as various accounts of its creation have emerged over the years. One popular narrative attributes its invention to John G. Martin and Jack Morgan, the proprietor of the British pub Cock ‘n’ Bull in Los Angeles, circa 1941.

According to this version, Martin and Morgan, endeavoring to promote Smirnoff vodka and rejuvenate the struggling pub, conceived the idea for this new cocktail.

To enhance its allure, they enlisted the assistance of a friend, Sophie Berezinski, who provided the distinctive copper mugs. The resulting concoction combined Smirnoff vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, served over ice in these iconic copper vessels, and thus, the Moscow Mule was born.

An alternate narrative posits that the cocktail was the brainchild of three acquaintances who frequented the Chatham bar in New York City.

Despite these disparate accounts of its origin, the Moscow Mule swiftly ascended to prominence and now stands as a beloved classic libation enjoyed worldwide. The affiliation with Smirnoff vodka significantly contributed to its rapid rise to fame, eventually establishing Smirnoff as the top-selling vodka in the United States.

Additionally, the drink found favor within Hollywood’s elite, further cementing its place in cocktail history.

old Woody Allen ad with Smirnoff and The Moscow Mule
old Woody Allen ad with Smirnoff and The Moscow Mule

An intriguing facet of the Moscow Mule’s historical tapestry revolves around the iconic copper mug in which it is traditionally served. Sophie Berezinski, an immigrant from Russia, was instrumental in designing the original copper mug, which has become synonymous with the cocktail. Her father previously operated the Moscow Copper Co., a copper factory in Russia.

John Martin, a luminary in his own right as the head of G.F. Heublein & Brothers, a prominent food and spirits importer, embarked on a nationwide campaign to promote Smirnoff vodka and popularize the Moscow Mule.

Martin’s strategy included asking bartenders to pose with the specialty copper mugs and a bottle of Smirnoff vodka while capturing Polaroid photographs, leaving one with the bartender for display.

Moscow Mule Recipe

Here’s my Moscow Mule recipe, it’s simple and traditional. But as always, adjust to your own tastes and even play around with the ingredients, after all, it’s your drink. No one will know!

Classic Moscow Mule Cocktail

Classic Moscow Mule Cocktail

Yield: 1 Drink
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes

The Moscow Mule is a delightful and classic cocktail known for its refreshing combination of vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. It's an excellent drink to choose and is always served in a copper mug.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Smirnoff vodka
  • 4-6 ounces ginger beer
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Ice
  • Lime wedges or wheels, for garnish
  • Fresh mint sprig, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill Your Copper Mug: The Moscow Mule is traditionally served in a copper mug, and chilling it in advance is recommended to keep the drink cold. Place the mug in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before you start preparing the cocktail.
  2. Gather Your Ingredients: Make sure you have all your ingredients ready, including the vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, ice, lime wedges, and mint sprig for garnish.
  3. Add Ice: Fill the chilled copper mug with ice. The ice will not only keep the drink cold but also help to dilute it slightly as it melts, which is a crucial aspect of balancing the flavors.
  4. Pour in Vodka: Pour 2 ounces of vodka over the ice in the copper mug. You can adjust the amount of vodka to your preference, but the classic recipe uses 2 ounces.
  5. Squeeze Lime Juice: Squeeze the juice of half a lime (approximately 1/2 ounce) into the mug. The fresh lime juice adds a tangy and citrusy element to the cocktail.
  6. Top with Ginger Beer: Slowly pour 4-6 ounces of ginger beer into the mug, depending on your desired level of sweetness and spiciness. The ginger beer is a crucial element of the Moscow Mule, so choose a high-quality brand with the right balance of flavors.
  7. Stir Gently: Use a stirring rod or a long spoon to gently stir the contents of the mug. This helps to mix the ingredients evenly and chill the cocktail.
  8. Garnish: Add a lime wedge or wheel to the rim of the mug for a pop of color and an extra hint of citrus. For a more aromatic experience, lightly slap a sprig of fresh mint to release its oils and place it on top of the drink as a garnish.
  9. Serve and Enjoy: Your Moscow Mule is now ready to be enjoyed. Sip it through a straw or directly from the mug, savoring the delightful combination of flavors.

Notes

  • Use a high-quality vodka to ensure a smooth and enjoyable Moscow Mule.
  • Experiment with different brands of ginger beer to find one that suits your taste preferences.
  • Ensure that your copper mug is food-safe and lined with another material (like stainless steel or nickel), as pure copper can react with acidic ingredients.
  • Don't skip the fresh lime juice; it's a crucial component that adds brightness to the cocktail.
  • For extra flair, you can use a lime wheel and a sprig of mint as both a garnish and a straw holder.

Nutrition Information
Yield 1 Serving Size 8 ounces
Amount Per Serving Calories 180 to 216Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gCarbohydrates 16 to 21g

Did you make this recipe?

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The Moscow Mule is actually a really simple drink to make — here is the basic ingredient list for a Moscow Mule:

Moscow Mule Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 4-6 ounces ginger beer
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Ice
  • Lime wedges or wheels, for garnish
  • Fresh mint sprig, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill Your Copper Mug: The Moscow Mule is traditionally served in a copper mug, and chilling it in advance is recommended to keep the drink cold. Place the mug in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before you start preparing the cocktail.
  2. Gather Your Ingredients: Make sure you have all your ingredients ready, including the vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, ice, lime wedges, and mint sprig for garnish.
  3. Add Ice: Fill the chilled copper mug with ice. The ice will not only keep the drink cold but also help to dilute it slightly as it melts, which is a crucial aspect of balancing the flavors.
  4. Pour in Vodka: Pour 2 ounces of vodka over the ice in the copper mug. You can adjust the amount of vodka to your preference, but the classic recipe uses 2 ounces.
  5. Squeeze Lime Juice: Squeeze the juice of half a lime (approximately 1/2 ounce) into the mug. The fresh lime juice adds a tangy and citrusy element to the cocktail.
  6. Top with Ginger Beer: Slowly pour 4-6 ounces of ginger beer into the mug, depending on your desired level of sweetness and spiciness. The ginger beer is a crucial element of the Moscow Mule, so choose a high-quality brand with the right balance of flavors.
  7. Stir Gently: Use a stirring rod or a long spoon to gently stir the contents of the mug. This helps to mix the ingredients evenly and chill the cocktail.
  8. Garnish: Add a lime wedge or wheel to the rim of the mug for a pop of color and an extra hint of citrus. For a more aromatic experience, lightly slap a sprig of fresh mint to release its oils and place it on top of the drink as a garnish.
  9. Serve and Enjoy: Your Moscow Mule is now ready to be enjoyed. Sip it through a straw or directly from the mug, savoring the delightful combination of flavors.

Pro Tips:

  • Use a high-quality vodka to ensure a smooth and enjoyable Moscow Mule.
  • Experiment with different brands of ginger beer to find one that suits your taste preferences.
  • Ensure that your copper mug is food-safe and lined with another material (like stainless steel or nickel), as pure copper can react with acidic ingredients.
  • Don’t skip the fresh lime juice; it’s a crucial component that adds brightness to the cocktail.
  • For extra flair, you can use a lime wheel and a sprig of mint as both a garnish and a straw holder.

Some people add sugar syrup, bitters, or various liqueurs but this is the no-frills traditional Moscow Mule recipe that devotees swear by.

bartender making a Classic Moscow Mule Cocktail

The Importance of a Great Ginger Beer!

Two things separate Mule pros from Mule newbies: getting the right ginger beer and mixing and serving the drink in a copper mug.

Choosing the right ginger beer plays a critical role in perfecting the Moscow Mule, and this consideration is laden with compelling reasons. The Moscow Mule, cherished for its masterful flavor fusion, thrives on the interplay of ginger beer’s spiciness and sweetness, intertwined with the zing of lime and the vodka’s crispness.

It’s imperative to meticulously select your ginger beer to safeguard against overshadowing or undermining the other integral elements in this timeless cocktail. While any ginger beer will work, real Mule aficionados swear by the Fever Tree ginger beer, which can be found in some grocery stores and supermarkets as well as online.

Moreover, the distinctive character of the Moscow Mule hinges on the ginger’s spiciness and warmth. The ginger beer should contribute a discernible spiciness without veering into the realm of overpowering heat, enriching the concoction with layers of complexity. The secret to achieving that delightful fiery kick, without tipping the balance towards excessive intensity, is in opting for a premium-quality ginger beer.

The ginger beer landscape is vast and varied in sweetness levels, necessitating a choice that aligns with your personal palate. While some revel in a sweeter Moscow Mule, others relish a drier rendition with less saccharine influence. Exploring a range of ginger beer options empowers you to pinpoint the precise sweetness level that perfectly complements your flavor preferences.

Connoisseurs of Moscow Mules hold in high regard ginger beers crafted with natural ingredients. Such products typically offer a more authentic, robust ginger essence by relying on genuine ginger root, spices, and natural sweeteners, instead of artificial flavorings or high-fructose corn syrup.

Additionally, ginger beer’s effervescence is pivotal to the Moscow Mule’s refreshing allure. A top-notch ginger beer must ensure effervescent vitality that endures throughout the enjoyment of the cocktail, as the Moscow Mule’s charm diminishes when the ginger beer loses its vivacity.

Moreover, the textural quality and mouthfeel of your chosen ginger beer wield significant influence over the overall cocktail experience. Opting for a ginger beer with a pleasing, subtly creamy texture can elevate the sensation of sipping a Moscow Mule to new heights.

Beyond taste and texture, aesthetics should not be disregarded. Many ginger beer brands are housed in visually appealing bottles or cans that contribute to the presentation and overall experience of your cocktail.

Lastly, maintaining brand consistency is paramount for cocktail enthusiasts. Once you discover a ginger beer that aligns harmoniously with your palate and enhances your Moscow Mule, loyalty to that brand ensures a steadfast and dependable route to achieving the desired flavor and equilibrium every single time you make this drink.

What’s With The Copper Mugs?

Careful selection of the ideal copper mug assumes a pivotal role in the art of perfecting the Moscow Mule, driven by a multitude of compelling reasons. First and foremost, the copper mug represents a venerable symbol of tradition and aesthetics intrinsic to the Moscow Mule’s essence.

It transcends mere functionality, encapsulating the very spirit of the cocktail. The timeless pairing of the frosted copper vessel with the drink’s vivid palette and signature embellishments augments the overall visual allure, preserving the authentic essence of the Moscow Mule.

Classic Moscow Mule in copper mug

Moreover, the copper mug excels as a conductor of temperature, particularly in the realm of cold. Properly chilled, it is proficient at preserving the Moscow Mule’s icy chill for an extended duration. The inherent coolness of the metal amplifies the refreshing character of the drink, rendering it an optimal choice for warm-weather occasions and the quintessential refreshment of summertime.

Furthermore, the copper mug plays a remarkable role in shaping the flavor profile of the Moscow Mule, owing to its temperature-regulating properties. The brisk, cool surface of the copper intensifies the beverage’s refreshing coolness, accentuating its spicy and zesty facets. This sensorial dimension heightens the overall pleasure of savoring a Moscow Mule.

Intriguingly, copper mugs offer a singular tactile experience, with their smooth, cool surface providing a gratifying and distinctive sensation as they come in contact with lips and hands. This tactile dimension adds depth and richness to the act of relishing a Moscow Mule.

Additionally, as time elapses, copper mugs embark on a fascinating journey through a natural process known as oxidation, yielding a unique patina. This patina imparts an age-worn and rustic aesthetic, bequeathing each mug with character and a narrative of its use.

While some love the lustrous, pristine look of new copper mugs, others hold a fondness for the aged and weathered appearance, appreciating the history encapsulated in each vessel.

Lastly, it is worth noting that copper boasts inherent antimicrobial properties, potentially contributing to a cleaner vessel for your Moscow Mule. Nevertheless, it is imperative to underline that while copper can inhibit the growth of specific microorganisms, it should not supplant rigorous cleaning and hygiene practices.

Whether you lean toward the lustrous novelty or the aged, patinated charm, the copper mug constitutes an indispensable element that elevates the Moscow Mule from a mere libation to an authentic and captivating experience.

Sit back and enjoy this classy drink. That’s it; you’re done and the proud owner of a Moscow Mule!

What are the key ingredients for a Moscow Mule?

The key ingredients for a Moscow Mule are vodka, ginger beer, and fresh lime juice.

Can I make a non-alcoholic Moscow Mule?

Yes, you can make a non-alcoholic Moscow Mule by replacing the vodka with ginger beer and adding a bit more lime juice for flavor.

Do I need special copper mugs for serving?

While not necessary, special copper mugs are often used for serving Moscow Mules and are the signature ‘glass’ of the cocktail. They help keep the drink cold and add a lot to the presentation.

What variations of the Moscow Mule can I try?

You can try variations like the Kentucky Mule (using bourbon), Mexican Mule (tequila), or even fruit-infused Moscow Mules with flavors like raspberry or pineapple.

Are there any garnish recommendations?

Garnish with a lime wheel or wedge and a sprig of fresh mint for a refreshing touch.

About the Author

  • Bill Allen

    I'm Bill Allen, the guy behind this site. I've been a bartender, bar owner and sitting on both sides of a bar for almost 35 years, so I have some experience in the whole mixology scene. And now I'm just building out my site with as much helpful content as I can share with you.

    https://upscaledrinks.com/ billyallen@hotmail.com Allen Bill

2 comments

  1. Great tips and agreed on Fever Tree, it is the best to use definitely! Can’t wait to try your recipe!

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