What’s in a Moscow Mule? Vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice come together to make this classic cocktail. And of course, don’t forget the mint and copper Moscow Mule mugs!
Psst. You can use your copper mugs for our homemade eggnog cocktail as well!
The Moscow Mule Cocktail
In the early 1940’s Cock ‘n’ Bull ginger beer met Vodka and, with a squeeze of lime, the popular cocktail was born. Not only was it invented, it put Smirnoff on the map! But why these two beverages?
It seems that Cock ‘n’ Bull’s bartender was having trouble selling two of the Moscow Mule ingredients. Ginger beer and vodka. Combining the two with some lime gave us the Moscow Mule recipe we enjoy today.
Traditionally it is served in a stainless steel lined copper mug. Why is it lined? Because the acidity in lemons can cause solid copper to leech into the drink at toxic levels! Today’s copper mugs are safe and insulate your Moscow Mule, so you can enjoy your frosty beverage.
Where did it get its name?
This drink is a type of “buck”, or mule, a drink that includes either ginger ale or ginger beer, citrus, and a base liquor. The copper mugs that originally held this beverage were brought over from Russia. They were purchased by Cock ‘n’ Bull because they wanted a unique vessel to help the cocktail stand out in the crowd.
What you need to make this drink:
Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable version at the end of this post.
- Ice cubes
- Juice from 1/2 lime (approximately 1/2 oz lime juice)
- Ginger beer
- Lime wheels and mint for garnish
How to Make a Moscow Mule
These step by step photos and instructions are here to help you visualize how to make this recipe. Please scroll down to simply print out the recipe!
- Start with a copper mug that has been filled with ice.
- Pour the vodka over the ice in the mug.
- Squeeze the fresh lime juice into the mug.
- Top with ginger beer, filling mug to the top.
- Garnish with a lime wheel and fresh mint leaves.
Did you know?
The copper mug became the popular vessel for this drink because of John Martin. Martin was one of the drink’s creators. He traveled the country using them to market the new drink and sell Smirnoff vodka. In his travels, he often asked bartenders to pose for a Polaroid with a mug and bottle of vodka.
He would take one photo with him and leave the other for the bartender to display. He then took each photo that he kept and put them into a collection. Martin would show them to the next bartender to prove the popularity of the drink. Quite a marketing move!
More cocktails you will love:
As I mentioned above, Smirnoff was put on the map with this cocktail. But there are so many more! Here are a couple variations of the Moscow Mule as well as a few of our favorite vodka cocktails.
- Kentucky Mule – This variation uses Bourbon whiskey instead of vodka.
- Apple Pie Moscow Mule – Pretty sure the title of this cocktail is self-explanatory, yum!
- Bloody Mary – Great for a hangover, but enjoyable any time of the day.
- Cosmopolitan – This is one of my personal favorites to have with friends!
- Appletini – It doesn’t have to be fall to enjoy this beautiful green martini.
- Screwdriver – You can’t get more well known than the screwdriver, it’s a classic!
- Long Island Iced Tea – Another true classic, but this one really packs a punch!
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- Ice cubes
- 2 oz vodka
- 1/2 oz lime juice juice from 1/2 lime
- 4 oz ginger beer
- Lime wheels
- Fresh mint leaves
Things You'll Need
- Fill copper mug with ice.
- Pour vodka over ice.
- Add lime juice.
- Pour ginger beer and fill mug to the top.
- Garnish with lime wheel and mint leaves.
Expert Tips & FAQs
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Lori Connell says
Love this light drink
Amanda Formaro says
Thanks Lori! It’s one of my favorites :)
Aysegul Sanford says
This is what I order every time I am at a bar. Thanks to this great recipe, now I can make it in my own home. Thanks for sharing.
Amanda Formaro says
I love them too, hope you enjoy it!