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Classic Moscow Mule

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You don’t need a bartender to enjoy a delicious Moscow Mule cocktail. This simple 3-ingredient mixed drink will freshen up your happy hour.

The hardest part of making this cocktail is finding the traditional copper mugs to serve this classic cocktail. However, a quick search on Amazon for copper mugs is all you need.

This is an easy cocktail to make that looks and tastes impressive, but won’t break the bank or take a lot of time.

★ The Classic Moscow Mule Cocktail ★

The Moscow Mule is extremely refreshing and just puts out chill vibes with it’s slice of lime and signature copper mug. It’s a great cocktail for any time of the year but I find it especially refreshing during the summer months.

It’s light and refreshing, with a spicy note from the ginger beer; to me, this means it’s perfect for a hot summer day or in the cooler fall and winter months.

Moscow Mule garnished with lime

★ Ingredients You’ll Need ★

A traditional Moscow Mule recipe uses vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice to create a spicy and citrusy iced cocktail, sometimes even garnished with a fresh lime wedge.

If you enjoy cocktails, you probably already have most of the ingredients needed. You might just need to find ginger beer at the local grocery store, and you’re all set!

  1. Vodka. If you’re going to make a good cocktail, use quality alcohol. Generally, Smirnoff Vodka is easy to find and affordable, Gray Goose is another famous brand, and there are some different flavors available from most of the big labels. Any brand of vodka works. If you want to choose a flavored vodka, go for it!
  2. Lime juice. Fresh-squeezed lime juice is going to give you more flavor and will taste fresh. In a pinch you can use store-bought lime juice.
  3. Ginger beer. You can find ginger beer in just about any grocery store, and if you don’t find it try the liquor store. When you can’t find the ginger beer you can use ginger ale, but it will be slightly sweeter and not as spicy.
  4. Crushed ice. Pebble ice is the usual choice for this cocktail, but you can crush up your own ice or use ice cubes as well.

★ How to Make a Moscow Mule at Home ★

The hardest part about making this 3-ingredient cocktail at home might be tracking down the iconic copper mugs and some ginger beer. So, I’ve got a few tips and links to help get you going.

Otherwise, all you need is THREE ingredients over ice! Combine, stir and enjoy!

  • Fill a Moscow mule copper mug with crushed ice, all the way to the top.
  • Add vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer.
  • Stir the mug’s contents to lightly mix the beverage.
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint or fresh lime wedge.

★ Moscow Mule Recipe Variations ★

A Moscow mule is a simple and beautifully served cocktail that can be personalized easily by changing out the fruit juice you use.

You can customize this classic recipe in many different ways. Have some fun experimenting!

Once you get the basic recipe down, you can experiment with adding fruits to change the flavor of your drink. Add in a splash of just about any kind of juice you can think of. You can use fresh squeezed or bottled juice. Keep in mind, the base is lime juice but you can substitute a lemon if you find a fruit that pairs better with lemons. For some extra flair, garnish with fresh fruits to match your splash of juice.

Try changing the type of alcohol you use. You can also mix up the flavor of your Mule by keeping the basic recipe the same but varying the alcohol you add.

For example, I love making Kentucky Mules which are made with Kentucky bourbon instead of vodka. The bourbon adds a hint of oakiness to the flavor which goes really well with the ginger beer and citrusy lime.

  • Use gin instead of vodka. This is known as a “London Mule”
  • Use bourbon instead of vodka. This is known as a “Kentucky Mule”
  • Ever heard of an Irish Mule? Same deal. Just use Irish whiskey.
  • If you prefer to use rum instead of vodka, this is also known as a Dark and Stormy. Get my Dark and Stormy cocktail recipe if rum is your go-to liquor!

  • Try using flavored alcohol to complement the fruit juice you choose to add flavor.
  • Use a different fruit juice like cranberry, watermelon, apple, pineapple, lemon, cherry, or any other that you like.
  • Add more fruit flavor by muddling fresh fruit like raspberries or blueberries and adding the juice. To compliment, use some of the whole fruit as garnish.
  • Add some fragrance! You can layer in additional aromas but adding fresh sprigs of herbs. Some popular options are rosemary, basil, mint, and even jalapeno.

I’ve had different variations of the classic Moscow Mule that included cranberry juice and rosemary sprigs at Christmas and cherries and lemon juice in the summer. Blueberries and lemon are another good combination. It’s all about what you like and which flavor combination you prefer so have fun and get creative! You can even come up with a fun name from the flavor combination you dream up.

★ FAQs ★

Where can you find copper Moscow Mule mugs?

If you are trying to achieve the full Moscow Mule experience, get a set of solid copper Moscow Mule mugs. Solid copper is a must. Especially if you’re giving these as a gift. Don’t be like me and unknowingly give stainless steel lined mugs. They just aren’t as cool, literally.

See, the whole deal with the copper mug is that copper cools quickly to match the temperature of the drink and offers your lips a chilled surface to sip this refreshing cocktail.

So if you were wondering why Moscow Mules come in a copper mug, there’s your answer! It also just makes a nice presentation for an otherwise pretty colorless drink.

Shop copper Moscow Mule mugs on Amazon

Are ginger beer and ginger ale the same thing?

No. They’re similar but different beverages. Neither one is alcoholic.

You can substitute ginger ale for ginger beer if you need to but you’ll get a sweeter, less spicy flavor to your Moscow Mule.

Ginger beer has a sharper ginger taste than ginger ale. If you want a more in-depth explanation of the difference between ginger ale and ginger beer check out this article by Huff Post.

So definitely pick up a bottle or a six pack of ginger beer if you want to achieve the same authentic taste you get when sipping a Moscow Mule at a restaurant.

You can also make a Dark & Stormy cocktail with ginger beer!

Where can you buy ginger beer?

Since ginger beer is not actually beer, it’s nonalcoholic, you can purchase it at the grocery store. Since it’s a common mixer though, it’s likely you’ll also be able to purchase it at most liquors stores as well.

If you’re not having luck finding ginger beer at the store, you can always order ginger beer.

Are Moscow Mules easy to make at home?

Yes! There are only three ingredients in a classic Mosow Mule plus ice. That’s it! Vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. So, it’s really pretty easy to whip up your own Moscow Mule at home.

If you’d like to add an extra touch and some additional refreshing flavor to the classic recipe, you can add a sprig of fresh mint as a garnish along with the slice of lime.

I also enjoy my Moscow Mules over crushed ice however, cubes work too. If you into crushed ice but don’t have an ice crusher, you can use a blender, purchase crushed ice or shop ice crushers on Amazon.

Why does a Moscow Mule have to be served in a copper mug?

Copper conducts temperature exceptionally well, so when you fill a copper mug with ice, it takes on the coldness and remains that way instead of allowing heat in from the outside, making the ice melt faster and water down the drink. Making a drink meant to be consumed ice cold requires a vessel that can keep it that way, and the copper mug allows that. The mug is a little different from having a smooth-sided cocktail glass also if that copper mug is conducting the cold temperature you don’t want to wrap your hand around it, so the handle allows you to hold your drink and not have frozen fingers or to heat up the mug itself with your body heat. It’s a simple cocktail that is served in a fancy piece of barware usually, but if you don’t have the copper cup and you really want to try it, you can serve it in any shorter regular glass, or even an insulated tumbler.

Why is this beverage called a Moscow Mule?

There are as many stories about the origin of the Moscow Mule as there are variations of the classic drink. Most accounts say that it was named this because when Vodka became popular in the United States people associated it with Russia, so that’s where the “Moscow” portion of the name comes from. The “mule” in the name supposedly refers to the KICK that the drink gives due to the spicy ginger beer ingredient. The drink’s origin is argued to be either Los Angeles or New York City, but there are just as many theories on this as there are on who was the first to create the popular cocktail.

Are Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer the same thing?

Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer are similar non-alcoholic beverages with carbonated ginger flavor, but they are not the same thing. The easiest way to describe the difference is that ginger beer is a more concentrated ginger drink, and ginger ale has more sugar added to make it taste more like soda.

Where can I buy copper Moscow Mule mugs?

I’ve had good luck finding the copper mule mugs in places like TJ Maxx, Home Goods, kitchen supply stores like Williams Sonoma, and sometimes Target and Walmart too. Amazon always has a decent selection as well. If you are in your local liquor store and they have a decent selection of bar supplies you may be able to find them there as well. Shop Amazon for copper mugs

★ More Recipes You’ll Love ★

Check out these other easy cocktails to make at home!

Most of my cocktail recipes are the classics and are all easy enough to make yourself at home. Once you learn the classic, I find it’s easy to add your own flare by tweaking the ingredients to your own liking.

Browse all my cocktail recipes

Looking for appetizers to pair with your cocktail?

Browse all my appetizer recipes and be sure Pin your favorites!

This classic Moscow Mule recipe was featured on Wine’d Down Wednesday!

Easy Moscow Mule - Just 3 ingredients

Classic Moscow Mule

Learn how to make a classic Moscow Mule at home using just 3 main ingredients! All you need is a copper mug with, vodka, lime juice and ginger beer. Easy!
Author: Angela G.
5 from 2 reviews
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Cuisine: American
Skill Level: Easy
Recipe Type: Alcoholic Beverage
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 Servings
Yield: 8oz


  • 2 oz vodka
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 6 oz ginger beer
  • Crushed ice


  • Fresh mint or slice of lime for garnish


  • Fill a copper mug full with crushed ice.
  • Add vodka, lime juice then ginger beer. Give it a gentle swirl and serve garnished with a slice of lime.



There are lots of variations you can make once you learn this classic recipe! See post above for substitutions and variation ideas.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 8oz | Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 28mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 11IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg
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Saturday 14th of August 2021

hmmm. Think I counted four items that go into that copper mug. Five if you put in the mint, which I, for one, must do.

Angela G.

Saturday 14th of August 2021

Yes, the mint is optional but it does add a nice touch to the look of the mule as well as some extra flavor. I didn't count the ice as part of the drink but technically you're right, that would make it four. Cheers! ;)