Only a couple extra ingredients makes the Best Moscow Mule you’ve ever tasted, and yes, it’s still served in a frosty copper mug! Find out what sets it way apart from the rest of the herd.
The recipe for this cocktail comes straight from Moscow, with a short pitstop in Minnesota, naturally. It was developed by Josh, a close friend who, with fierce determination, was able to replicate a Moscow Mule served at a Minneapolis bar that tasted better, richer, and gingerier than any other he’d ever had. That’s exactly what this drink is.
Of all the Moscow Mule recipes out there, this is the one you have to try!
The secret? Angostura Orange Bitters and candied, crystallized ginger, among other things. If you have a set of copper mugs just begging to be put to use, now is the time to make this delightful cocktail.
Mixing up the Best Moscow Mules for all your thirsty pals? Don’t call Josh, make them yourself! Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
A little Moscow Mule History:
Is Moscow Mule from Russia? Well, not really. Technically, the Moscow Mule is purely an American drink, made with vodka which, at the time of its invention was strongly associated with Russia.
The Moscow Mule actually originated in Los Angeles, in 1941. Also known as a vodka buck, the mule came about over a night of drinking between businessmen, one of whom owned a product company and a restaurant in L.A., a fun-sounding place called Cock and Bull.
They poured some of one man’s bottled ginger beer into some vodka and mixed everything up with lemon. The copper mug came later, to promote their new drink. That’s why, if you ever see a vintage copper mug, it might have “Cock and Bull” etched on the side.
Moscow Mule Ingredients:
A basic Moscow Mule is made with vodka, ginger beer, (not ginger ale) and lime juice. But this recipe takes it up a couple notches—here’s the secret.
- Vodka. Smirnoff is just fine, but you can use what you have.
- Ginger beer. Reed’s Extra Ginger Beer is the gold standard. It can be found at well stocked specialty stores, Trader Joe’s, or online. However, if you have your own favorite ginger beer, feel free to use that.
- Lime juice. Freshly squeezed, please!
- Club soda. Just a skosh.
- Angostura Orange Bitters. Crucial ingredient! Look for the orange bitters, not the standard aromatic bitters. Fee Brothers also makes orange bitters. Look for it in well-stocked liquor stores.
- Powdered sugar. A little powdered sugar dissolves easily in the drink and makes things just a touch sweeter. Leave it out if you prefer, but it does make a difference.
- Crystalized ginger. Candied ginger, especially the kind sold by the bag at Trader Joe’s, makes a spicy-sweet garnish you’ll love. Use a lime wedge or fresh mint sprig if you don’t have it.
How to make the Best Moscow Mule:
- Find a large cocktail shaker and fill it halfway with ice. Pour in the vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, and the orange bitters into the shaker.
- Then, ever so gently, stir in the powdered sugar. Stir, don’t shake, so that you don’t burst the bubbles.
- Strain into the ice-filled copper mugs, and garnish with a slice of candied ginger and a wedge of lime.
Why is a Moscow Mule served in a copper mug?
- Enjoying chilled drinks in copper cups offer a super-cool sensation, because the metal takes on the cold temperature of the drink quicker than glass. That frozen sensation feels good on your lips!
- Furthermore, the cold metal insulates the cocktail, which is handy, especially in the summertime.
- Also, icy cold copper can increase the amount of bubbles in the carbonated ginger beer, making things extra fizzy.
- Some people think that the copper reacts with the vodka and somehow enhances the flavor, but this drink tastes incredible no matter what.
- Lastly, it’s really, really fun to drink out of a copper mug.
Don’t let being mugless stop you from making a Moscow Mule, though—lots of bars still serve them in glass lowballs, mostly because copper mugs tend to (ahem) disappear quickly!
Is it safe to drink out of a copper mug?
Don’t worry about a Moscow Mule mug poisoning you. Most copper cups for cocktails that are on the market are lined with steel or nickel, so the acidity of the drink won’t interact with the copper and leach into your lovely cocktail.
Some vintage mugs are even made out of anodized aluminum. When shopping for Moscow Mule mugs, look for sturdy mugs that are lined and food safe. There are lots of good options out there, even gorgeous hammered copper mugs!
If you don't want to spring for copper mugs, that's fine! It still tastes great and it looks pretty, too.