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6 Moscow Mule Twists to Try Right Now

These ginger beer cocktails will spice up your life.

Kentucky Mule cocktail
Kentucky Mule Image: / Tim Nusog 

Easily identified by the iconic copper mug in which it’s customarily served, the Moscow Mule has become a familiar cocktail for most drinkers. When Vodka Soda-lovers feel like jazzing things up a bit, the Moscow Mule is often the next step up from the simple two-ingredient favorite. It falls within the Buck family of cocktails, which are drinks that include a base spirit (or spirits), along with citrus (typically lime) and ginger ale or ginger beer.

For the best results, make sure to use a quality ginger beer, such as the ones from Fever-Tree or Q Mixers, since they’re made specifically for mixing in cocktails. You might also try your hand at making your own ginger beer.

As is the case with most classic cocktails, many bartenders have taken the liberty of putting their own twists on the Moscow Mule, leading to a wealth of effervescent ginger-laced drinks. These are a few riffs on the Moscow Mule to try at home.

  • Moscow Mule

    Moscow Mule / Tim Nusog

    First, let’s start with the most classic version of the drink. After all, in order to fully enjoy riffs on a theme, you have to first know the melody. It’s an easy three-ingredient mix of vodka, lime juice and spicy ginger beer that came to be in the mid-20th century as a marketing ploy by a vodka brand, and it has been a staple on bar menus and a favorite of home bartenders ever since.

    Get the recipe.

  • Apple Cranberry Moscow Mule

    Apple Cranberry Moscow Mule / Tim Nusog

    This twist on the classic is surprisingly simple: Take the usual Moscow Mule formula of vodka, lime juice and ginger beer, and add a touch of fall flavor with a splash of apple-cranberry juice. It’s tailor-made for the holiday season and perfect for impressing guests with its seasonal flavors as well as a festive fruit garnish, making for a true crowd-pleaser.

    Get the recipe.

  • Mezcal Mule

    Mezcal Mule / Tim Nusog

    Bar legend Jim Meehan developed this now-classic mule while at PDT in NYC. Mezcal serves as the cocktail’s base, adding a smoky-earthy foundation for the complex flavors of the ingredients that join it. Cucumber slices get muddled with agave nectar and then joined by the mezcal as well as lime juice and passion fruit purée before it’s all topped with ginger beer. A cucumber slice and chunk of candied ginger as a garnish echo the drink’s spicy-vegetal notes, while a pinch of chile powder adds an extra punch.

    Get the recipe.

  • Montego Mule

    Montego Mule
    Julia Majors

    Washington, D.C., bartender Justin Golash created a frozen version of the Moscow Mule as an homage to drinking on the beach in Jamaica. He calls for vodka, but we’ll say Jamaican rum goes just as well and is perhaps more fitting to the theme, paired with ginger and lime juices and a spiced syrup, before blending it all with ice. Ginger, as it turns out, shines in frozen drinks; the balance of warming ginger spice with cold temperatures makes for a memorable sip.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • Gin-Gin Mule

    Gin-Gin Mule / Tim Nusog

    This gingery cocktail is a modern classic that was born at the now-shuttered Pegu Club by legendary NYC bartender Audrey Saunders. It was developed as a way to lure vodka drinkers into the world of craft cocktails, and it did exactly that. Saunders’ approachable gin-based riff calls for a homemade ginger beer in addition to the London dry gin, lime juice, muddled mint sprig and simple syrup, but a store-bought ginger beer will do the trick just as well if you’re looking for something a little less complicated. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Kentucky Mule

    Kentucky Mule cocktail / Tim Nusog 

    As you could probably gather by the name, the Kentucky Mule is crafted with a base of America’s most cherished whiskey. The bourbon adds body and texture that vodka lacks, creating a cocktail that’s arguably more balanced than the classic version. To craft this simple riff, simply combine bourbon, lime juice and ginger beer with plenty of ice in a copper mug or highball glass. A mint garnish adds aromatic depth and freshness to the mix. If you’re a bourbon lover, this is one of the easiest cocktails to make at home if you’re looking for a fresh way to enjoy your favorite spirit.

    Get the recipe.