The Moscow mule is perhaps most well-known for being served a copper mug, keeping it icy cold down to the very last sip. There are plenty of different spins on the drink, but the traditional way of serving one is with ginger beer, vodka, and lime. This cocktail is especially refreshing in the summer, but you can really drink it all-year round. According to The New York Times, the Moscow mule dates back to 1941. A man named Jack Morgan whipped up the beverage at his eatery, Hollywood Cock ‘n’ Bull Restaurant, with the help of John Martin (president of the 20th century alcohol company Heublein). Morgan was trying to sell ginger beer with no luck, while Martin was trying to sell Smirnoff vodka without much luck. So they combined the two and voila, the Moscow mule was born!
Recipe developer Jaime Shelbert of Wholly Nourished came up with her own spin on the classic, which would be great to serve at any special occasion (or a day ending in “y”). “This cocktail is such a classic and has several variations of you want to switch it up,” Shelbert raves. What sets her apart from the standard mule? Well, she introduces a step that puts a certain ingredient typically reserved as a garnish in the spotlight.
Keep reading to find out how to make this tasty cocktail.
Gather the Moscow Mule ingredients
Once you’re ready to begin, you will need to gather your ingredients. Be sure to get water, sugar, fresh mint leaves, some lime, vodka, and ginger beer (not to be confused with ginger ale), along with plenty of crushed ice. The mint and lime can also act as garnishes if you wish, so be sure to keep a sprig or two and a few wedges reserved.
Make the minty simple syrup
Moscow mules don’t traditionally contain simple syrup, but Shelbert’s addition contributes a fresh, minty flavor that works perfectly with the ginger and lime.
If you haven’t made simple syrup yourself before, it’s easy! Just grab a small saucepan and add the water and sugar. Turn the heat to medium and continue stirring until the sugar fully dissolves. If it starts to boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Once the sugar dissolves, remove the saucepan from heat and add the mint leaves. Allow the mint to steep and the syrup to cool for about 10 minutes.
This stuff is great in all sorts of drinks: “It’s a lovely add-in for many cocktail and mocktails — or even your iced tea,” Shelbert notes.
Fill mugs with ice and lime juice
Grab some signature Moscow mule copper mugs if you’ve got ’em and fill them with ice. Next, juice half a lime into each mug.
Add vodka and simple syrup
Once you’ve added the ice and lime, it’s time for some sweetness and booze. Add 1 teaspoon of the cooled mint simple syrup to each mug, followed by 1 ounce of vodka.
Top with ginger beer and garnish
Pour 6 ounces of ginger beer into each mug, then stir to combine. Garnish as you wish: Shelbert goes for a lime wedge and a sprig of mint.
Serve and enjoy your Moscow mules
This drink is great to enjoy at a summertime happy hour. Luckily, Shelbert also provides us with a few great serving suggestions if you want to pair your Moscow mule with some grub. “When considering food pairings, I’d consider the kick of ginger here,” Shelbert explains. “Go with something that the ginger can stand up to. Two things that come to mind are a charcuterie with bold cheeses or a Thai noodle dish with a lime and gingery peanut sauce. Keeping with the cheese theme, reach for a grilled cheese or a fondue with your mule as well.” Don’t mind if we do!