Summer is here again, and that means the return of fresh, light cocktails to keep us cool in the blazing heat. A refreshing mix of vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer famously served in the iconic copper mug, the sessionable Moscow Mule is one of the most popular cocktails in the world and won’t be disappearing anytime soon.

The simple spec used for the cocktail allows room for some experimentation and is the inspiration behind popular variations like the tequila-infused Mexican Mule and bourbon-centric Kentucky Mule.

Here are some of VinePair’s favorite Mule recipes to kick start your summer and carry you through the end of 2022.

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Vodka Mules

The Moscow Mule

The Moscow Mule is the original Mule variation.

While the cocktail’s namesake may be Russia’s capital city, the Moscow Mule was actually first introduced in Manhattan in the early 1940s. There are many theories about the true origins of the cocktail, but it is believed that the beloved drink was created due to one bar’s overabundance of both Smirnoff vodka and ginger beer. The classic Moscow Mule blends vodka, ginger beer, and lime in an iconic copper mug for a refreshing summer sip.

The Pineapple Moscow Mule

The Pineapple Mule adds pineapple for a more tropical flavor in this Mule variation.

This variation of the Moscow Mule adds pineapple and a dash of bitters to the Mule’s classic specs for an elevated tropical flavor. Garnished with a mint sprig and a pineapple slice, the Pineapple Moscow Mule is fresh, delicious, and ripe for summer sipping.

The Strawberry Basil Moscow Mule

The Strawberry Basil Mule adds strawberries and basil for a fruity and refreshing twist in this mule variation.

This take on the Moscow Mule incorporates the sweet, refreshing flavors of strawberry, basil, and a hint of citrus. This mix of vodka, lemon juice, agave nectar, basil leaves, and strawberries is perfect for sipping in the summer sun.

The Cranberry Moscow Mule

The Cranberry Moscow Mule adds cranberry-infused simple syrup to the classic cocktail mixture in this Mule variation.

Ripe from October to December, cranberries are the perfect addition to jazz up the classic Moscow Mule. The Cranberry Moscow Mule adds homemade cranberry-infused simple syrup to the classic vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer mixture for a cocktail ideal for holiday hosting.

The Marshmallow Mule

The Marshmallow Mule adds marshmallow and ginger infused syrup for a flavor reminiscent of campfire s'mores in this mule variation.

Created by Emily Vikre, author of “Camp Cocktails,” and co-founder of the Vikre Distillery in Minnesota, the Marshmallow Mule is reminiscent of the nostalgic childhood favorite, s’mores. Using marshmallow and ginger-infused simple syrup, along with vodka, soda water, and limes, this is a sweet cocktail that’s perfect for sipping next to a fire.

Tequila Mules

The Mexican Mule

The Mexican Mule swaps out tequila for vodka in this mule variation.

Of all spirits available on the market, tequila is by far the most popular choice in Mexico. The agave spirit is a Mexican staple, so it’s only fitting that its presence be known in The Mexican Mule. Served in the Mule’s classic copper mug, this version is a refreshing blend of tequila, lime juice, and ginger beer.

Whiskey/Bourbon Mules

The Kentucky Mule

The Kentucky Mule uses bourbon in place of vodka in this mule variation.

Kentucky is home to many American staples: the Kentucky Derby, KFC, the Louisville Slugger, and, of course, bourbon. The Kentucky Mule is a celebration of the spirit from its homeland. Swapping out vodka for bourbon, this mule has an added sweetness from the brown spirit’s barrel aging. Topped with lime juice and ginger beer, the Kentucky Mule is fresh, slightly peppery, and absolutely delicious.

The Irish Mule

The Irish Mule substitutes Irish Whiskey for vodka in this mule variation.

This take on the mule replaces vodka with Irish whiskey for a well-rounded cocktail suitable for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and beyond. The Irish Mule blends Irish whiskey, lime juice, and ginger beer with an added mint sprig as a garnish to bring out the ginger and lime flavors.

Gin Mules

The Gin Gin Mule

The Gin Gin Mule subs gin in place of vodka in this mule variation.

The Gin Gin Mule was created by mixologist Audrey Saunders at the Beacon Bar in NYC in 2000. As the name suggests, rather than vodka, this version of the Mule subs in gin blended with fresh lime juice and mint and is topped with homemade ginger beer for an easy-drinking and delicious botanical cocktail.

Rum Mules

The Raspberry Rum Mule

The Raspberry Rum mule uses rum in place of vodka and adds raspberries for a fruity twist in this mule variation.

As its name suggests, the Raspberry Rum Mule uses rum in place of vodka for a light spice that accentuates the bright flavors of lime juice and ginger beer. Muddled raspberries give this cocktail a fun pink tint, and a dash of agave nectar rounds out the cocktail for a sweet finish.


If I don’t have any ginger beer, will ginger ale still make a good Mule?

Yes, although the product will be undoubtedly sweeter. Unlike ginger beer, ginger ale isn’t brewed; it’s essentially carbonated water with ginger syrup. Therefore, using ginger ale in a Mule would sacrifice some of the more peppery, sinus-clearing elements of ginger beer in exchange for added sweetness.

When mixing a Mule, should it be shaken, or stirred?

Some feel this goes without saying, but never shake a Mule! Doing so will release most of the ginger beer’s carbonation and, odds are, it’ll make a mess. A gentle stir will do the trick.

What are the best food pairings for a Moscow Mule?

We find that Thai food and many other types of Asian cuisine complement the Mule’s profile due to the frequent use of lime and ginger in recipes. For instance, a Moscow Mule and a bowl of Pad Thai are a perfect marriage. We also recommend pairing with hearty curry dishes, summer seafood plates like grilled sea bass or coconut shrimp, and light Mexican fare like nachos and guacamole.

What are the most common types of Mules available at bars?

While every bar is unique, the most popular Mule iterations are the Moscow Mule, the Kentucky Mule, the Gin Gin Mule (a.k.a. the Gin Buck), and the Mexican Mule. Also very common is the Dark n’ Stormy, which predates the Mule’s creation but is similar enough in build to justify mentioning here, and implements dark rum in place of vodka.

​​Does the Moscow Mule go by any other names?

While “Moscow Mule” is still the prevailing moniker, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many bars and spirits companies made efforts to rename the Moscow Mule to show their support for Ukraine by stripping “Moscow” from the classic cocktail’s name. Some now refer to it as the Kyiv Mule or the American Stallion.

I want to make my own Mule recipe. Are there any guidelines I should follow?

Lime and ginger are pretty crowd-pleasing flavors and complement virtually any spirit, which makes for a seemingly endless world of possibilities when it comes to Mule variations. Try a Mezcal Mule, or add swap in bourbon for a Kentucky Mule. As long as there’s lime, a carbonated ginger element, and a spirit, it’ll be a Mule by definition.