The Story Behind The Mezcal Mule

Ginger and lime complement just about every spirit — hence the versatility of the Mule cocktail template. So it comes as no surprise that the pioneering, vodka-based Moscow Mule paved the way for a slew of riffs, from Audrey Saunders’ mint-kissed Gin Gin Mule to Erick Castro’s bourbon-fueled Kentucky Buck. It was all a matter of time before mezcal got its turn.

In the early aughts, when mezcal hit the scene in NYC, bartenders experimented to see what stuck. Of course, a phenomenon like this usually begins with tweaking pre-existing classics. And after Phil Ward created the Oaxaca Old Fashioned at Death & Co. in 2007, Jim Meehan followed suit a year later and crafted the Mezcal Mule at Please Don’t Tell. His take on the Mule sees mezcal sharing a glass with a homemade ginger wort, lime juice, passion fruit puree, agave syrup, and a cucumber-chili garnish.

Meehan’s approach is one of the “farm-to-glass” mindset. “There’s an old maxim in the wine world that ‘if it grows with it, it goes with it,’” Meehan explains in Robert Simonson’s “Modern Classic Cocktails.” Passion fruit, which is common in Mexico, has a tropical aroma that’s mimicked in many mezcals. Meanwhile, cucumber, also common in Mexico, bolsters mezcal’s vegetal character. Lime and ginger provide a sting of acidity followed by fiery earthiness. And finally, the pinch of Mexican chili tops off the cocktail with a kick of heat.

Though many Mezcal Mule recipes call for a copper mug, as per tradition with the Moscow Mule, Meehan’s recipe calls for a large, double Old Fashioned glass, exposing the drink’s glorious golden hue. Many other recipes also include the traditional Mule’s use of ginger beer, but Meehan’s template disregards the effervescent soda and implements a fresh, homemade ginger wort (recipe below). The ginger wort should last up to a week in the fridge, and when crafting it, be sure to use a nonreactive container, such as one made of glass, ceramic, or stainless steel.


  • 1 ½ ounces mezcal, preferably Del Maguey Vida
  • 1 ounce ginger wort (recipe below)
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ¾ ounce passion fruit puree
  • ½ ounce agave syrup (1:1)
  • 3 cucumber slices
  • Garnish: ground chili powder and skewered candied ginger with a cucumber slice


  1. Muddle the 3 cucumber slices and agave syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass.
  2. Add mezcal, ginger wort, lime juice, and passion fruit puree.
  3. Shake with ice until chilled.
  4. Fine strain into a chilled double Old Fashioned glass filled with ice.
  5. Garnish with a piece of candied ginger and a cucumber slice, skewered together with a cocktail pick.
  6. Sprinkle a pinch of ground chili powder on top of the cocktail (a salt shaker is recommended for this final step).

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Yield: 1
Calories: 244
Updated: 2023-05-12

Ginger Wort Ingredients

  • 3 cups (24 ounces) water
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) fresh minced ginger
  • 1 ½ ounces light brown sugar
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice

Ginger Wort Directions

  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the water to the minced ginger and brown sugar in a nonreactive container (like glass, ceramic, or stainless steel).
  3. Cover for 90 minutes.
  4. Strain through a chinois, pressing the ginger to extract as much liquid as possible.
  5. Add the lime juice.
  6. Bottle and refrigerate. Makes 25 ounces.

Mezcal Mule Recipe Video