This post has been sponsored by Powell & Mahoney, but all opinions are my own.
We spent last weekend in Louisville, Kentucky for one of my best friend’s wedding. Both my husband and I were a part of the wedding party and we had the best time we’ve had for a long time. Needless to say, we have done a lot of (much needed) dancing and drinking.
Speaking of drinking, since this was our first time in Kentucky we decided to stay an extra day to do some touristy things like Bourbon tasting. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “Kentucky”, one of the first things that come to my mind is Kentucky bourbon. Having been a lover of whiskey, bourbon, and various cocktails made with them, I was excited to learn more about how it is produced, ways to enjoy bourbon and do some tasting.
In addition to visiting a few distilleries, we made it a point to order bourbon-based drinks in every restaurant we ate. My favorite of them all was Kentucky Mule. Made with mixing bourbon with ginger beer and a squeeze of freshly squeezed lime juice, it was incredibly flavorful and refreshing.
I am a big fan of their ginger beer and cocktail mixers not only because they are a New England-based company, but also because their products (including ginger beer) is made with natural and unrefined sugars.
Onto the recipe..
Kentucky Mule Ingredients
You need 3 ingredients to make Kentucky Mule: Kentucky Bourbon, ginger beer, and freshly squeezed lime juice.
While the ingredients are simple and easy to understand, when you do a little research you see that the terminology (mostly on the naming) differs quite a bit based on the type of whiskey or bourbon used and the region it is produced.
So let’s dig in.
Ingredient 1 – Bourbon or Whiskey
As the name suggests, in order for it to be called Kentucky Mule, it needs to be made with bourbon made in Kentucky. A few well-known bourbon brands based in Kentucky are Jim Bean, Maker’s Mark, and Buillet.
Though I have to say, during our time in Louisville we saw that there were many other alternatives to these big brand names. Even some of the restaurants we went to served cocktails made with their own bourbon. So feel free to play around with various bourbon brands you have on hand when making this drink.
With that being said, you can totally make this drink using whiskey. A popular alternative to this Kentucky Mule recipe is Tennessee Mule. As you can imagine, this version is made with whiskey produced in Tennessee, Jack Daniels being one of the most well known brand.
Ingredient 2: Ginger Beer For Moscow Mule with Whiskey or Bourbon
The second ingredient is ginger beer.
If you are new to making your own Moscow mules you might confuse it with ginger ale. While they might sound similar in name, they are different in that ginger beer has a more robust flavor and is spicier than ginger ale.
Also, ginger ale is mostly treated as a milder alternative to alcohol or soda whereas ginger beer’s flavor makes it easy to serve it on its own or mixed in a cocktail similar to our Kentucky mule.
When it comes to ginger beer, I am a big fan of Powell & Mahoney’s ginger beer as it is made without using refined sugars. Plus, in addition to regular ginger beer, they offer a blood orange flavored ginger beer that is so SO delicious.
You can make this Kentucky Mule recipe using both flavors. If you are using the blood orange version, you can garnish it with a slice of blood orange instead of lime.
Ingredient 3: Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
The last ingredient is the lime juice. I know most people prefer to buy lime juice from the supermarket and I agree that it is convenient. However, I think the extra few minutes you spend squeezing your own lime juice is worth it for the best Kentucky mule drink.
Optional Garnishes for the Best Moscow Mule with Bourbon
As you can see in the pictures, I used some fresh mint leaves and a thinly sliced lime. However, while it is not traditional, you can jazz it up with lemon and orange slices as well.
How To Make a Kentucky Mule
The process is very simple. To make a Kentucky Mule:
- Fill a copper mug or cocktail glass with ice: I prefer cubed ice, but you can serve it with crushed ice as well.
- Pour in the bourbon and lime juice
- Top it off with ginger beer: Give it a quick stir.
- Garnish and serve: Garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of fresh mint. Serve!
It takes less than 5 minutes to put it all together, which makes it a great drink to serve in parties.
Moscow Mule Variations
I think the best thing about this all American cocktail is that you can easily switch things up and create fun drinks using different brands and types of alcohol, fruits, flavored ginger beers, and garnishes. Below is a quick fun video that I made to celebrate Powell & Mahoney’s ginger beer being available on Amazon Prime.
You can get the written recipe for Blueberry Moscow Mule here.
Here, I am very much aware that I barely scratched the surface with these 3 variations of Moscow Mules. Here are a few more to get you inspired:
- Dark & Stormy: Swap rum with vodka
- Montana Mule: Use bourbon produced in Montana
- American Mule: American and Moscow Mule are the same thing
- Mexican Mule: Swap vodka with tequila
- Oaxacan Mule: Swap vodka with mezcal
How To Serve Moscow Mule for A Crowd
I find that Moscow Mules and its variations are great to serve when you are entertaining a crowd, especially during the holidays. Since they are made with just a few ingredients, they are so easy to mix and serve.
Plus, you can easily set up a small DIY station for people to make their own Moscow mules.
How To Set Up A DIY Moscow Mule Station for Entertaining
To set up your own Moscow Mule station, place everything below on a table next to each other:
- A bucket full of ice: Fill an ice bucket with crushed or cubed ice and place it next to the cocktail glasses or Moscow Mule mugs.
- Moscow Mule Mugs or Cocktail glasses: More on this below.
- A Bottle of each – Vodka, Bourbon, Whiskey, Rum, and/or Tequila: Place a bottle of your favorite bourbon, whiskey, rum, tequila, and/or vodka (you can also use flavored vodka) along with a cocktail jigger so that your guests can easily measure and mix their own cocktail. You don’t have to have every kind of alcohol. Just pick a few.
- Powell & Mahoney Ginger Beer: Fill a large bowl with ice and place bottles (or cans) of ginger beer in it to keep them cold: I like to mix and match with regular and blood orange ginger beer to provide my guests with options.
- Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice: Squeeze some lime juice and place it in a glass bottle or a jug.
- Sliced Limes: Fill a bowl with fresh lime, oranges and lemon and place it next to a small cutting board with a paring knife so that your guests can slice them up. Alternatively, you can place already sliced citrus and place in a shallow bowl next to the lime juice.
- Fill a small vase with water and fresh mint leaves: My garnish of choice for any mule recipe is usually fresh mint leaves so I always include some in a small vase filled with water to keep them fresh.
Do I Have To Serve Kentucky Mule in a Copper Mug?
It is traditional to serve Moscow mule and its variations in a copper mug mostly for taste, temperature, and experience. Plus, copper keeps the drink cold while enhancing the mule’s taste. The copper mugs you see in these photos are my favorite. Unlike most copper mugs, they still look as brand new after several uses (and washes).
However, there is no rule book saying that you can’t serve this bourbon mule drink or any other mule cocktail in a regular cocktail glass, especially if you are serving a crowd. I like to serve mine in rock glasses, but again feel free to use whatever cocktail glass you have on hand.
Other cocktail recipes you might also like for your next party:
- Jalapeno Cilantro Margarita – Spicy margarita lovers, this one is for you!
- Martini with Lime – Your favorite martini recipe with a twist.
- Pineapple Margarita Recipe – Anyway you like – Both frozen and on-the-rocks versions.
- Strawberry Champagne Margarita – Made with fresh strawberries!
- Blood Orange Mimosa Recipe – 2 ingredients and 2 minutes to make.
- Basil Margarita Recipe – Growing lots of basil? Ditch pesto and make this margarita instead.
- Mango Vodka Cocktail – Fresh mango and blackberries turned into a delicious vodka cooler.
- Raspberry Lemon Drop Martini – The classic lemon drop recipe but flavored with fresh raspberries.
- Best Hot Toddy Recipe – Flavored with fresh blueberries.
- 1 1/2 ounces bourbon or whiskey
- 3 ounces Powell & Mahoney Ginger Beer
- 2 tablespoons lime juice freshly squeezed
- a few leaves of fresh mint optional
- Crushed ice
- Combine the bourbon, ginger beer, and lime juice in a copper mug or rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Stir the mixture, garnish with the lime wedge and mint (if preferred), and serve.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @foolproofliving on Instagram and hashtag it #foolproofeats
Whether you are treading yourself for a happy hour at home or serving a crowd (for holidays or for a Kentucky Derby party in your home), this all American mule drink and its variations are guaranteed to impress. Cheers!