When you start looking at vodka cocktails, there’s one that comes up every time. In fact, it is so iconic that it even has its very own dedicated glass and there’s not many cocktails can claim that! The glass is actually a mug, usually made from copper and the cocktail in question is the Moscow Mule. Let’s learn more about this classic cocktail and the variations it has spawned.
The original Moscow Mule
There’s some doubt as to who actually created the original Moscow Mule, but it is widely credited to Wes Price, a bartender at the Cock ‘n’ Bull, a British style pub in Los Angeles.
However, it was made famous by a guy called John G Martin. Martin worked for Heublein, the drinks company, and was working to promote Smirnoff vodka. It was a hard sell in the US as people just weren’t convinced about drinking Russian vodka. Armed with his new Polaroid camera, he went around bars, getting bartenders to make drinks. One of them made a drink in a distinctive copper mug – and the Moscow Mule with its distinctive mug was born.
The classic Moscow Mule
When trying cocktail variations, it is always a great idea to start with the basics. Grab yourself a copper mug to get started. The classic recipe is:
Grapefruit Gin Mule would be perfect as a summer cocktail for those warm evenings or just to give yourself that summer feel on a colder day! To make it you need 2 ounces gin, 2 ounces grapefruit juice, ½ lime juice and 4-6 ounces of ginger beer. Add to a mug with ice, stir and garnish with a slice of lime and grapefruit.
If the last recipe was a summer inspired drink, this Apple Cider Moscow Mule is definitely one for the fall. The recipe calls for apple cinnamon vodka but if you can't find that, you can use either apple or cinnamon vodka and get a very similar result.
You need 1.5 ounces vodka with 4.5 ounces apple cider and 3 ounces ginger beer. Add ice to the mug and the vodka, cider and ginger beer then squeeze a lime and stir. Garnish with a slice of apple and a cinnamon stick.
Ginger beer may sound like alcohol but really it isn't. So this Peach Mocktail Moscow Mule is a great way to have a cocktail style drink without any alcohol content. Of course, if you want to make a boozy version, just add 1.5 ounces of vodka.
Add one quarter of a peach to a mug and muddle it. Cover with ice and pour over 4 ounces ginger beer. Squeeze in half a lime and add 10 blackberries, fresh or frozen work fine. Garnish with a mint sprig.
Another one with a summery feel, the Watermelon Mint Moscow Mule is a refreshing and tasty version of the classic vodka cocktail. To make it, you want to put a fine sieve over the mug and push it through with a spoon (or you can put it through the blender). Then add a mint lead to each mug, one tbsp of lime juice and 2 ounces of vodka. Fill halfway with ice and top with ginger beer. Garnish with watermelon cubes, mint and a straw.
Kombucha is something I've only recently become familiar with and wouldn't have immediately thought about adding to a cocktail but this Kombucha Mule is one to try if you are a fan, especially for the summer. You can make it a mocktail if you leave out the vodka.
Add ice to the mug and 2 ounces of vodka then half an ounce of lime juice. Stir in 4 ounces of ginger flavoured kombucha and garnish with a lime wedge and mint.
While the Moscow Mule is famous as a vodka cocktail, there's no reason why it can't be reinvented with other spirits. This Rum Moscow Mule uses white rum and adds spiced syrup made with brown sugar and spices. You could also try a favourite spiced rum in its place.
Add the rum and lime juice to a shaker and mix for 10 seconds. Pour into the mug with ice and top with ginger beer. Garnish with mint and a slice of lime.
For something a little more floral, check out this recipe for a Hibiscus Moscow Mule . To make it, you need 2.5 ounces ginger beer, 1.5 ounces vodka and 0.5 ounces Hibiscus syrup . You also want to have 0.5 ounces lemon juice. You can buy pre-made hibiscus syrup or make your own with sugar, water and a dried hibiscus flower.
Add the ginger beer, vodka and syrup with the lemon juice to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a mug then garnish with a lemon slice and hibiscus flower.
This is a variation of drink that is perfect for those Christmas or Thanksgiving dinners and uses rum rather than vodka. The Christmas Mule Cocktail is a great group drink to make in a punch pitcher and the recipe services 12.
You need 1 litre ginger beer, preferably spicy, along with 1.5 cups of dark rum and 0.5 cups of lime juice. Add these to a pitcher and adjust with more of any ingredient to your taste. Garnish with cranberries, lime slices and rosemary and add these to each glass as serving.
A final summery version of the Mule cocktail, the Strawberry Mule Slushie can be served in a mug or just a normal rocks glass . You need 1.5 cups frozen strawberries and 4 ounces vodka – add these to the blender with 1 ounce lime juice, 1-3 tsp agave nectar and one-sixth of a jalapeno, minced. Blender until slushie texture then add to two glasses and fill with ginger beer. Garnish with either strawberry or a lime slice.
Moscow Mules for all occasions
There’s one thing for sure about the Moscow Mule – there’s a variation for every occasion! From the traditional recipe through to summery versions, fall flavours and even Christmas cocktails , there are plenty to try.
What’s your favourite way to drink a Moscow Mule? Tell us in the comments below!
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