My husband, Mike, has spent his entire career traveling from one timezone to the next. Whenever people ask the secret to staying married for oh so many years, I can’t help but joke we’ve spent much of our marriage apart. When he went to Russia in the early 90’s, he asked his Russian colleagues, “What is THE best vodka?” The answer was unanimous: Russian Standard.
During the 90’s it was unavailable in the US, but Mike managed to pack the maximum allowed every trip – 2 liters. To this day, his go-to vodka is Russian Standard, thankfully now available in the US.
A LITTLE HISTORY BEHIND THE MOSCOW MULE
Back to the Moscow Mule. It’s a simple and classic cocktail with a spicy kick of ginger. The first time I tasted this cocktail was in Minneapolis. It was so delicious that instead of taking a small sip, I drank the beverage down like soda water. Not a good idea. I asked the barkeep about the name. He told me it didn’t originate in Moscow, and it had nothing to do with mules. It’s an all-American creation. Then why not Manhattan Mule or LA Mule, I asked?
The history of the Moscow Mule is rather “muddled.” (Sorry, bad pun.) Some say its birthplace is Manhattan’s Chatham Hotel in 1941 when ginger beer was mixed with Smirnoff vodka. Another version has its origin at the Cock ‘n’ Bull bar in Los Angeles. Either way, the basic recipe is the same: Vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, garnished with wedge of lime and mint leaves.
Traditionally, they’re served in copper mugs because they stay frosty much longer than a glass container. We like to put the mugs in the freezer for 15 minutes before using. Whatever I’m drinking, it has to be very, very cold.
HOW TO MAKE A MOSCOW MULE
Our classic Moscow mule recipe (but without all the carbs) tastes spectacular! Start by filling a cocktail shaker with ice. Add vodka, fresh lime juice, fresh ginger and shake. The addition of freshly grated ginger really kicks up the flavor a notch or two! Pour into copper mug, (aka Moscow mule mug), add diet/zero sugar ginger beer to keep the carb count low, and enjoy a refreshing citrus cocktail with a unique flavor profile. If desired, garnish with a sprig of mint and a lime wedge.
WHAT BRAND OF VODKA SHOULD I USE?
Russian Standard vodka
Grey Goose vodka
WHERE CAN I FIND DIET GINGER BEER?
Diet ginger beer can be found at your neighborhood liquor store, or you can buy several varieties on Amazon.
SUGAR-FREE/DIET GINGER BEER BRANDS
Gosling’s Diet Ginger Beer
Reed’s Zero Sugar Ginger Beer
Zevia Ginger Beer
Barritt’s Sugar Free Ginger Beer
Top Hat Sugar Free Ginger Beer
MOSCOW MULE VARIATIONS
If you’re not a vodka drinker or don’t have any on hand, you can substitute just about any liquor in its place.
Kentucky mule: swap the vodka for bourbon.
Mexican mule: swap the vodka for tequila,
Jamaican mule: swap the vodka for rum.
Irish mule: swap the vodka for Irish whisky.
Southern mule: swap the vodka for Southern Comfort.
Gin Gin Mule: swap the vodka for gin.
Dark and Stormy: swap the vodka for dark rum.
Mike’s Moscow Mules
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 3 oz diet/sugar free ginger beer
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- Gather all ingredients.
- Combine vodka, freshly-squeezed lime juice, and grated ginger into ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake for 30 seconds.
- Strain into ice-filled copper mugs. Pour 3 ounces ginger beer into mug. Stir. Garnish with lime wedge and mint sprig.