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Moscow Mule

Two copper mugs filled with Moscow Mule cocktails next to two spent lime halves.
Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Rebecca Jurkevich
  • Active Time

    3 minutes

  • Total Time

    3 minutes

The Moscow Mule is a simple drink with a complicated past. 

Details of its origins are fuzzy. Circa 1941, in a now-shuttered Hollywood bar called Cock ’n’ Bull, someone combined fresh lime juice with two ounces of vodka and a few more ounces of ginger beer. According to some reports, the cocktail recipe was bartender Wes Price’s idea. Others credit Cock ’n’ Bull owner Jack Morgan and executive John G. Martin, who had recently acquired Smirnoff vodka and wanted to market it to brandy-drinking Americans. 

Either way, the Moscow Mule didn’t gain broad popularity until 1947, when Martin snapped Polaroids of bartenders across Los Angeles holding copper mugs in one hand and bottles of Smirnoff vodka in the other. Soon enough buzz grew, and the Moscow Mule found its audience.

Tart citrus and spicy ginger provide all the flavor in this vodka cocktail, so squeeze fresh lime juice and use the best ginger beer you can find. Fever Tree Ginger Beer and Q Ginger Beer are widely available, or you can make your own.

Like many classic cocktails, the Moscow Mule recipe is also a versatile rubric for experimentation. Swap out vodka for tequila to make a Mexican Mule, Irish whiskey for an Irish Mule, gin for a Gin-Gin Mule, or bourbon for a Kentucky Mule.  

A garnish isn’t traditional, but you can amplify the aromatics of your Moscow Mule by adding a lime wedge or sliver of candied or fresh ginger to your Collins glass or copper mug.


Makes 1

1 lime half
2 oz. vodka
4–6 oz. ginger beer, storebought or homemade, chilled
  1. Squeeze 1 lime half into a copper mug or Collins glass and drop it into the glass. Add cracked or crushed ice cubes, then pour in 2 oz. vodka and top with 4 oz. ginger beer, chilled. Serve with a stirring rod.

    Editor’s note: This recipe was first published in November 2005. Head this way for more of our best vodka cocktails →

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  • Requested at a cocktail party by a guest and it was perfect. After two rounds, I add a dash of celery bitters and used key limes which turned out to be a hit!

    • lheckerman

    • Seattle

    • 3/11/2017

  • Love me some moscow mule. For St. Patty's day, we went all out and got some copper mugs recommended by our bartender friend. Its by Purists Only, just google it.

    • GoodIrish

    • Las Vegas, NV

    • 3/3/2016

  • Love me some Moscow Mule, especially if its on a copper mug. For Saint Patricks day, we went all out and got some mugs that our bartender friend recommended based on his meticulous research. Its by Purists Only, just google it.

    • food_that_lifts

    • Las Vegas, NV

    • 3/3/2016

  • My friend and I hosted a cocktail party last weekend featuring moscow mules and came across a ginger beer that is both low cal and delish. My friend ordered it directly from the company at She chose this ginger beer based on the low price and free shipping. We were all pleasantly surprised with her decision and will be ordering more for our next cocktail party.

    • jaimieve1

    • 11/30/2015

  • This is a great recipe. With Halloween slowly approaching, I think a Bloody (Moscow) Mule is more appropriate for my palate. I found this recipe on Pinterest

    • food_that_lifts

    • New York, NY

    • 10/7/2015

  • Poorly written, no links to recipe for ginger beer. Moscow Mule is not served in a Collins glass. The copper that the mug is made of enhances the subtle flavors of each of the individual ingredients but you don't bother to point this out.

    • foodiekate

    • Houston. Tx

    • 9/18/2015

  • i love these. these are incredibly well-known, if not necessarily very popular nowadays, in Japan of all places. thats where i first had them anyway. very tasty and very...invigorating. the snap of the ginger along with the carbonation really lifts you up and MAKES YOU THINK that youre not too drunk. lovely drink.

    • justicejr

    • MA

    • 6/20/2015

  • This is a great Moscow Mule. In search of a very good ginger beer, Jamican ginger beer compared to Cock and Bull is better in my opinion. Cock and Bull has an artificial taste.

    • enrich

    • 5/12/2015

  • I realize that's an old comment, but I slways make them with hard ginger beer, and in fact didn't know they were traditionally made with non-alcoholic ginger beer until looking it up. The recipe I use is Sprecher's ginger beer, with a shot of vodka and half a shot of lime grenadine, with a slice or two of lime. They'll definitely get you drunk, but they're nice and refreshing and downright delicious.

    • keeyoubitch

    • Burlington, WI

    • 3/25/2015

  • I have a question.................I have never seen any recipe that uses alcoholic ginger beer. has anyone ever tried it this way?

    • BOFA

    • Dallas, TX

    • 10/2/2014

  • Squeeze the lime into the mug or glass before throwing it in to get the most refreshing taste possible.

    • lizhhknj

    • Bergen County, NJ

    • 1/4/2014

  • Here's a quick and easy recipe for ginger beer that elevates the cocktail to a much higher level. It can be done in 24 hours or 48 hrs if you want it bubbly.

    • cynicalseth

    • Telluride, CO

    • 11/10/2012

  • fabulous! very refreshing. I just added freshly grated ginger.

    • Anonymous

    • Guatemala

    • 8/19/2012

  • Easy and delicious!

    • Anonymous

    • washington, dc

    • 11/28/2011

  • This is great with Stewart's Ginger Beer, which is sweet enough that the drink is all about the kick. But since there wasn't any plain ginger beer today I tried it with Reeds Raspberry Ginger Beer, and added an oz of simple syrup per glass. A nice, fruitier variant.

    • Anonymous

    • New York, NY

    • 8/16/2009

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