In 1941, Sophie Berezinkski spent hours with the fellas at Cock’n Bull concocting the perfect drink for her pure copper mugs. After much testing, mixing, and tasting, the Moscow Mule was born.

This drink contained essential ingredients--vodka, ginger beer, and limes--all of which are vital to creating the cold, fizzy, refreshing, and sometimes even electrifying taste of the traditional Moscow Mule.

From that day on, bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts from around the world have been putting their own spin on the classic beverage.

In 1941, Sophie Berezinkski spent hours with the fellas at Cock’n Bull concocting the perfect drink for her pure copper mugs. After much testing, mixing, and tasting, the Moscow Mule was born.

This drink contained essential ingredients--vodka, ginger beer, and limes--all of which are vital to creating the cold, fizzy, refreshing, and sometimes even electrifying taste of the traditional Moscow Mule.

From that day on, bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts from around the world have been putting their own spin on the classic beverage.

An Essential Element for the Perfect Moscow Mule

The mere name evokes the sound of ice clinking and paints a picture of people dressed to the nines in a classy bar. For Moscow Mule drinkers, it also means the taste of a sophisticated cocktail. But what exactly makes the perfect Mule vodka?

Keep reading to find out...

Why Is Vodka So Important?

The ingredient vodka does far more than just add a smooth, bold, traditional taste to a Moscow Mule. On top of providing flavor, it’s an essential element in cooling down your beverage when added to a copper mug with ice.

This property ensures an ice-cold, refreshing drink every time.

What Vodka Should Go in Your Moscow Mule?

You can use any vodka brand that suits your mood (and your pocketbook) as a base for your Moscow Mule. In fact, using a variety of different brands offers the potential to create a unique flavor profile in your drink.

We say try it all!
The mere name evokes the sound of ice clinking, the hum of background conversation at a classy bar. For Moscow Mule drinkers, it also means the taste of a sophisticated cocktail. But just what makes the perfect Mule vodka? We know some of you may already be connoisseurs, but we’d like all our fans to be on equal footing. So let’s begin.

HOW IS VODKA MADE?

At its most basic, vodka is simply a fermented starch (most often using grains like corn or wheat, and in some places potato) that is then distilled into a more concentrated liquor. While the drink traces back hundreds of years to either Poland or a region in modern-day Russia (depending on whose history account you read), the Smirnoff brand that started in the 1860’s in Russia, and made its way to America in the 1930’s.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIGH-END & LOW-END VODKA?

Like many other alcohols, the last few decades have seen a proliferation of vodka brands appear. With so much variety, consumers are left to wonder what sets premium vodka apart, aside from the price tag and pretty bottle.

Put simply, high-end vodka is made with more TLC. Where a cheaper vodka might be dashed out in as little as three steps (ferment, distill, dilute), premiums often have a more elaborate procedure. Before bottling, they will distill the liquor multiple times, filter it repeatedly– charcoal is a favorite flavor-enhancing medium – and go the extra mile to eliminate the harsh bite of ethanol by adding extra sugar, citric acid, or (in all countries but the U.S.) glycerin. Beyond the longer process, there’s also the use of higher-quality ingredients: heirloom potatoes, locally-sourced wheat, and in some cases grapes are even used.

WHAT VODKA SHOULD GO IN MY MOSCOW MULE?

We hope you don’t mind, but we’re going to do something taboo. We’re going to recommend using (eek!) different brands of vodka in your Moscow Mule. While purists cling to Smirnoff, the original spirit, today’s vodka market is huge and offers more variety than the post-prohibition-era when our favorite drink was born. So experiment. You may like the slightly oily mouth feel of Absolut, the more crisp bite of Stoli, or the fuller flavor of the potato-based Chopin. Or perhaps you’d like your vodka to align with your values – handcrafted American vodka is available from Hangar 1 (our personal favorite), Tito’s or dozens of smaller batch local distilleries. 360 touts itself as the first eco-friendly vodka, and there’s even brands that hype up their gluten-free status.

The issue ultimately distills down to this: any vodka that suits your mood (and your pocketbook) is a good base for your Moscow Mule, and offers the potential to create a unique flavor profile. Try them all out, and let us know in the comments below which vodka(s) you like best.
The next ingredient, ginger beer, gives a Moscow Mule its classic fizzy texture along with effervescence and spiciness--qualities that make this such a flavorful and distinctive drink.

Nothing beats the bold ginger flavors and fresh aromatics when a Moscow Mule is mixed just right. Here are a few flavor profiles you can get when using different types of ginger beers...
Spicy

Considered to be more of an artisanal style variety, Q Ginger Beer--made with real ginger--is crafted with quality ingredients. In addition to the ginger, you’ll notice flavorful notes of organic agave, coriander, cardamom, cayenne, rose oil, and orange peel.

Cock’n Bull Ginger Beer, originally developed by Jack Morgan, owner of the renowned Cock’n Bull Restaurant in Hollywood, the home of the original Moscow Mule, is still available today.
Strong & Bold

The classic Reed’s Jamaican-Style Ginger Beer is sweet and spicy with a strong ginger flavor that packs a punch.

Crafted using spring water and natural ingredients, Llanllyr Source Fiery Ginger Beer is a premium ginger beer made with gingers and spices that combine for an earthy base with a bold but balanced kick of spice.
Sweet

The traditional sweet Bundaberg Ginger Beer that contains a hint of ginger spice is a popular classic that is brewed in barrels in Australia. This ginger beer is housed in distinctive, stubby brown glass bottles with a tear-off metal lid. If you can’t find this brand, Gosling’s Ginger Beer is a great alternative with similar flavor properties.
Tangy

A line of artisanal, premium mixers out of the UK, Fever-Tree’s Ginger Beer is as elegant as it is exceptional, making it the ginger beer of choice for many bartenders. It’s made using two different types of ginger—a fresh, citrusy green ginger from Ecuador and a hot, earthy variety with origins in Nigeria. This gives the drink a uniquely balanced flavor profile, one that is spicy or tangy without being too peppery.
Cloudy

A great ginger beer variety with cloudy credibility is Seabold Ginger Beer. Handcrafted in small batches in Los Angeles, Seabold really puts the ginger front and center. Each batch is handmade and individually numbered. When they sell out, that’s it—there’s no more until the next batch is cooked up. It’s primarily available in the Los Angeles area at farmer’s markets and juice stores.
Fizzy

Stoli, the makers of premium vodka, has capitalized on the popularity of the Moscow Mule, and now also sells their own branded Stoli Premium Mixer Ginger Beer. Made with pure cane sugar, this ginger beer is described as well-balanced, with a spicy sweetness and with lots of carbonation for those who enjoy fizzy mules.
Boozy

In the UK, ginger beer is brewed with an extra kick--alcohol. Boozy varieties include Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer, a refreshing, light-bodied ginger beer with a spicy, fresh ginger flavor, notes of citrus, and a warming finish, which offers the additional boost of 4.8% alc/vol.
Craft Concentrate

If you like DIY beverages, you can either make your own ginger beer at home or use a ginger beer concentrate. Top Hat Provisions based out of San Francisco has done just that. Their popular Ginger Beer is a craft concentrate that features quality ingredients of organic ginger extract, organic evaporated cane juice, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, citric acid, and filtered water. Mix with sparkling water or club soda at home, and strike the perfect balance of ginger and spice for your own taste.
Brewed ginger beer is an essential element of the classic Moscow Mule, adding that effervescence and spiciness that helps make this such a flavorful and distinctive drink. Today, there are plenty of varieties of ginger beer available, from sweet and spicy to citrusy, cloudy, craft concentrates or even downright boozy. When made just right, you will experience a bold ginger kick accompanied by fresh aromatics.
Spicy

Considered to be more of an artisanal style variety, Q Ginger Beer--made with real ginger--is crafted with quality ingredients. In addition to the ginger, you’ll notice flavorful notes of organic agave, coriander, cardamom, cayenne, rose oil, and orange peel.

Cock’n Bull Ginger Beer, originally developed by Jack Morgan, owner of the renowned Cock’n Bull Restaurant in Hollywood, the home of the original Moscow Mule, is still available today.

Strong & Bold

The classic Reed’s Jamaican-Style Ginger Beer is sweet and spicy with a strong ginger flavor that packs a punch.

Crafted using spring water and natural ingredients, Llanllyr Source Fiery Ginger Beer is a premium ginger beer made with gingers and spices that combine for an earthy base with a bold but balanced kick of spice.

Sweet

The traditional sweet Bundaberg Ginger Beer that contains a hint of ginger spice is a popular classic that is brewed in barrels in Australia. This ginger beer is housed in distinctive, stubby brown glass bottles with a tear-off metal lid. If you can’t find this brand, Gosling’s Ginger Beer is a great alternative with similar flavor properties.

Tangy

A line of artisanal, premium mixers out of the UK, Fever-Tree’s Ginger Beer is as elegant as it is exceptional, making it the ginger beer of choice for many bartenders. It’s made using two different types of ginger—a fresh, citrusy green ginger from Ecuador and a hot, earthy variety with origins in Nigeria. This gives the drink a uniquely balanced flavor profile, one that is spicy or tangy without being too peppery.

Cloudy

A great ginger beer variety with cloudy credibility is Seabold Ginger Beer. Handcrafted in small batches in Los Angeles, Seabold really puts the ginger front and center. Each batch is handmade and individually numbered. When they sell out, that’s it—there’s no more until the next batch is cooked up. It’s primarily available in the Los Angeles area at farmer’s markets and juice stores.

Fizzy

Stoli, the makers of premium vodka, has capitalized on the popularity of the Moscow Mule, and now also sells their own branded Stoli Premium Mixer Ginger Beer. Made with pure cane sugar, this ginger beer is described as well-balanced, with a spicy sweetness and with lots of carbonation for those who enjoy fizzy mules.

Boozy

In the UK, ginger beer is brewed with an extra kick--alcohol. Boozy varieties include Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer, a refreshing, light-bodied ginger beer with a spicy, fresh ginger flavor, notes of citrus, and a warming finish, which offers the additional boost of 4.8% alc/vol.

Craft Concentrate

If you like DIY beverages, you can either make your own ginger beer at home or use a ginger beer concentrate. Top Hat Provisions based out of San Francisco has done just that. Their popular Ginger Beer is a craft concentrate that features quality ingredients of organic ginger extract, organic evaporated cane juice, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, citric acid, and filtered water. Mix with sparkling water or club soda at home, and strike the perfect balance of ginger and spice for your own taste.

A Hint of Lime Goes a Long Way

Last but not least, it’s essential that you finish your Moscow Mule off with a squeeze of lime--a trademark ingredient of the Original Moscow Mule.

This ingredient is vital to capturing the flavor profile of a Moscow Mule. As the lime is squeezed and stirred into your drink, copper citrate produces a mild flavor that masks metallic tones in your mug. This enhances the overall flavor of the mule--yum!

What Type of Lime Should You Use?

If you’re looking to add a little more of the old mule kick into your concoction, a key lime is the assertive way to go, with an acidic, tangy citrus bite that has slightly herbal undertones.

If, on the other hand, you’re into a milder bite, the Persian lime is less bitter and tends to please a broader range of palates. Not to mention, its larger size produces much more juice! Whichever lime you choose, you really can’t go wrong.

Let’s Make History

From the day of the Moscow Mule’s creation, lime has been an essential recipe ingredient. Without it, your Mule will lack traditional flavor tones. So, when you’re out at the store, don’t forget to pick up a bag of limes for the next time you mix a drink--Sophie would be proud!