Moscow Mule: Cocktail introduction and description

It might look, taste and even sound flashy, but the true beauty of the Moscow Mule cocktail lies in its simplicity. Master the recipe and find out more about its history – it might even surprise you...

So, how was the Moscow Mule invented? Let’s take a quick trip back in time before we dive into this Moscow Mule recipe. Although the name suggests otherwise, this cocktail wasn’t actually invented in Russia. It was created in Los Angeles in 1941 as a way to get Americans into vodka. The drink became a huge hit in Hollywood, and word eventually caught on around the world. The rest is – you guessed it – history.

Moscow Mule ingredients

Moscow mule being prepared by a barman

So now you’ve got a bit of background, let’s get down to business. There are just a few Moscow Mule ingredients, so it’s important you pick the right ones. For the vodka, we’d recommend the OG, Smirnoff. Or if you prefer, Absolut works just as well. The ginger beer should be just that – beer. But if you have to switch it up with ginger ale instead, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. And it goes without saying, freshly squeezed lime juice is always better than bottled.

So here’s exactly what you’ll need…

(Makes 1 cocktail)

  • A copper mug
  • 1 scoop of cubed ice
  • 40ml (1.5oz) vodka
  • 20ml (¾ oz) fresh lime juice
  • Ginger beer (just fill that glass right up)
  • A wedge of fresh lime for garnish


Step 1

Start building your cocktail by pouring a scoop of ice cubes in your copper mug. Moscow Mule mugs aren’t super easy to come by, but you’ll be able to find loads online. We’re pretty traditional about our cocktails here at EBS, so we think they’re well worth investing in.

Step 2

Next, pour your vodka and lime juice over the ice. The original Moscow Mule recipe uses Smirnoff vodka, which is one of our favourites. You can go for their classic Smirnoff original, or if you want to push the boat out (which we always encourage), try one of their premium blends, Smirnoff Red or Smirnoff Black. These two are filtered using the traditional charcoal method, giving them a deep and authentic flavour.

Step 3

Fill up your glass with ginger beer, and garnish with a wedge of fresh lime. As we said earlier, the world won’t end if you use ginger ale instead. But a good ginger beer can really be the star of a Moscow Mule recipe. It gives the cocktail a spicy kick that complements the zingy lime and sharp vodka.

Phew – now the *ahem* hard work is over, it’s finally time to enjoy your cocktail. So, Ваше здоровье! Or (more accurately), cheers!

If you liked this cocktail, you’ll be pleased to know there are tons of delicious variations on the classic Moscow Mule recipe, and we’ve listed some of our favourites here.

Cocktail making got you feeling inspired? Then you might be a perfect fit for our International Bartender Course. In just four weeks, you’ll master more than 65 cocktail recipes, meet a whole new group of friends and have a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Could this be what you've been looking for?