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The Moscow Mule is a world famous cocktail, and for good reason! It’s tasty, it’s strong, and it’s a well loved classic – not to mention how fizzy and unique it is! And, for true authenticity, you should always drink this novel classic in a copper mug!
However, there’s a popular alternative to the Moscow Mule, for those who prefer their drinks more on the southern than Slavic side – the Kentucky Mule!
Origin of the Kentucky Mule
Seeing as the Kentucky Mule is a variation on the Moscow Mule, perhaps it’s a good idea to have a quick look at the history of the Moscow Mule!
Well, actually, perhaps that should be histories. You see, there are actually a few different stories that surround the creation of the Moscow Mule.
One thing remains consistent amongst the stories – the Moscow Mule isn’t actually a Russian drink (which likely isn’t a surprise to you), but an American invention. As to where exactly it was invented is not sure – some say Los Angeles, some Reno, others Tahoe. However, the most well known stories place the origin of the Moscow Mule in New York.
According to the more famous story, the Moscow Mule was invented at the bar of the Chatham Hotel, New York City. Three men were drinking there. The men were John A. Morgan (better known as Jack – who was the president of Cock ‘n’ Bull products, the makers of the famous Cock ‘n’ Bull ginger beer – John G. Martin – the president of G.F. Hueblein Brothers – and finally, the president of Hueblein’s vodka division, Rudolph Kunett.
Supposedly, Martin and Kunett were curious as to what a mixture of their vodka would taste like mixed with Morgan’s ginger beer – and a hint of lemon. And, by all accounts, they were pleased with the drink!
Supposedly, Martin is also the reason that the Moscow Mule is served in a copper cup – the original copper cup was a prop for photos that Martin would use to market the drink, and Smirnoff vodka.
However, there is, of course, a less romantic version of the origin story of the Moscow Mule.
The alternative story states that the inventor of the Moscow Mule was not these three businessmen – but actually the head bartender, a man called Wes Price. This tale tells a much different origin story – rather than being a moment of inspired genius, the Moscow Mule was actually made from a need to clean some old stock out of the basement.
Price had some unsold ginger beer and vodka that just needed to be gotten rid of – so he put them together, and the drink was born. And, of course, the old stock in the basement got cleared!
Regardless, the most important part of any variant of the Mule is the ginger beer – its fizz and tang is the key to the whole sensation! Vodka, being a flavorless alcohol, can be readily substituted in this place for any flavor of alcohol one might choose. Which is where the Kentucky Mule comes in!
How to Make a Kentucky Mule
Just like the drink from which it originated, the Kentucky Mule is actually quite easy to make. Especially if you happen to have a basement full of old stock of ginger beer and bourbon that you need to get rid of!
You’ll need 2 ounces of bourbon, in place of the vodka that you’d normally use in a Moscow Mule. This should really be authentic Kentucky bourbon – after all, you could hardly make a proper Kentucky Mule with bourbon from New Orleans!
You’ll also need some good quality ginger beer, as this is the key to the whole Mule experience! Of course, there’s nothing to stop you using ginger ale, its less spicy cousin.
A dash of lime juice is the last essential ingredient to a Kentucky Mule. Ideally, this should be freshly squeezed from the fruit – but you can always use lime juice from a bottle instead.
Some ice is a great idea too – whether cubed or crushed, it’s your choice!
Oh – and why a slice of lime, and perhaps some mint, to garnish and top the whole thing off?
Ideally, for authenticity, you should use a copper mug – which is surprising, given the acidity of a Kentucky Mule. If you don’t have one, no problem though – simply use a cocktail glass of your choice!
You can use a shaker or just stir in a glass. If you’re opting for the glass, fill it with ice – either crushed or cubed, it’s up to you. Pour in the bourbon and the lime juice – 2 ounces of bourbon, ideally. Then, simply top it off with ginger beer!
Now, all you have to do is garnish it – although, given how delicious it is, that’s an option that you can feel free to skip if you just want to get to tasting it!
- 2 oz bourbon
- 0.5 oz lime juice
- 0.5 oz simple syrup optional, if you prefer it sweet
- 1 splash ginger beer to top
- lime wedge to garnish
- Fill your glass with ice – either crushed or cubed, it’s up to you!
- Pour in the bourbon and the lime juice. Then, simply top it off with a splash of ginger beer!
- Garnish with lime wedge or mint
There you are – a quick and simple recipe for the Kentucky Mule, a fantastic drink!
Looking for mule variations? Head on over to our tequila mule recipe next!