Mexican Mule (and several mule variations)

By Ann Fulton

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A cross between the classic Moscow mule and the much-loved Margarita, this refreshing cocktail may just become the drink of the season! 

A cross between the classic Moscow mule and the much-loved Margarita, this refreshing cocktail requires just four ingredients and may just become the drink of the season! 

 

 

 

As I was reading up on some food history recently, I stumbled upon a curious newspaper article from 2016. 

While at a cocktail convention (who knew?), Robert Simonson, the article’s author, learned that a cocktail named the Moscow mule was “the drink that started it all.”

That comment was referring to vodka’s popularity in the United States. The funny thing is that Simonson, a cocktail and drink writer for the New York Times, had never heard of the drink. 

Fast forward a year or two, and Moscow mules were all the rage.

Invented in 1941, a Moscow mule consists of three basic ingredients: vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. Traditionally, the drink is served in a copper mug.

Many cocktails, of course, call for specific glassware—a highball or martini glass, for example. By why the copper mug? 

Copper is known to be a superior thermal conductor. This means that copper mugs react to the temperature of what’s inside, keeping it hot or cold depending on the beverage. 

So, why did the mug stick for mules and not a variety of other hot and cold beverages?

Some experts claim that copper enhances the individual flavors of the ingredients. The explanation involved oxidization and why that boosts the aroma and the taste of the vodka. 

But perhaps that’s more information that we need…

Jessica Rose, who I met a few years ago and sells gorgeous handcrafted copper mugs through her company Moscow Muled, will tell you that a copper mug is simply fun to drink out of and need not be reserved for the cocktail hour. 

A cross between the classic Moscow mule and the much-loved Margarita, this refreshing cocktail may just become the drink of the season! 

But back to the appeal of the Moscow mule.

When something becomes really popular, we often see spinoffs on the original. As such, a variety of liquors have been used in place of vodka over the years. 

What are some variations on the classic mule?

  • Kentucky Mule – a Moscow mule made with bourbon
  • Gin Buck (or Gin Gin Mule) – a Moscow mule made with gin
  • Dark ‘n Stormy – a Moscow mule made with dark rum
  • Mexican Mule – a Moscow mule made with tequila (and in the case of the following recipe, one notable extra!)

Beyond these basic liquor swaps, I have seen creative mules infused with fruits, vegetables, and herbs from cherries and melon to cucumber and cilantro. Recipes also exist for mules invoking floral flavors like lavender, spicy notes from jalapeños, and holiday flavors and colors like cranberry and rosemary. (Yule mule anyone?) 

A cross between the classic Moscow mule and the much-loved Margarita, this refreshing cocktail may just become the drink of the season! 

My favorite is the Mexican mule, which takes its inspiration as much from the classic Margarita as it does from the original mule. Beyond simply swapping the vodka for tequila, I round out the flavor with a hint of triple sec.

You could use more expensive Cointreau, but I think the former, which is slightly sweeter, does a stellar job of balancing the tartness of the lime.

Because I’ve never shared the ratio of ingredients that I prefer for the traditional Moscow mule, I’m sharing that here, too. I’ve included a separate print option below the Mexican mule with a few additional details. 

Of course, if you don’t have copper mugs, rest assured that these cocktails will still taste delicious no matter how you serve them. 🥂

Mexican Mule
Yield: 1 serving
A cross between the classic Moscow mule and the much-loved Margarita, this refreshing cocktail may just become the drink of the season! 
Ingredients
  • 1½ ounces tequila blanco (could use 2 ounces for more punch)
  • ½ ounce triple sec
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 ounces ginger beer, chilled*
  • To garnish: Lime slice and jalapeño slice (optional)
Instructions

Fill a copper mug or glass of choice with ice. Pour in the tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and cold ginger beer. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge and optional jalapeño slice.

 

 

 

Notes & Options

*Be sure you buy ginger BEER, not ginger ALE (its milder, sweeter, more carbonated sister). If you’re new to ginger beer, know that, despite the name, there is no alcohol in it. The flavor will vary from brand to brand. Bundaberg is widely available and is one of my favorites.

•If you’d like a touch of heat in your Mexican mule, simply muddle a slice or two of jalapeño in the bottom of the mug with a splash of ginger beer before mixing the cocktail. Note that this will provide a light vegetal flavor as well.
•If you’d like to serve a crowd, you may scale the recipe up and make it a pitcher drink.
•If you’d like to prep ahead, combine everything but the ginger beer, adding that just before serving to make the most of the carbonation. That said, if you have leftover ginger beer, place the cap on top of the bottle and refrigerate. If you use it within two days, it will still make a very good drink

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

Like a wine glass, the mugs are not traditionally filled more than halfway when used for a cocktail. So, for the sake of the photos, I doubled the recipe so you could better see the drink. 

Moscow Mule
Yield: 1 serving
If you've ordered this drink at a restaurant more than once, you may have realized that not all mules are created equal. I have enjoyed some far more than others. The combination below is my personal favorite, which has been equally enjoyed by several of my mule-loving friends!
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • 4 ounces ginger beer (not ginger ale; for those who haven’t tried, this is non-alcoholic)
  • For garnish: lime slice
  • Optional but recommended: 1 juicy orange or clementine wedge
Instructions

Fill a copper mug or similarly sized glass with ice.

Pour in the vodka and lime juice. Add the ginger beer and gently swirl it with a spoon to mix. If using, give the orange wedge and good squeeze and drop it in the glass.

Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy!

Notes & Options

*Though not traditional, I love the addition of orange. It balances the lime and, I think, makes for a smoother, more appealing cocktail.

•This drink can also be made with gin or bourbon. With any of these options and for a drink reminiscent of a Mint Julep, muddling or simply garnishing with fresh mint is nice for those who enjoy that flavor.
•If you’d like to serve a crowd, you may scale the recipe up and make it a pitcher drink.
•If you’d like to prep ahead, combine everything but the ginger beer, adding that just before serving to make the most of the carbonation. That said, if you have leftover ginger beer, place the cap on top of the bottle and refrigerate. If you use it within two days, it will still make a very good drink.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

This is not an advertisement, but I am including a link to Jessica’s site in case you’d like to learn more or perhaps purchase the copper mugs (Jessica sells her sparkly handmade mugs for $19.50 for a set of two). She will also tell you that, unlike some copper mugs, hers are made of stainless steel on the interior, which is beneficial because copper reacts with acids. The copper will also develop a natural patina over time. And last but not least, her company, Moscow Muled, donates 15% of profits to several non-profit organizations that work to stop impaired driving.) 

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Comments

  1. C.N. Post author

    Just sharing how much we have been enjoying the Mexican Mule drink and your cheese bites that are now added to the recipe box of favorites, thanks!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying the mules and the cheese bites-a very good combination! Many thanks for the thoughtful feedback.

      Reply