Kentucky Mule Cocktail Recipe

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Kentucky Mule Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Kentucky Mule is a variation of the classic Moscow Mule, which was created in the 1940s by combining vodka, ginger beer, and lime. The Kentucky Mule replaces vodka with bourbon, giving it a distinct American twist. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy the spiciness of ginger beer and the warmth of bourbon. It's a popular choice for summer gatherings, barbecues, and Kentucky Derby parties.

How Kentucky Mule Tastes?

The Kentucky Mule has a bold, spicy, and slightly sweet taste. The combination of bourbon and ginger beer creates a warming sensation, while the lime adds a refreshing citrusy tang.

Interesting facts about Kentucky Mule

  • The Kentucky Mule is a popular choice for Kentucky Derby parties, as it combines the state's famous bourbon with the refreshing taste of ginger beer and lime.
  • The copper mug traditionally used for Moscow Mules is also used for Kentucky Mules, as it helps to keep the drink cold and enhances the flavors.
  • The name 'mule' is thought to come from the 'kick' that the ginger beer provides in the cocktail.


A few good options for Kentucky Mule are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


The robust foundation of the Kentucky Mule. Bourbon brings a smoky sweetness that's quintessentially American. Too much and you'll overpower the drink; too little and it loses its backbone, becoming a ginger-lime spritzer. Substitute with rye for a spicier kick, but then, you're making a different mule!

Alex Green

Ginger Beer

This fizzy mixer adds spice and refreshment. Alter the amount and you slide between a spicy kick and a mild buzz. Swap for ginger ale for a softer touch, but then, the mule won't kick as hard!

Emma Rose

Fresh Lime Juice

The zingy tartness cuts through the sweetness, balancing the cocktail. Skip it, and your mule turns into a wild stallion, too sweet to tame. Swap out for lemon and you're in a whole new citrus pasture. Balance is key; don't let the lime overpower the bourbon's whisper.

Mary Mitkina


Keeps it cool and dilutes the drink to perfection. Skip it and watch your mule turn from a refreshing steed to a hot-headed beast. No one likes a sweaty mule!

Alex Green

Mint Sprig

The aromatic garnish that's worth its weight in green. It's a nose-pleaser that makes each sip a breezy affair. Forget it, and your mule may feel a tad underdressed. Replace with basil for an herby twist on tradition.

Emma Rose

Garnish: Lime Wheel

An eye-catcher and palette prepper, the lime wheel signals citrus and fun. Go without, and it's like a mule without its hooves. Aesthetically pleasing and undeniably purposeful!

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Kentucky Mule Drink

  1. Fill a copper mug or rocks glass with ice.
  2. Pour 2 oz of bourbon over the ice.
  3. Add 0.5 oz of fresh lime juice.
  4. Top with 4 oz of ginger beer and gently stir to combine.
  5. Garnish with a lime wheel and a sprig of mint.

Pro Tips

  • Use a high-quality ginger beer for the best flavor and spiciness.
  • Squeeze the lime juice just before making the cocktail to ensure maximum freshness.
  • Slap the mint sprig between your hands before garnishing to release its aroma.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Barbecue: The smoky flavors of barbecue ribs or brisket complement the bourbon in the Kentucky Mule.
  • Southern Cuisine: Try it with fried chicken or shrimp and grits for a truly Southern experience.
  • Spicy Dishes: The ginger beer's spiciness pairs well with Asian or Indian food.
  • Desserts: A classic bread pudding or a slice of pecan pie would be enhanced by the cocktail's sweetness and spice.

Drink Pairings

  • Water: To cleanse the palate between sips.
  • Iced Tea: Non-alcoholic option that complements the Southern vibe.

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What you could change in Kentucky Mule

  • Bourbon can be replaced with rye whiskey for a spicier flavor.
  • Ginger ale can be used instead of ginger beer for a milder taste, but the cocktail will lose some of its signature spiciness.

Explore all drinks starting with K here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Mule

Ingredients: Replace bourbon with mezcal. Recipe: Follow the original recipe, swapping out bourbon for mezcal. Description: The Smoky Mule introduces a new level of smokiness and depth, adding an agave kick to your classic mule that'll have you thinking you're south of the border.

Spiced Apple Mule

Ingredients: Add 1 oz of apple cider and a dash of cinnamon. Recipe: Reduce bourbon to 1.5 oz, add apple cider and cinnamon before adding ginger beer. Description: Autumn in a cup! The apple's sweetness and cinnamon's warmth turn your usual mule into a seasonal sensation, perfect for holiday cheers.

Berry Mule

Ingredients: Muddle a handful of fresh berries at the bottom of the glass. Recipe: Muddle berries, then proceed with the original recipe. You might want to add a splash of simple syrup if the berries are tart. Description: The Berry Mule bursts with fruitiness and color, giving you a tangy twist on your refreshing cocktail. A berry good idea for summer gatherings!

In case you forgot basics how to make Kentucky Mule

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Kentucky Mule

What whiskey brands do you recommend for a Kentucky Mule?

While it ultimately depends on personal preference, some popular choices for bourbon whiskey in a Kentucky Mule are Maker's Mark, Woodford Reserve, and Buffalo Trace.

Are Kentucky Mules traditionally served in a specific type of glassware?

Yes, Kentucky Mules are traditionally served in copper mugs, similar to Moscow Mules. The copper helps keep the drink cold and some people say it enhances the flavors of the cocktail.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of a Kentucky Mule?

Yes, for a non-alcoholic version or 'mocktail', you can substitute the bourbon with non-alcoholic ginger beer and use lime-flavored sparkling water for the lime juice.

Why is ginger beer used more than ginger ale in cocktails?

Ginger beer tends to have a stronger, spicier flavor than ginger ale, making it more suited for cocktails. Ginger ale is sweeter and milder, which won't deliver the same 'kick' that ginger beer does.

What's the best time to serve Kentucky Mules?

Kentucky Mules are a great choice for summer gatherings and barbecues due to their refreshing and invigorating taste. However, they can be enjoyed any time of the year.

Can I prep Kentucky Mules in advance for a party?

While it's best made fresh, you can prepare the bourbon and lime juice in advance. Add the ginger beer just before serving to maintain its effervescence.

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