An easy and refreshing Kentucky Mule recipe! It’s a twist on our classic Moscow mule recipe and made with bourbon instead of vodka. This easy cocktail is simple to make with just 4 simple ingredients!
We are huge Moscow mule fans and my refrigerator is always stocked with ginger beer and fresh limes! The classic cocktail has become a favorite because it’s flavorful and one of the easiest cocktails to make!
It has a zesty, bright flavor and tastes even better when served in a chilled copper mug. It’s a beautiful drink to serve year-round and can be altered to make different flavors, like cranberry, apple, and blueberry.
The drink is called a Kentucky mule because bourbon is used in place of vodka. In the United States Kentucky is the Bourbon capital and home to many famous bourbon brands. Some of our favorites include Bulleit, Woodford Reserve, and Elijah Craig. Another name for this drink is a whiskey mule.
Bourbon is a type of American whiskey that’s made primarily from corn. It has a distinct flavor with notes of vanilla, oak, and caramel. We like using Bulleit bourbon for this recipe because it’s affordable and has a great flavor.
This drink is great to serve year-round, especially if you’re hosting the Kentucky Derby!
How to Make A Kentucky Mule Recipe
Table of Contents
The full recipe is in the recipe card below.
Copper Mug – Not only do these look beautiful, but they make the drink taste better and keep it colder for longer. It truly does add a completely different experience when sipping from the copper cup and is almost a necessity when making a true Moscow mule.
Cocktail Jigger – Helps to measure the perfect amount of ingredients. This is especially important when making cocktails so each drink tastes the same.
Here are all of the ingredients you need to make this Kentucky mule recipe. You can find most of them at your local grocery store and liquor store.
Bourbon – Use any Kentucky bourbon you prefer.
Fresh lime juice – Fresh-squeezed lime juice is always the best. We never use already made lime juice in our recipes.
Ginger beer – Use a good quality ginger beer for the best flavor. Something like Fever Tree or Bundaberg.
Simple syrup – This is a sweetener that is made by simmering sugar and water. We add just a little simple syrup to this recipe to give it a touch of sweetness. Follow our complete guide to making simple syrup.
Mint leaves – This is used as a garnish for the drink. You can also use other fresh herbs.
Make a quick simple syrup. If you want a really strong ginger flavor we recommend making a ginger simple syrup. This is the best way to add even more ginger to the drink.
- Add the bourbon, simple syrup, lime juice, and ice into a copper mug.
- Pour gingerbeer over the top.
- Garnish with a lime wheel or a lime wedge and a sprig of mint.
Tips for Making The Best Kentucky Mule
- If you don’t have a copper mug, no problem! Any glass will work. Just make sure to add plenty of ice so it stays cold.
- Use fresh lime juice for the best flavor. Bottled lime juice just doesn’t taste as good.
- Make a ginger simple syrup for an even more gingery flavor. This is optional but we think it’s worth it!
- Not a fan of mint? Leave it out or try using another herb like rosemary or thyme.
We love our Kentucky mule recipe variation, but if you’re looking for more fun ideas, check these out:
Kombucha Mule – One of our favorite variations! This one uses kombucha to give it some fizz.
Pineapple Mule – The most perfect summer mule! Use pineapple juice to make this drink tropical.
Gingerbread Mule – This one uses gingerbread spices and molasses to sweeten it!
Tokyo Mule – This is another one of our favorites. It’s made with sake and cucumber and has a spa-like flavor to it!
Spicy Mule – Use spicy ginger beer and add in a slice of jalapeno!
Ginger Simple Syrup
We enjoy the extra ginger flavor a ginger simple syrup adds. It’s easy to make too! The best way to make it is to use ginger juice instead of water. Equal parts ginger juice and sugar, simmered in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves.
You can also make it with sugar, water, and 3 tablespoons of fresh ginger. Simmer everything in a small saucepan and then strain the ginger out.
Make it non-alcoholic
This is an easy drink to make without alcohol. We suggest using a zero-proof bourbon to replace bourbon whiskey. This allows the drink to have the botanical and vanilla flavors of the bourbon.
If you don’t have a zero-proof bourbon, simply leave it out and make this drink using ginger beer, lime juice, and mint. Serve it in a copper mug to get the true Moscow mule experience!
Favorite Copper Mugs
We always have copper mugs on hand since we make and serve a lot of Moscow mules in our house! Here are a few of our favorite copper mugs.
When to Serve a Kentucky Mule
This drink is perfect to serve all year round! We especially love making them in the fall and winter or for special occasions like the Kentucky Derby party. It’s also great for any of these occasions:
- As an after-dinner drink
- At a holiday party
- During football season
- Happy Hour
Frequently Asked Questions
The biggest difference is the type of alcohol used. A Kentucky mule uses bourbon while a Moscow mule uses vodka.
There is no alcohol in ginger beer. It’s a non-alcoholic soda that’s made with ginger, lime, and sugar. It’s called ginger beer because it has a slightly alcoholic taste without the actual alcohol.
If you don’t have simple syrup you can use agave nectar or even sugar. Just dissolve the sweetener in a little bit of hot water so it’s easy to mix into the drink.
Besides the classic vodka mule, there are several variations of Moscow mules you can make. The three most popular are:
Gin Gin Mule: Uses gin instead of vodka
Tequila or Mexican Mule: Uses tequila instead of vodka
Kentucky Mule: Uses bourbon instead vodka
More Bourbon Cocktails You’ll Love
Here are more refreshing cocktails made with bourbon!
Mint Julep – Another great cocktail for the Kentucky Derby! This is a refreshing bourbon drink to make in the spring.
Old Fashioned – One of the most popular cocktails in the world! Made with bourbon, bitters, and a slice of orange.
Red Moon Over Manhattan – We created this cocktail years ago and it’s become one of our most popular drinks. It’s made with red wine and bourbon! So good!
We hope you enjoy this delicious twist on a traditional Moscow mule! This cocktail recipe is one of our favorites! Let us know if you make this bourbon cocktail by leaving a comment and review below!
Kentucky Mule Recipe
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce lime juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 3 ounces ginger beer
- Fill a copper cup with ice and add in the bourbon, lime juice and simple syrup.
- Give it a stir and top with ginger beer.
- Garnish with a lime wheel and a sprig of mint.