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Kentucky Mule

The Kentucky Mule is our new favorite mule which should be no surprise since we adore bourbon. Who knows? Maybe it will be your new favorite mule too.

Kentucky Mule with Black Background Up Close

Everybody knows about the Moscow Mule. It’s been a fixture in American bars since it was first crafted in Los Angeles back in 1939. Not only does it have a distinctive taste, but its copper dimpled mug is a cultural icon.

But what if we told you that there’s a better mule cocktail – one you can craft in less than five minutes at home?

After crafting and drinking a Kentucky Mule, you won’t just believe us. You’ll become a Kentucky Mule fan too.

What Is A Kentucky Mule?

Kentucky Mule with Pink Background
The Kentucky Mule may be the tastiest cocktail that takes less than five minutes to craft at home.

In simple terms, a Kentucky Mule is a Moscow Mule crafted with bourbon instead of vodka.

There’s no debate that the two drinks are similar. However, in our opinion, the Kentucky Mule is the superior cocktail.

Kentucky Mule with Black Background
If you can measure and stir then you can craft a Kentucky Mule. Our recipe is that easy.

We don’t know why bourbon combines splendidly with ginger beer. Then again, bourbon pairs well with most mixers. Ginger beer is no exception to this rule.

Fun Fact
Bourbon can be produced anywhere but it isn’t officially bourbon unless it’s produced in Kentucky.

Kentucky Mule Ingredients

Kentucky Mule Ingredients
Our Kentucky Bourbon recipe requires bourbon, ginger beer, a lime, fresh mint sprigs and ice. Nothing more. Nothing less.

You don’t need a lot of fancy ingredients to craft a Kentucky Mule. You probably have the following ingredients in your pantry and/or bar:

  • Bourbon
  • Ginger Beer
  • Lime Juice
  • Lime Wheel
  • Mint Sprigs
  • Ice Cubes

Essentially, you just need bourbon, ginger beer, lime and ice to craft a Kentucky Mule at home. However, you’ll also want some fresh mint for garnish. That being said. your Kentucky Mule will taste great with or without mint.

Kentucky Mule and Bourbon Bottle with Pink Background
Bourbon make turns a basic mule into a Kentucky Mule.

Don’t feel compelled to run to the liquor store to buy a special bottle of bourbon for this cocktail. Instead, you can and should use your favorite bourbon. There are no bad bourbon choices here!

We use Bulleit Bourbon due to its warm, rich flavors. This bourbon has a 45% ABV and a generous amount of rye in its mix.

Discover our favorite bourbon cocktails.

Bottle of Fever Tree Ginger Beer
Ginger beer adds spice and fizz.

Fever-Tree is our typical choice when it comes to ginger beer. This ginger beer blends fermented ginger root from Cochin, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast to create a spicy yet balanced mixer. It works well in our Kentucky Mule recipe.

How To Craft A Kentucky Mule Cocktail

Kentucky Mule Mise en Place
Once you gather your ingredients and tools, it’s time to craft a Kentucky Mule.

The first step in this recipe is to pour freshly squeezed lime juice into a Moscow Mule mug.

We use a miniature angled measuring cup for this step but you can use a jigger instead.

Pouring Lime Juice for Kentucky Mule Recipe
Fresh lime juice is a must when you craft a Kentucky Mule at home.

The second step is to measure the bourbon and ginger beer. We use a Japanese Jigger for this step to ensure accurate measurements and clean pours.

Measuring Bourbon for Kentucky Mule Recipe
Measuring with a Japanese Jigger makes mixology fun.

The third step is to pour the bourbon and ginger beer into the Moscow Mule mug.

Pour these ingredients immediately upon measuring each.

Pouring Ginger Beer into Kentucky Mule
Are you impressed that Mindi’s ring matches our copper mule mug? If not, you should be.

The fourth step is to fill the copper mule mug with ice cubes and gently stir.

We use a metal straw to stir the cocktail but you can use a bar spoon instead.

Adding Ice to Kentucky Mule
There’s no such thing as too much ice when it comes to crafting a Kentucky Mule cocktail.

The final step is to garnish the Kentucky Mule cocktail with a lime wheel and fresh mint sprigs.

Crafted Kentucky Mule
Voila! The Kentucky Mule is ready to drink after just three minutes of preparation.

Kentucky Mule Alternatives

Kentucky Mule with White Background from Above
The Kentucky Mule is our favorite mule cocktail. Which will be your favorite?

Unless you’re as stubborn as a mule, consider experimenting with the following mule recipes to discover your favorite:

  • Replace the bourbon with rum to craft a Dark & Stormy.
  • Replace the bourbon with gin to craft a Gin-Gin Mule.
  • Replace the bourbon with whiskey to craft an Irish Mule.
  • Replace the vodka with tequila to craft a Mexican Mule.
  • Replace the bourbon with gin to craft a Moscow Mule.

Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.

Recipe FAQs

What is a Kentucky Mule cocktail?

A Kentucky Mule is a Moscow Mule crafted with bourbon instead of vodka.

Why is it called a Kentucky Mule?

Similar to how the Moscow Mule is named after vodka’s homeland, the Kentucky Mule is named after bourbon’s homeland.

What are the ingredients in a Kentucky Mule?

Bourbon, Ginger Beer, Lime and Crushed Ice

What’s the best bourbon for a Kentucky Mule?

Your favorite Kentucky bourbon will work great in this cocktail.

Is the Kentucky Mule shaken or stirred?

The Kentucky Mule is stirred, not shaken.

Are Moscow Mule mugs necessary?

Yes. The Moscow Mule mug completes the Kentucky Mule cocktail.

Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.

Kentucky Mule with Black Background
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5 from 3 votes

Kentucky Mule Recipe

A Kentucky Mule is similar to a Moscow Mule but better. Learn how to craft one at home in just three minutes.
Prep Time3 minutes
Total Time3 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 173kcal


  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 4 ounces ginger beer
  • ½ ounce lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • ice cubes
  • lime wheel (garnish)
  • springs fresh mint (garnish)


  • Pour bourbon, ginger beer and lime juice into a copper mug.
  • Fill mug with ice cubes.
  • Stir with a cocktail spoon or metal straw.
  • Garnish with a lime wheel and fresh mint sprigs.


  • You can use a highball glass if you don't have a copper mug.
  • Adjust the bourbon/ginger beer ratio if you want a boozier cocktail or the opposite.

Estimated Nutrition

Calories: 173kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 19mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.2mg
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About The Authors

About The Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.

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Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

We purchased the ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

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Original Publication Date: March 22, 2022

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