Home Cocktails Kentucky Mule Cocktail Recipe

Kentucky Mule Cocktail Recipe

The Kentucky Mule is the spicier, richer, and (dare I say) more delicious cousin of the classic Moscow Mule.

It’s crisp, fresh, and wonderfully bubbly. Best served in a copper mug with lots of ice, the bourbon Moscow Mule is not to be missed!

Kentucky mule served in a mule mug filled with ice garnished with lime slice and fresh mint sprig.
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What is a Kentucky Mule?

A Kentucky Mule is the Bluegrass version of the Moscow Mule. 

This refreshing sipper is a fun Moscow Mule variation. Simply put, you swap out the vodka for good ol’ Kentucky bourbon.

Bourbon adds a bit more smoke, depth, and sweetness, complementing the other ingredients beautifully. 

The best part? You only need 3 ingredients and about 3 minutes to make it. 

The main ingredients of the Kentucky Mule are: 

  • Bourbon – Kentucky bourbon, to be precise.
  • Lime Juice – Fresh lime juice for the best flavor.
  • Ginger Beer – Get a brand you like. I’m a fan of Gosling’s, Summit, or Bundaberg.
Top view of a serving of ice filled Kentucky mules garnished with mint sprig and lime slice.

How To Make a Kentucky Mule

This is one of my favorite 3-ingredient cocktails because it’s perfect for any time of year.

It’s cool and refreshing, so it works so well in the summer heat. But that deep bourbon flavor and spiced ginger make it ideal for fall, too.

And luckily, it’s so easy to make. Here’s how:

1. Fill a copper mule mug with ice. You don’t have to use copper, but it’s the signature cup for a mule.

2. Add the drink ingredients. Just pour them right over the ice and gently stir.

3. Add garnishes. No drink is complete without garnishes. Garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of mint. 

4. Serve and enjoy! 

What’s the Best Bourbon to Use?

A Kentucky bourbon, of course!

Otherwise, you may run into Tennessee Mule territory. And that’s not what we’re talking about today. 

You don’t need top-shelf bourbon for this mixed drink. But you should use a good quality bourbon that you enjoy. 

Some fabulous options include:

  • Woodford Reserve
  • Maker’s Mark
  • Bulleit Bourbon
  • Jim Beam White Label
  • Four Roses
  • Wild Turkey

Whichever brand you use, be sure it has notes of honey, spice, caramel, oak, and smoke.

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And, of course, you want it to fit your budget and your other bourbon cocktail needs. 

Two servings of Kentucky mule in a mule mug beside a bunch of mint sprig in a glass.

Do You Have To Serve a Kentucky Mule In a Copper Mug?

No, you don’t have to serve a Kentucky Mule in a copper mug. Having said that…

The copper mug is synonymous with mule cocktails. And that includes the Kentucky Mule.

The reason? When filled with ice, it keeps the drink colder for longer.

You can get a super cute set of four on Amazon for between $20 and $30. And they’re so worth it if you’re a big cocktail drinker.

Or, just use a rocks glass. The drink will be just as delicious!

Kentucky mule mug filled with ice garnish with fresh mint sprig and lime slice.

Tips and Variations

My favorite version of this drink is the Dark and Stormy. It calls for dark rum instead of bourbon, so it’s even sweeter!

Other than that, here are a few easy swaps and variations:

  • Always use fresh lime juice. Use fresh citrus for the best results in any cocktail. But it’s especially important for mule cocktails. 
  • Don’t skip the garnishes. A lime wedge and a sprig of mint are the perfect garnishes to complete your cocktail! Not only are they visually appealing, but they infuse extra flavor into the mule.
  • Slap the mint. This releases the natural oils, so you get the most flavor. Slap it against the table or your hand several times before adding it to the drink. 
  • Spice up the rim. Rub a slice of ginger around the rim of your mug for an unexpected and delightful kick.
  • Use large ice cubes. They melt more slowly, so your drink stays strong.
  • Freeze the mugs. This will keep the mule frosty without watering it down. It only needs about 15 minutes in the freezer. 
  • Make it fruity! Muddle in some fresh fruit like blackberries, raspberries, or pineapple into the mug before adding the ice. Your favorite juice or puree is another fantastic way to add some fruity flavor. Passion fruit, orange, cranberry, grapefruit, or guava juice/puree tastes delicious in a mule. 

More Bourbon Cocktails to Love

Mint Julep
Bourbon Smash
Best Amaretto Sour
Gold Rush

Kentucky Mule

Course: DrinksCuisine: American


Prep time





The Kentucky Mule is the spicier, richer, and, dare I say, more delicious cousin of the classic Moscow Mule. It’s crisp, fresh, and wonderfully bubbly.


  • Ice

  • 2 ounces Kentucky bourbon

  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

  • ginger beer, to top

  • lime wedge and mint sprig, for garnish


  • Fill a copper mug with ice. Then, pour in the bourbon and lime juice.
  • Fill the rest of the mug with ginger beer.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of mint.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • Use a copper mug. It’ll keep your Kentucky Mule nice and cold. But a chilled highball or double old-fashioned glass is a good alternative.
  • Use quality ginger beer. Also, choose one that aligns with your sweetness preference, whether that’s on the sweeter or drier side.
Kentucky Mule Recipe

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author avatar
Haley van der Ploeg
Haley van der Ploeg is a food writer and content creator for Insanely Good Recipes, where she authors blog posts, creates recipes, and crafts tantalizing photos.

Haley is passionate about food and its ability to gather people across cultures, languages, and generations. She believes everyone can learn to cook.

Most days, you can find Haley reading, baking elaborate cakes, and hosting get-togethers for friends and family. If Haley isn't home, she’s probably on a plane jetting off to exciting adventures and new cuisines.

She lives with her husband in the Netherlands and has taught him that vegetables *can* taste good.

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