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Kentucky Mule

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This bubbly Kentucky Mule is a refreshing cocktail that’s super easy to make. It comes together in minutes and is served in a copper mug with plenty of ice.

Kentucky Mule drink in a copper mug with lime wedges

This classic Kentucky Mule is a refreshing and bubbly drink that takes mere moments to put together. Made with bourbon, freshly squeezed lime juice and ginger beer, it’s served chilled in a copper mug with ice. If you don’t have a copper mug you can use a highball glass or even a mason jar. This cocktail is perfect for warm weather sipping or unwinding on the deck. Top it off with a lime wedge and a sprig of fresh mint!

Why You’ll Love This Kentucky Mule Recipe

  • Easy. Just pour and serve!
  • Bubbly. The ginger beer gives this drink a bubbly quality that is irresistible.
  • Cold. While the drink itself is cold, when you serve it in a copper mug your container also gets ice cold. That makes this drink extra satisfying on a hot day in particular.
  • Refreshing. Between the bourbon flavor, zippy citrus notes, bubbles, and iciness, this easy bourbon mule is just plain refreshing.
Top view of a Kentucky Mule drink in a copper

What is a Kentucky Mule?

A Kentucky Mule is a classic 1940s drink that’s a bourbon-based riff on the Moscow Mule. A Moscow Mule is made with vodka and in this American spin the vodka is replaced with bourbon. Since bourbon is strongly associated with the state of Kentucky, this cocktail became known as a Kentucky Mule.

Ingredients for a Kentucky Mule

Recipe Ingredients

Here’s a quick look at what you’ll need to make a Kentucky Mule. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts.

  • Bourbon – Choose a high-quality bourbon whiskey. I love trying bourbons from local distilleries and also like Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon.
  • Lime juice – Freshly squeezed. Don’t use bottled lime juice for this drink. You’ll need 1 lime for the juice, plus another lime for the wedge used to garnish the mule.
  • Ginger beer – I used Reed’s ginger beer because that is what’s easiest to find where I live, but you can use your preferred brand. Maine Root ginger beer is a good brand, as is Q ginger beer.
  • For serving – Cubed iced, lime wedge and fresh mint.

What is Bourbon?

Bourbon is a kind of American whiskey made from a grain “mash” that’s at least 51% corn. It also includes rye, wheat, and malted barley. The liquid is aged in new, charred oak barrels when bottled it is no more than 80 proof.

In the United States, bourbon is often made in Kentucky (hence the name of this drink). The name “bourbon” was inspired by the French Bourbon dynasty, although the name was not applied to the whiskey until the mid-1800s and it wasn’t called Kentucky Bourbon until the late 1800s.

How to Make a Kentucky Mule

Are you ready to make a Kentucky Bourbon Mule? There are only a couple of simple steps! You don’t even need to stir or shake the ingredients. Here’s how to do it:

  • Combine liquid ingredients. Add ice to a copper mug. Pour in the bourbon, lime juice, and ginger beer. Add enough beer to top off your mug.
  • Serve. Garnish with the lime wedge and a fresh sprig of mint.

Do I Have to Use a Copper Mug?

If you want to make a classic mule then I recommend using a copper mug. It gets ice cold, so when you sip your cocktail the mug itself adds to the refreshing nature of this drink.

The tradition of serving mules in copper mugs dates back to the 1940s when Hollywood stars could often be seen enjoying mules in these unique serving containers. However, if you don’t have a copper mug you can use a highball glass or even a mason jar.

Kentucky Mule Drink in a copper mug

Tips for the Best Bourbon Mule

  • Don’t stir. Unlike many other cocktails, you don’t want to shake or stir this drink. This is because you want to keep the carbonation of the ginger beer, which is what makes it bubbly. So just pour everything into your mug and start sipping.
  • Add ice. Don’t skip the ice. This drink is best served while quite cold.
  • Use a copper mug. While not 100% essential, serving a mule in a copper mug does add to the experience.

Kentucky Mule

Kentucky Mule Drink in a copper mug

This easy Kentucky Mule recipe combines bourbon, fresh lime juice and ginger beer for a refreshing cocktail that’s served ice cold.

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail
  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: American


  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed*
  • Ginger beer, to fill the glass
  • For serving: cubed iced, lime wedge and fresh mint


In a copper mug filled 1/4 with ice, add the bourbon, lime juice and ginger beer. Add enough beer to top off your mug.

Garnish with a lime wedge and a fresh sprig of mint.



You’ll need 1 lime for the freshly squeezed juice and 1 lime for the wedge.

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Keywords: kentucky mule, kentucky mule recipe, bourbon mule

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