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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.

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.

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.

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.

Top view of a Kentucky Mule drink in a copper

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.

More Easy Cocktails to Try

Kentucky Mule

5 from 1 vote
This easy Kentucky Mule recipe combines bourbon, fresh lime juice and ginger beer for a refreshing cocktail that’s served ice cold.
Prep Time2 minutes
Total Time2 minutes
Yield: 1 cocktail


  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • ½ 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.
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You’ll need 1 lime for the freshly squeezed juice and 1 lime for the wedge.


Calories: 135kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.03mg
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as a courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.
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