This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Need a 5-minute cocktail? Try this bourbon mule for a refreshing and zesty little sip. No copper mug required, but it does feel extraordinary if entertaining guests or it's a treat yourself, put your feet up and have a cocktail kind of day!
You've probably had a Moscow mule, the classic version of this drink, served with vodka, ginger beer, and lime. This bourbon mule recipe has very similar ingredients, so you'll get all the zippy, citrusy, spicy flavors that you know and love, only served with bourbon instead!
What is a bourbon mule?
A mule is a cocktail that has 3 key ingredients: ginger beer, lime, and a spirit.
In the original version of a mule, the spirit used is vodka and dubbed a Moscow Mule (even though the cocktail was born in the US in the 1940s.) In the case of a bourbon mule, the spirit added is the Kentucky classic, bourbon whiskey. That's why you may also know this cocktail by its other name, Kentucky Mule.
A bourbon mule or a Kentucky mule keeps all the flavor from the ginger beer and fresh lime but also adds some subtle bourbon-y flavors like wood and smoke.
What's the best bourbon for a Kentucky mule?
While there are lots of lists out there that answer this question with first-hand taste-testing data, what often tops the list of suggested bourbons to use in a Kentucky mule are those that have a bold, spicy profile. The top-ranking bourbons for a bourbon mule tend to be aged in oak barrels.
While testing this bourbon mule recipe, we used 2 ounces of widely available Jim Bean bourbon. If you have a favorite bourbon, this bourbon mule cocktail is a delicious way to sip it.
How to make a bourbon mule
The wonderful thing about a bourbon mule or a Kentucky mule is that it requires no special bar tools – you don't even need the copper cup if you don't have one! Here are the two steps you'll take to make a crisp, citrusy bourbon mule:
- Fill your cup: Add ice to your cup or copper mug and pour the bourbon over top. Then add fresh lime juice and ginger beer.
- Garnish: Although not necessary, this simple cocktail feels extra special with a couple of fresh mint leaves and lime wedges.
This Kentucky mule is perfect on a warm day, but the bourbon also makes it an ideal cocktail for fall. Honestly, it's delicious any time you're feelin' for something refreshing with a good zing! Here's what you'll need to make the bourbon mule recipe:
- Bourbon: Go for your favorite bourbon or pick a bottle that's described as bold and spicy. It will only enhance the already bold and semi-spicy flavor of the ginger beer.
- Lime: Squeeze some fresh lime juice for your cocktail. Trust that the bottled stuff just doesn't pack the same citrus punch.
- Ginger beer: This is the key to a really good mule. Ginger beer is sweet, spicy, and bubbly since it's made of carbonated water, cane sugar, and ginger root. It's the top choice for a mule. In a pinch you can substitute ginger ale.
- Garnishes: Take a simple bevy and turn it into something fancy with some sliced lime or lime wheels, fresh mint leaves, or fresh ginger slices.
Is a bourbon mule the same thing as a Kentucky mule?
Sure is! Bourbon has a rich history in Kentucky, and so the drink is often referred to as a Kentucky mule.
Can I use ginger ale instead of ginger beer?
Ginger beer is the preferred bubbly soda to include in your bourbon mule. It has a pronounced, spicy ginger flavor. Ginger ale, on the other hand, is sweeter and has a more subtle flavor.
Can I use another type of alcohol instead of bourbon?
You can, however, when you swap the bourbon out you'll be making another variation of a mule. For example, a Moscow mule uses vodka and a Mexican mule uses tequila.
Do I need to serve a bourbon mule in a copper mug?
The copper mug is designed to keep a cold drink nice and frosty. If you don't have copper mugs you can absolutely use a regular glass.
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce lime juice
- 4 ounces ginger beer
- Lime wedges and mint (to serve)
- Fill a glass with ice and then add the bourbon and lime juice. Top with some ginger beer and then give your mule a quick stir.2 ounces bourbon, 1 ounce lime juice, 4 ounces ginger beer
- Garnish with a few lime wedges and some mint and serve right away.Lime wedges and mint
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.