Kentucky Mule Recipe – History, Ingredients, and How to Make It?

You might be aware of a famous party drink called the Moscow Mule. It’s a cocktail made with vodka, spicy ginger beer, and lime juice (with your choice of garnish). It is a type of buck hence it’s called vodka buck too. One of the distinguished things about it is that it is served in a copper mug. It’s a great drink from all aspects but the drink we will be discussing is Kentucky Mule Recipe which is a type of Mule drink but with bourbon whiskey and a bubbly twist to the existing drink. If you have enjoyed a Moscow Mule then this recipe is sure to blow your mind.

What’s a Kentucky Mule?

So instead of vodka in a classic Moscow Mule, swap the vodka with bourbon and there, you have a classic bourbon cocktail that is as suave as it is bubbly and fun. It has a citrus note that goes well with a spiced-up whiskey’s touch. The best part is that it is extremely simple to make. It doesn’t need a cocktail set to prepare this, just some careful pouring and you are all set. It’s ideal for parties, brunches, and even sundowners. It has been a pretty popular summer-autumn drink that is now very popular with youngsters but it has been around for a long time, let’s talk a little bit about Kentucky Mule’s history.

 Kentucky Mule History

As you know now that the drink is based on Moscow Mule and that drink came about in the 1940’s right after probation the market went through an expected high which then simmered down to sell more vodka. Then this drink did its time for a few decades it did its time on the West Coast till it ended up in New York New York’s Chatham Hotel is credited with its invention. In 2007 the final story of this drink was published where according to the inventors of this drink one of them, the head bartender of Chatham Hotel speaks about how they needed to clear the unsold inventory of vodka and hence Moscow Mule was invented. Eric Felten wrote this piece in 2007 for the Wall Street Journal. The recipe then became extremely popular in the series of bucks, Moscow Mule is a vodka buck whereas the Kentucky Mule is a bourbon buck. The origin of it seems to be birthed in the south but the idea behind is the Americanisation of the existing Moscow Mule. Moscow Mule has been included in the list of IBA (International Bartender Association). Tweak the recipe a little and you have a Kentucky Mule. These are the key ingredients for a Kentucky Mule-

  • Bourbon Whiskey 
  • Ginger Beer 
  • Lime Juice 

 How to make a Kentucky Mule?

There is no certified bartender needed for this drink, pour everything in a copper mug making this the easiest cocktail that there is. The preparation that you need to do is making the lime juice. Lime juice is needed to preserve the co2 of ginger beer, stirring the drink is also not necessary.

All you have to do is put the bourbon, lime juice, and ginger beer in a mug that is preferably copper. For garnish add ice and/or lime and voila we have a Kentucky Mule.

Bourbon for Kentucky Mule

This is a well-calculated drink that is as strong as it is bubbly. However, it’s not important to pick out a high-end whiskey for this recipe, it’s not a whiskey dominant drink, it’s kind of like Old fashioned married to Mint Julep with whiskey highball as their child. The taste of whiskey is not an authoritative note in this drink.

What is the best bourbon for a Kentucky Mule?

When we tell you that whiskey’s taste isn’t as dominant we don’t mean you can just pick any liquor, for a good cocktail you need a good drink so for this one you can go for a modestly priced whiskey, popular with this recipe is Bulleit Bourbon. 

Why serve a Kentucky Mule in a copper mug?

This drink can be served in any mug but there is a reason why you should prefer a copper mug. The mug keeps the drink chilled and with the flavor, we are playing with this drink. It’s just more enjoyable when it’s cold. The sensation of the diverse taste is elevated due to the copper mug. The other reason for it is where the origin of this drink comes from, when the drink was invented the popular imagery in the cultural memory of most of the population is the one with copper mugs. A lot of celebrities at the time were seen drinking it from a cooper mug too. So to honor the original classic people tend to enjoy this bold drink in a copper mug as well.

Where to find copper Mule mugs?

A lot of mugs pass as copper, but the way to tell the difference is that only authentic copper mugs will get as cold when you pour a Mule in them. Solid Copper mugs also make for a great gift. For friends who love cocktails, it’s an ideal gift.

More Mule cocktails

As we discussed, this drink comes from the Buck family. Except for Kentucky Mule, we also have other recipes for drinks that have a mix of alcohol and largely non-alcoholic mixers.

Gin Mule – Same drink but use gin instead, you can also use tequila, and then that drink will be called Mexican Mule.

Whiskey Highball – This one has ginger ale or Soda instead of ginger beer, mix it with your favorite whiskey, and voila.

Vodka Tonic – Also an extremely easy drink to make you just need tonic and Vodka, garnish it with lime.

Texas Highball – This drink is made from Tequila and Topo Chico or Ranch water.

Gin and Tonic – Granted that you may not feel like 007 but Gin and Tonic is a classic.

When to serve a Kentucky Mule?

This is a refreshing and bold drink you can serve it at-

  • Dinner parties
  • Sundowners
  • Brunch 
  • Guys/Girls Night
  • Cocktail Hour 
  • 1940’s Themed Party 

Classic Kentucky Mule

Here is a step by step recipe for Classic Kentucky Mule


  • Time for Preparation- 3 Minutes 
  • Cooking Time- Zero Minutes 
  • Diet: Vegan


  • One-Fourth cup of Bourbon Whiskey 
  • One teaspoon of fresh lime juice
  • Half a cup of ginger beer
  • Serve it with Ice, Fresh Mint and Lime Garnish


Make sure to serve it as soon as you are done making it, no need for mixing, put everything in preferably a copper mug and you are ready to go.


This is a great drink to enjoy with friends and family and now that you know the stories behind it, you can use them as conversation pieces. You can always give the recipe your spin however we doubt that you will once you taste it.


What is in a Kentucky Mule?

Kentucky Mule is a Moscow Mule but with a twist of bourbon instead of vodka, it comes from the family of bucks and is extremely easy to make. The drink’s mother i.e Moscow Mule originated in the 1940s and since it became popular with the 2007 article in Wall Street Journal it had other reinventions. Kentucky Mule coming from the south as suggested by the name. It’s an easy-to-make drink that is suited for many occasions.

Is Kentucky Mule good for your health?

The predominant ingredient is Ginger beer so it’s not as bad as drinking whiskey straight however having too much of something is usually not advised. The best way to enjoy a drink is in moderation.

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