The days have gotten longer, the snow is melting away, and the weekends are beginning to take on an entirely different meaning now that it’s spring for the Northern Hemisphere, which means it’s time to change up your order at the bar. The Moscow Mule is a refreshing and truly quintessential springtime cocktail prepared with vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, and garnished with a lime wedge and mint leaves. And if it’s not served in a copper mug, then it’s probably not going to be a very good Moscow Mule. It’s worth noting, however, that a Moscow Mule is an acidic beverage with a pH below 6.0. Because copper can dissolve in acidic solutions, it’s important that you only serve your Moscow Mules in copper cups lined with other metals like nickel or stainless steel.
While a high-quality vodka is never something to be overlooked in your cocktail, it’s the ginger beer that really defines the flavor profile of the Moscow Mule. This naturally sweetened and carbonated beverage is made from a fermented combination of fresh ginger root, yeast, and sugar. Its origins date back to the colonial spice trade from the 18th century, mixing ginger from the east with sugar from the Caribbean. Available in alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties, its flavor can be described as spicy (as ginger root is inherently spicy) with the sweet sugar and carbonation you’d expect from any clear and carbonated soda.
Barritt’s Ginger Beer
With roots that date back to 1874, Barritt’s have been perfecting their non-alcoholic “gingery ginger ale” for more than a century. A staple at gourmet soda shops around the world, Barritt’s cane sugar — only available in glass bottles, not cans — ginger beer offers a classic taste of Bermuda that captures the colonial origins of this refreshing favorite. If you’re looking for a classic Moscow Mule, Barritt’s certainly needs to be on your list of cocktail ingredients.
Brooklyn Crafted Lemon-Lime Ginger Beer
If “refreshing” is what you’re seeking in your Moscow Mule, or you find yourself out of limes to include as a garnish, then Brooklyn Crafted has the key non-alcoholic ingredient you’ll want to include. Their lemon-lime ginger beer is exceptionally bold and spicy thanks to the inclusion of unfiltered ginger pieces that you can see and taste. With lemon juice concentrate, lime juice, and other natural flavors, this American-made classic makes for one seriously flavorful and fruit-free Moscow Mule.
Bundaberg Ginger Beer
If you’ve only experienced one ginger beer in your life, chances are it was a Bundaberg. Each non-alcoholic batch is brewed over three days with the finest Australian grown ginger and sugar cane that imparts a well-balanced and refreshing flavor. If you’re looking to try a Moscow Mule for the first time and don’t know where to start, Bundaberg’s ginger beer with its iconic rip cap is what you’re going to want — but make sure to gently flip the bottle upside down for a few seconds before opening to let the settled ginger pieces mix evenly before you add it to your Moscow Mule.
Fever Tree Ginger Beer
Fever Tree’s non-alcoholic ginger beer is made with a blend of three natural gingers from Nigeria, Cochin, and the Ivory Coast. It doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or flavorings of any kind. It’s one of the more flavorful and spicy ginger beers on our list, so take caution if ginger spice isn’t something you want for a dominant flavor in your Moscow Mule. That being said, traditional connoisseurs of the Moscow Mule will find exactly what they’re looking for with this one.
Maine Root Ginger Brew
Maine Roots’ non-alcoholic ginger brew is not for the faint of heart or those trying to avoid the natural spice of the ginger root in their Moscow Mule. Brewed from simple ingredients like carbonated purified water, fair trade-certified organic cane sugar from Brazil, and spice, this is a natural choice for any home bartender who shops in the organic section of their grocery store or even the farmer’s market. A delicious ginger-heavy beverage on its own, this potent tonic makes for a naturally delightful cocktail.
Top Note Ginger Beer
This non-alcoholic sparkling ginger beer offers notes of dark date sugar that work to mitigate the spicy nature of ginger. This GMO- and gluten-free tonic is made from carbonated water, cane sugar, date sugar, citric acid, natural ginger root extract, sienna juice (for color), galangal root extract, and other natural flavors to create an easy-to-drink mixer. While delicious and refreshing in its own right, especially when muddled with cucumber or mint, Tope Note is a fine choice for anyone looking to create a well-balanced Moscow Mule.
Q Mixers Ginger Beer
For the true cocktail connoisseur, the only choice in mixers for a Moscow Mule is Q’s spectacular ginger beer. While all of the other ginger beers on our list are crafted to be enjoyed on their own or as part of a cocktail, Q’s does not — this is a mixer through and through. With that in mind, it’s spicer, more carbonated, and less sweet than anything else on our list. It’s made with ginger, agave, chili peppers, coriander, cardamom, lime, and an extra kick of carbonation. The lack of sweetness in Q’s ginger beer leaves room for a skilled bartender to add fruit flavors from fresh juices. If you know your way around the bar cart, this is the only ginger beer you should consider for your Moscow Mules.
Fentimans Traditional Ginger Beer
Fentimans got their start in England in 1905, so when they say their non-alcoholic ginger beer is “traditional,” you know they mean business. Iron puller Thomas Fentiman took the cocktail recipe as a security deposit for a loan that was never repaid, and as a result, began producing his botanically brewed ginger beer that used to be delivered by horse and cart. Aside from ditching the horse, not much has changed in the last century for this family-owned, traditional ginger beer. If you’re looking to serve a hot and fragrant Moscow Mule, the inclusion of Chinese ginger root and an old-school recipe make Fentimans your top choice.
Ginger People Bottoms Up Ginger Beer
Abbie and Bruce Leeson established Ginger People in 1984 for their love of the ginger and its ability to stimulate circulation, restore vital energy, ease nausea and headaches, and relieve many other illnesses. Their California-crafted Bottoms Up ginger beer offers fiery-fresh ginger, cane sugar, and three stages of filtration with reverse osmosis to produce a lightly carbonated non-alcoholic beverage with the perfect amount of bubbles. If you’re a fan of ginger in its pure form, you’re not going to want a Moscow Mule made with anything other than this classic ginger beer.
Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer
If you’re looking for a Moscow Mule with an extra kick, your search can begin and end with Crabbie’s. Their original alcoholic ginger beer is crafted using ginger that’s been steeped for six weeks before being combined with four “secret ingredients” to produce a bold and spicy beverage like they’ve been doing since the early 19th century in Edinburgh, Scotland. The elephant logo harkens back to a time when the animal was the best means of transportation to gather and import the exotic ingredients used to make this flavorful brew with 4.8% alcohol/vol.
Moscow Mule Recipe:
Ingredients: 4 oz ginger beer of preference, 1 1/2 oz vodka of preference, 1/6 oz fresh lime juice.
Preparation: Combine vodka and ginger beer in a copper mug filled with ice. Add fresh lime juice. Stir gently and garnish with a lime slice or mint.
Served: On the rocks.
Drinkware: Copper mug.
How To Make A Travel Cocktail Kit
Now that you’ve nailed down the best ginger beer for your Moscow Mule, it’s time to take your recipe to new heights. You can start your vacation on the plane with our guide on how to make a travel cocktail kit.