Kentucky Bourbon Mule

Bourbon adds an extra kick (mule pun, partially intended) to the classic Moscow mule. This whiskey cocktail is beautiful, deceptively easy to make, and perfect for entertaining. Let’s make one!

frosted copper mug garnished with lime and mint

Reasons to Love This Recipe

If you love classic vodka mules, I think you’ll love this Moscow mule variation. Making a Moscow mule with bourbon adds an extra depth of flavor and a little bite. Plus, fresh mint makes this drink fragrant and beautiful.

The ingredients are straightforward – bourbon, ginger beer, lime juice, ice, and a mint sprig. It’s easy to remember and make, but it looks impressive.

If you make this for guests, they’re sure to be impressed. (Shhh… Don’t tell them how simple it was to make. It’ll be our little secret.)

Cultural Notes

You might be surprised to know that the Moscow mule didn’t originate in Russia… Curious about the history of this classic cocktail? Check out my OG mule recipe for the scoop!

One part of this drink that is attributed properly is the bourbon – that is indeed from Kentucky! (Hence, the Kentucky mule name.)

two frosted mugs garnished with lime and mint with bottle of whiskey in the background

Preparation Tips

Choosing the right ginger beer & bourbon

I’ve tried quite a few ginger beers, but my favorite is Reed’s. They make a spicy version that’s extra gingery. A close second is Gosling’s – it’s well-balanced and not overly sweet.

For bourbon cocktails, Bulleit is an awesome choice. It’s not too pricey, it’s smooth, and it’s approachable for the whiskey novice.

Since lime and ginger beer are such a big part of this recipe, you don’t have to use top-shelf whiskey. (In fact, I’d advise against it! Save that for a special occasion.)

Use a full mug of crushed ice

Why crushed ice? It’s essential to the Moscow mule experience. It cools your drink thoroughly and makes your drink feel kind of like a slushy. Who doesn’t love that?

It might feel like there will be no room for your drink with a full mug of ice, but believe me, you will. The full cup will keep everything colder, which keeps your ice from melting and diluting your drink.

Build in the glass (or… mug)

This is one of the easiest cocktails to make. You don’t need a shaker or any special skills – just measure and pour all of the ingredients right into your mug, then stir.

Mint tips

Mint can be a fragrant addition to so many cocktails, but if used incorrectly, it can become wilted and bitter. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Be gentle when washing and handling the mint. If it gets too bruised, it will wilt and add a bitter aftertaste to your cocktail.
  • To release some of the essential oils and fragrance from your mint, give it one firm slap in your palm before adding it to the drink.
  • Don’t shove the mint down into the ice! The mint spring should poke out of the cocktail so you’re able to smell it with each sip.
bourbon mule preparation steps

Recipe Modifications

  • Use another type of whiskey – No bourbon? Any basic whiskey will work here. (Just save the fancy stuff for drinking straight!)
  • Make it spicy – Use Reed’s ‘Extra’ or ‘Strongest’ for an extra kick of ginger.
  • Different herbs – If you don’t have mint, a sprig of fresh rosemary or thyme would also be lovely.
  • Sugar-free/low-carb version – Use sugar-free ginger beer.
  • Add a twist with fruit – Try muddling in blackberries before adding ice to your mug.
  • Mocktail version – Swap in a non-alcoholic bourbon.
two copper mugs filled with bourbon mule
copper mug garnished with mint
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Kentucky Bourbon Mule

Put a twist on the beloved vodka mule by swapping in bourbon whiskey! This easy cocktail looks impressive, but it's so easy to make – perfect for entertaining guests.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cocktail, moscow mule, whiskey
Servings: 1
Calories: 175kcal
Author: Chelsea Jackle, RDN


  • cocktail jigger
  • copper mug


  • crushed ice to fill mug
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • ¾ oz fresh lime juice
  • 4 oz ginger beer
  • fresh mint sprig to garnish
  • lime wedge to garnish


  • Fill your mug with crushed ice.
  • Add bourbon and lime juice to the mug. Top with ginger beer and stir gently.
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint and a lime wedge.


  • Please note that nutrition facts are an estimate and can vary widely based on amounts and specific types used. 
  • I’ve tried a few types of whiskey in this recipe, but my favorite is Bulleit bourbon. If you’re using a different type of bourbon, that’s okay! Just choose one that isn’t too expensive or complex.
  • Be gentle with the mint when washing it and garnishing. Roughing it up too much will give your drink a slightly bitter flavor.


Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 11IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

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