Here’s the perfect Moscow Mule recipe (make it a cocktail or a mocktail) for when you want to cool down and kick back with a just-right sipper! We love this version of the traditional Moscow Mule that features refreshing ingredients like cucumber, basil, and fresh ginger. Plus, use our simple swap to cut back on sugar and get a pop of flavor all at the same time!
This recipe was originally posted June 5, 2018; Updated June 22, 2022.
A refreshing moscow Mule recipe for summer
It is believed that the Moscow Mule cocktail was first invented in the 1940s in a bar in Manhattan, most likely as a clever and new way to clear out a high inventory of ginger beer and vodka in the bar’s basement. But the drink didn’t really catch on until it was embraced by the Hollywood elite of the time, who were photographed holding cool copper cups. Suddenly, Moscow Mules were the IT drink of the 1940s, and their popularity hasn’t waned over the decades.
With the warming effect of the ginger beer, Moscow Mules are just as appropriate in cooler seasons as they are on the hot days of summer. We think this Cucumber-Basil Mule is perfect version to enjoy year-round, but it tastes exceptionally good on those scorching summer days when you want to sip on something light and fresh.
Moscow mules Ingredients (What’s In a Moscow Mule?)
While there are many variations, the basic ingredients in a classic Moscow Mule are vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. Here are the ingredients you need to make this Moscow Mule recipe that features cucumber and basil.
cucumber – you’ll need a few thick slices of a hothouse cucumber, plus more for garnish; may also use English cucumbers or cocktail cucumbersbasil – use a few springs of fresh basil, or sub in fresh mintfresh ginger – we love to use fresh ginger that is sliced from a knob of fresh ginger (keep any extra in your freezer)lime juice – you’ll need two fresh limes (or 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of fresh lime juice)vodka – use any favorite brand of unflavored vodka (we like Tito’s because it’s always gluten free and super smooth; others swear by Smirnoff vodka or a local brand); may omit for a mocktailkombucha – we love to use ginger flavored kombucha as a lower-sugar alternative to ginger beer. Look for a ginger kombucha that has 6 grams or less of sugar per 12 ounces, such as GT’s Organic Gingerade Kombucha, Revive Kombucha (available at Thrive Market), or Health-Ade Kombucha; may also use ginger beer or ginger ale in place of the kombuchasparkling water – the addition of sparkling water creates just the right carbonation and refreshment in this lower-sugar Moscow mule recipe. Use any favorite brand of unflavored sparkling water, such as Waterloo, San Pellegrino, or LaCroix. For a mocktail, simply omit the vodka and increase the amount of sparkling water
Moscow Mule Mugs (How to serve a Classic Mule)
Moscow Mules are traditionally serve in copper mugs or copper cups, which takes on the cold temperature of the liquid inside. If you have them, using a copper mug adds to the overall experience of enjoying this lower-sugar Moscow Mule recipe. We prefer copper mugs that are plated with nickel or stainless steal inside the lip of the cup so you don’t get an unpleasant tingling feeling on your lips or the risk of copper leeching into your drink. But you may be wondering: Do you have to serve a Moscow Mule in a copper cup? Of course not! If you don’t have copper mugs, you can still enjoy this lighter Moscow Mule recipe. Instead, use a highball glass, collins glass, or any short glass or metal cup.
How to make a Low-Sugar mule in 3 Steps
One of the great things about a simple classic cocktail like the Moscow mule is that you don’t need any special equipment to make one. Just a spoon for stirring and a knife for cutting the fresh ingredients. Here’s how to make one today:
Place 2 cucumber slices, and 2 basil leaves in the bottom of each of four copper mugs or other short glasses. Using a cocktail muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon gently muddle the ingredients together. Tip: You just want to bruise them up a bit, not make a mash.Fill each mug ½ full with ice. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1 ounce vodka to each mug.Add 4 ounces ginger beer to each mug then top each one with sparkling water. Stir gently. Garnish each mug with a cucumber slice and basil leaves.
Can You Make A Moscow Mule with Kombucha?
You bet you can! And we show you how to do it right here. By swapping in kombucha for the ginger beer, you can cut out many grams of added sugar. And you can also get a gut-health boost from the live probiotics in kombucha. Some of our favorite brands of lower-sugar kombucha are GT’s Organic Gingerade Kombucha, Revive Citrus Ginger Kombucha (available at Thrive Market), and Health-Ade Ginger Lemon Kombucha.
If you prefer ginger beer, you can use that instead of kombucha. We think some of the best ginger brands are Q Ginger Beer, Reed’s Ginger Beef (use Reed’s Stronger for a spicy ginger beer), and Fever Tree Ginger Beer.
Variations on the Classic Moscow Mule Recipe
When you’ve got a great base (like vodka, ginger beer, and lime), it’s easy and fun to play with variations on the classic recipe. We think our Moscow Mule with Cucumber and Basil is a super refreshing and light take on the original. Here are some other versions that have gained popularity.
Kentucky Mule – swap bourbon whiskey for the vodkaMexican Mule – use tequila instead of vodkaGin-Gin Mule – featuring gin instead of vodka, plus mint and simple syrupDark and Stormy Cocktail – use dark rum in place of the vodkaIrish Mule – features Irish whiskey instead of vodkaJamaican Mule – swap in spiced rum in place of the vodkaAmerican Mule – an America Mule specifically uses the brand Tito’s Handmade vodkaFlavored Mules – try experimenting with fresh watermelon, berries, citrus juices, fresh herbs (such as a sprig of mint or thyme), apple cider, or cherry juice
How to make It A Mocktail
Like many cocktails, you can leave out the booze in this Moscow Mule recipe if you don’t drink alcohol or would like a Whole30-friendly cocktail. Even without the vodka, this flavorful Cucumber Basil Mule is still incredibly delicious and refreshing and oh, so gorgeous served up in big just like the real deal.
To make a Moscow Mule mocktail, simply omit the vodka and add another ounce of sparkling water to each mug.
Cucumber Basil Moscow Mule Recipe
Enjoy this refreshing and low-sugar version of the popular Moscow Mule, which features the fresh flavors of cucumber, basil, and ginger. Cut back on sugar by swapping in ginger kombucha instead of ginger beer.
Prep: 5-10 minsTotal: 5-10 mins
12 cucumber slices
8 large basil leaves, plus more for garnish
¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
16 ounces ginger beer (may substitute ginger kombucha*)
4 ounces vodka (omit for a mocktail and replace with additional sparkling water)
12 ounces sparkling water
Place 2 cucumber slices, and 2 basil leaves in the bottom of each of four copper mugs or other short glasses.
Using a cocktail muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon gently muddle the ingredients together. Tip: You just want to bruise them up a bit, not make a mash.
Fill each mug ½ full with ice. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1 ounce vodka to each mug.
Add 4 ounces ginger beer to each mug then top each one with sparkling water. Stir gently. Garnish each mug with a cucumber slice and basil leaves.
Last Step! Please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive so we can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
Some ginger beer brands we like are Q Ginger Beer, Reed’s Stronger Ginger Beef (for a more spicy mule), and Fever Tree Ginger Beer.
* If you prefer kombucha, you can use that instead of ginger beer. A few we like are GT’s Organic Gingerade Kombucha, Revive Citrus Ginger Kombucha (available at Thrive Market), and Health-Ade Ginger Lemon Kombucha.
Serving Size: 1 muleCalories: 94Fat: 0 g(Sat Fat: 0 g)Sodium: 11 mgCarbohydrate: 9 g(Fiber: 0 gSugar: 2 g)Protein: 0 gCholesterol: 0 mg
Did you make this?
We love seeing what you made! Tag us on Instagram @therealfooddietitians
Pin It Now & Make It Later!
For ultimate success, we highly recommend reading the tips in the full blog post above. All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words. Link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!