Kentucky Mule (Bourbon Mule)

The Kentucky Mule is one of our favorite new summertime cocktails. A twist on the classic Moscow Mule, it is bold, crisp, and refreshing.

Kentucky Mule served in a large mason jar garnished with fresh mint and a lime wedge.

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Why You’ll Love This

It only requires three simple ingredients and is quick to mix up!

The Kentucky Mule cocktail is flavorful yet light and refreshing.

It makes the perfect drink for a Kentucky Derby party.

Works great as a large batch for parties. (See below for how to make a large pitcher.)

Some of our favorite happy hour appetizer recipes to serve with the Kentucky Mule are Honey Mustard Pretzels, Parmesan Rosemary Shortbread, Sausage Pretzel Bites, Spinach Dip from Scratch, and Spicy Oyster Crackers.

Ingredients Needed

  • Bourbon – Choose a good quality bourbon you enjoy drinking! The Kentucky mule is a well-balanced cocktail. The ginger beer and lime are as equally strong tasting as the bourbon. In this Kentucky Mule recipe, we used Maker’s Mark.
  • Ginger Beer – Again, choose your favorite ginger beer. Personally, we like them extra spicy!
  • Lime juice – When choosing the limes, they should have a little give when pressing your fingers into the skin. If they are hard, the limes are dried out and will not lend much juice. And some fresh mint.

How to Make a Kentucky Mule

Kentucky Mule in mason jar garnished with mint and lime wedge.

There’s no special mixology to this drink. Pour and drink!

No need for prep picks in this recipe. Fill your favorite cocktail glass or Moscow mule mug (solid copper mug) with crushed ice (or ice cubes).

Two Kentucky Mule drinks in mason jars garnished with fresh mint and lime wedges.

Add the lime juice from one lime wedge over the ice. Add the bourbon.

Two Kentucky Mule drinks in mason jars garnished with fresh mint and lime wedges.

Top off with your favorite ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of fresh mint (because it’s pretty). Sit back, relax, and enjoy responsibly.

Two Kentucky Mule drinks in mason jars garnished with fresh mint and lime wedges.

Come cool down with us. Let’s meet on the porch, pull up a chair and chat for a while!

How to Make a Pitcher for 8 Servings

  • In a large pitcher, add 2 cups of bourbon, 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice, and a couple of hand fulls of ice.
  • Stir and then remove the remaining ice with a slotted spoon.
  • Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Any longer, and the lime juice will start to lose its flavor.
  • When ready to serve, pour in 6 cups of chilled ginger beer.
  • Add ice to glasses or mugs and pour over, then garnish with a lime wedge and sprigs of fresh mint.
  • Or your guests can serve themselves by pouring over a copper mug full of ice.


  • Bourbon – Choose a good quality bourbon. Technically for it to be a Kentucky Mule, the bourbon should be based in Kentucky, such as Maker’s Mark, Bulliet Bourbon, and Jim Beam. These are all good choices.
  • Lime Juice – Please use fresh squeezed lime juice! The bottled lime juice is not near as fresh and flavorful.
  • Ginger Beer – Don’t confuse ginger beer with ginger ale. Ginger beer has a much more robust and spicier flavor than ginger ale. Use a diet ginger beer to cut some calories.
  • Serving – Freeze the mugs or glassware before filling.

Variations of the Mule Cocktail

There are numerous Moscow mule variations; try some of the ones below.

  • Dark and Stormy – Use rum instead of vodka.
  • Irish Mule – Use Irish whiskey instead of vodka.
  • Mexican Mule – Use tequila instead of vodka.
  • Oaxacan Mule – Use mezcal instead of vodka.
  • Gin-Gin Mule – Use gin instead of vodka.


What is a Kentucky Mule made of?

The Kentucky Mule is a spin on the classic cocktail Moscow Mule. A Moscow Mule uses vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. The Kentucky Mule uses bourbon, ginger beer, and lime juice.

Why serve a mule in a copper mug?

Copper mule mugs are traditional for Moscow Mules because they are perfect for insulating the icy-cold temperature. This keeps each sip refreshing and cold. But you can serve it in any glassware you prefer. Make happy hour fun by using a copper cup, highball glass, or mason jar!

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Kentucky Mule served in a large mason jar garnished with fresh mint and a lime wedge.

Crisp and Refreshing Kentucky Mule Recipe

A perfect warm weather, porch sitting cocktail to cool down!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Beverage, Cocktail, Drinks
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 166kcal
Author: Leigh Harris


  • 1 1/2 ounces Bourbon, good quality (up to 2 ounces, if desired)
  • 6 ounces Ginger beer
  • 1/2 Lime cut into wedges
  • Fresh mint sprigs


  • Fill a glass with crushed ice
  • Squeeze one lime wedge over the ice
    1/2 Lime
  • Add the bourbon
    1 1/2 ounces Bourbon, good quality
  • Fill glass with ginger beer
    6 ounces Ginger beer
  • Give a stir and garnish with mint and lime wedge, if desired.
    Fresh mint sprigs


Be sure you choose ginger beer, not ginger ale. Ginger beer is much more robust and less sweet in flavor.
Freeze your preferred glassware or mugs for about 15 minutes before serving to keep the drink extra cold. 
Pitcher for 8 Servings – See the post for exact ingredient measurements.


Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 13mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

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5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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