The 12 Best Vodkas For A Moscow Mule Cocktail 

Image of diy distilling the best vodkas for making a moscow mule cocktail

Few drinks embody the perfect balance of refreshment, zing, and sophistication quite like the Moscow Mule. What truly sets this classic cocktail apart is the choice of vodka. The right vodka can elevate the lime and ginger beer flavors, add a subtle complexity, and contribute to the smoothness, making the drink so enjoyable.

In this post, we’ll present a curated list of the best vodkas to consider when crafting your cocktail. 

Why Listen To Us? Our team of writers have more than 16 years of distilling experience between them. We've written These Books, designed the perfect Hobby Still, and have helped over 100+ amature distillers through our Ask The Expert portal. 

What’s The Best Vodka For Making A Moscow Mule? 

The best vodka for a Moscow Mule should be smooth and velvety. Cheap industrilly produced vodka is notorious for having a sting/burn that can ruin this delicate cocktail. Instead, look for a grain or potato based small batch vodka such as Ceroc, Chopin, or Belvedere.

Here’s a list of the best vodkas for making this classic cocktail. 

  1. Smirnoff
  2. Grey Goose
  3. Skyy
  4. Belverde
  5. Absolut Elyx
  6. Tito’s
  7. Chopin
  8. Ciroc
  9. 44º North Mountain Huckleberry Flavored Vodka
  10. Luksusowa
  11. Three Olives Vodka
  12. Hangar 1 Vodka

What Characteristics We Look For In A Vodka 

Smoothness 

A good vodka should go down easily and leave a clean, velvety finish. Some brands achieve this texture through multiple distillations and filtration processes that remove impurities for a refined spirit. To ensure you enjoy your cocktail, we’ve included vodkas with an absence of harsh or burning sensations. 

Base grain/stars source 

The base grain or starch source can influence the vodka’s flavor profile and overall quality. Common grains include wheat, rye, barley, corn, and potatoes. Each base ingredient imparts its unique characteristics–spicy, earthy, or creamy notes–to the vodka, resulting in subtle variations in taste and mouthfeel.

Flavor profile 

Vodka generally has a neutral taste, making it a superb spirit to play around with when making cocktails. But some vodkas may have subtle flavor notes–citrus, vanilla, lemon, and berries. We’ve included flavored vodka and those with subtle sweetness from the base grain so you can add depth and complexity to your cocktail. 

Price 

Premium vodkas offer exceptional quality and craftsmanship, justifying their high price tag. On the other hand, more affordable vodkas can provide a satisfactory experience without breaking the bank. The key is finding a vodka that delivers a good balance between quality and affordability based on your preferences and budget. And this post will help you do just that! 

ABV/proof 

Standard vodkas typically range from 40% ABV (80 proof) to 60% ABV (120 proof). The higher the ABV, the stronger the vodka will be. The ABV can impact the overall taste and intensity of the Moscow Mule. We included spirits that will not overpower the lime and ginger beer in the cocktail.

We recommend sticking with the standard 40% ABV vodkas for your Moscow Mule.

Our 7 Best Vodkas For Making Moscow Mule 

Best Overall: CIROC Ultra-Premium Vodka

This gluten-free vodka has refined citrus aromas and a lightly sweet taste that pairs well with lime juice and ginger beer. Ciroc is five times distilled from fine French grapes, resulting in an exquisitely smooth, fruity, and fresh vodka experience. If you’re looking to enjoy Moscow Mule without breaking the bank, it’s worth getting a bottle (or two) of this spirit. 

Best “cheap” vodka: Smirnoff

Smirnoff is the original vodka that was used when Moscow Mule first gained traction, and it’s easy to see why. The spirit is triple distilled from a blend of different grains and filtered ten times through environmentally sustainable charcoal, resulting in a pure-tasting and smooth spirit. It’s an affordable choice that serves as a perfect base for any cocktail, including the Moscow Mule.

Best top-shelf vodka: Belvedere

Crafted from Polish rye, this extraordinary vodka offers a distinct taste and character. With notes of vanilla, cream, black pepper, and a rich, velvety texture, Belvedere is a gem if you’re seeking a truly exceptional Moscow Mule experience.

Best potato vodka: Chopin 

Chopin has a distinctly earthy and full-bodied flavor profile. With subtle green apple and vanilla notes, a creamy and earthy taste, a full-bodied mouth-feel, and a long, clean finish, Chopin Potato Vodka elevates the Moscow Mule to new heights.

Best flavored vodka: 44º North Mountain Huckleberry Flavored Vodka

To add a unique twist to your cocktail, 44º North Mountain Huckleberry Flavored Vodka is a fantastic option. Made from potatoes and infused with all-natural huckleberries, this vodka brings a delightful fruity flavor to the cocktail while maintaining the integrity of the classic recipe.

Best alternative vodka: Luksusowa

Luksusowa showcases the rich, earthy flavors of potatoes. By incorporating the spirit into your cocktail, you introduce a distinct twist that will delight your taste buds. They take 100% Polish potatoes and subject them to a rigorous mashing process. The raw spirit is diluted with the purest water until it reaches an ABV of 40%. This careful dilution process ensures the vodka’s smoothness for a tantalizing cocktail experience. 

5 Tips To Make The Perfect Moscow Mule 

  1. Used freshly squeezed lime juice
  2. Serve your cocktail in a pure copper mug
  3. Use good quality ginger beer
  4. Add a dash of ginger-lime syrup
  5. Garnish for visual appeal

Use freshly squeezed lime juice

Freshly squeezed lime juice provides the bright citrus flavor that complements vodka. Squeeze the fruit’s juices just before mixing the cocktail to ensure the brightest flavors.

Serve your cocktail in a pure copper mug 

As soon as you add ice to the mug, it will retain the coldness of the drink without it reheating from the warmth of your hands or the surrounding air. And also the drink looks amazing when served in copper mugs!

Use good quality ginger beer 

Because a Moscow Mule is sweet and spicy, purchase good quality ginger beer that will provide the classic spicy element the cocktail is revered for.

Add a dash of ginger-lime simple syrup! 

For a cocktail bursting with flavor, we encourage you to add some flavored simple syrup. Follow these steps to make yours. 

You’ll need 

  • 3 strips of lime peel
  • 3 tsps coarsely chopped fresh ginger
  • Equal parts white sugar and water
  • Medium saucepan
  • Spoon
  • Sieve

Instructions

  1. Pour the ingredients into a medium saucepan.
  2. Let the mixture simmer on low-medium heat for 20 minutes. 
  3. Remove from the heat and let it cool. 
  4. Strain the solids and store the syrup for 2 weeks to a month.

Garnish for visual appeal

Enhance the appearance of your cocktail by garnishing it with a lime wedge and a sprig of fresh mint. The vibrant colors and aromas will make the cocktail even more enticing.

Final Thoughts 

When it comes to crafting the perfect Moscow Mule, the choice of vodka plays a crucial role in achieving the ideal balance of flavors. The recommended vodkas in this post, paired with good-quality ingredients, offer unique qualities that can elevate your drinking experience. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. What kind of vodka is best in a Moscow Mule?

The best vodka is one that’s smooth, neutral in flavor, and complements other ingredients added to the cocktail. Options like CÎROC, Smirnoff, Belvedere, and Chopin are excellent choices.

Q. Can you taste the vodka in a Moscow Mule?

You can’t really taste the vodka in Moscow Mule. It’s subtle but enhances the cocktail’s flavors.

Q. What alcohol is used for Moscow Mule?

Vodka is the primary alcohol used in a Moscow Mule. 

Q. Which type of vodka was included in the first Moscow Mule?

Smirnoff was included in the first Moscow Mule.

Q. Why a copper mug for a Moscow Mule? 

Traditionally, Moscow Mule was served in a copper mug to try to market vodka and ginger beer. Lately, it’s been used for its functionality and aesthetics. Copper is an excellent conductor of temperature. When filled with a cold Moscow Mule, the mug quickly chills the cocktail and keeps it colder for longer. The mug also adds an appealing visual element to the cocktail. The shiny, metallic appearance of the mug gives the Moscow Mule a memorable look. 

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