There are few cocktails that are as approachable and easy to make as a Moscow mule. All it takes is three ingredients (vodka, ginger beer, and lime), some ice, and maybe even a copper mule mug and voila, it’s cocktail time. With only three ingredients, though, they need to be high quality or you risk having a bad drink and a generally terrible time from there on out..
We’ve rounded up some of the tastiest (and also affordable) options for the next time you whip up these delicious cocktail at home. (But before you do, you may want to check out our guide to making Moscow mules and our top choices for ginger beer).
While Moscow mules aren’t actually from Russia, it’s fun to choose a Russian vodka as a star. Stolichnaya dates to the early 1900s and is made from wheat and rye. The Russians know their vodka, and Stoli is a full-bodied spirit with a subtle vanilla character with little burn.
Smirnoff is the brand that led to vodka passing whiskey as America’s most popular spirit in the mid-20th century. Today, Smirnoff is one of the most recognizable vodkas and a solid choice for use in any cocktail thanks to its clean, slightly mineral taste.
Made with potatoes in Poland, Luksusowa vodka adds a bit of creaminess to the body of a Moscow mule. Expect a little minerality in the palate, but Luksusowa is a generally superbly clean vodka and leaves little behind, letting the ginger beer take over.
When the Ballast Point Brewing founders sold their beer brand to Constellation for $1 billion, they managed to keep their distillery. Now Cutwater Spirits, they make an excellent line of spirits that includes Fugu vodka. Fugu is named after the potentially deadly sushi fish, which leaves a nice numbness to the lips when prepared properly — similar to a strong mule.
Made in Iceland from glacial water and energy from geothermal heat, Reyka has more herbal and earthy notes than many other vodkas. Pour in some Reyka for an icy addition to a Moscow mule.
Based in Hawaii, Ocean Vodka Organic Farm and Distillery is committed to keeping the world clean. Made with sugar cane and desalinated ocean water, this vodka is clean with little to no taste and a silky, neutral finish perfect for cocktails.
The winner of our inaugural Spirit Awards in the Best American Vodka category, Highwater Vodka from Jackson Hole Still Works is produced from locally grown corn and oats for a soft, easy vodka — perfect for letting spicy ginger beer shine.
Made in Detroit, Michigan, Valentine Vodka is produced from a blend of grains (corn, wheat, and barley) and is a prime example of the spirit renaissance in the Motor City. Well-balanced, it is a great spirit for a variety of cocktails, mules included. Valentine was a runner-up in the Best American Vodka category in 2018’s Spirit Awards.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka
There’s a reason Tito’s is one of the best-selling vodkas in the country (and the world). It is easy to drink and goes with everything. Tito’s is known for philanthropic work with dogs, to boot, which is a big plus in our book.
Prairie Organic Vodka
Made from organic corn, Prairie Organic is a great option when you’re looking for a smooth vodka that is made from high-quality ingredients. Easy on the palate, the creamy mouthfeel is a great complement to the other bright and spicy ingredients.
Article originally published February 27, 2018. Last updated March 7, 2019.