Kentucky Mule is a great summer cocktail

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In the fall and winter, my drink choices are easy. Whiskey neat, or red wine. But in the summer, I go a little crazy and am much more likely to choose cocktails.

Don’t get me wrong. Many, many (many) evenings still end with a glass of bourbon or Scotch. But with my kids home with me all day, I usually need a cocktail around happy hour. Or as normal people like to call it, 3pm.

My husband had been introduced to the Moscow Mule by a coworker and loved it, so I bought the ingredients for him, and he mixed one up for me to try. Ginger beer, lime juice, and vodka.

Imagine my surprise at enjoying a vodka drink  I’m not really a vodka girl. Good vodka means the absence of flavor, which is pretty much the opposite of me. But these were delicious and refreshing and slid down so easy.

And then someone said something to me that changed the flavor of the summer.

“I make those, but with bourbon. It’s called a Kentucky Mule.”

Why. Didn’t. I. Think. Of. That?

I immediately created this concoction and put it in my pie hole. It was all that I dreamed it would be. Light, refreshing, flavorful, and bourbon-y. It was the perfect summer drink.


The Kentucky Mule

  • 3-4 oz. ginger beer (1/3-1/2 cup)
  • ½ shot lime juice
  • 1 shot bourbon

Mix together and pour over ice.

That’s it! You can add a bit of crushed mint if you want, but I generally don’t because I don’t have any in my garden and it’s not worth buying it because the mint goes bad before I use it all. And besides, the drink is really excellent without it.

Unless you like your drinks really sweet, don’t use Rose’s Lime Juice. Use fresh squeezed or bottled lime juice. Obviously fresh squeezed is better, but bottled is acceptable. Also, I used Bulleit bourbon. Just use your favorite mixing bourbon.

These small 6.8 oz. bottles are perfect for two Kentucky Mules!

Another note on ingredients. Ginger beer is not the same thing as ginger ale. Well, I mean, they’re vaguely similar, but ginger beer is less sweet with a much stronger ginger flavor.

Being me, of course I experimented with ginger beers. My favorite hands down is Fever Tree ginger beer. It has a beautiful strong ginger flavor, and is probably the least sweet of the ginger beers I tried.

My husband is partial to Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew, which is probably a bit easier to find. The Reed’s is a bit sweeter, so I prefer the Fever Tree, but these are small details. Everything labeled “ginger beer” (as opposed to ginger ale) made a delicious cocktail. If Fever Tree weren’t available at my regular grocery store, I would totally buy the Reed’s Extra Ginger and be happy.

The Moscow Mule is traditionally served in a copper mug. Apparently it keeps it cold, but mine are always gone so fast, there’s not even time for the ice to melt, so I’m saving my money for more whiskey glasses, and just drinking my Kentucky Mules out of lowball glasses.

And because I know you’re all wondering, yes, they also make wonderful popsicles!

popsicleKentucky Mule Popsicles

  • 12 oz. ginger beer (1 ½ cups)
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 1/3 cup bourbon

Stir together and pour into popsicle molds.

Let freeze until slushy (about two hours), and then add sticks. Freeze at least 8-12 hours. Run molds until hot water to release popsicles.

Makes 6-7 3-oz. popsicles.

See last week’s post for more boozy summer popsicle recipes.

Frozen or over ice, the Kentucky Mule is the perfect cocktail for these hot summer days.Enjoy!