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Our Favorite Vodka for Moscow Mules

Choose the right vodka for the best mules

Moscow Mules are simple and delicious cocktails. Served in their signature copper mugs, the basic recipe for this tasty tipple only calls for vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, and ice.

moscow mule cocktails in copper mugs with vodka and ginger beer

Because the ingredient list is so narrow, it is essential to the overall quality of the drink that all of them be the absolute best quality. In this article, we’ll look at the ten best vodkas for making the perfect Moscow Mule.

Premium Vodkas

These vodkas are commonly found at most liquor stores. They will set you back slightly more than your bottom or even some middle-shelf brands, but the flavor and experience are well worth the extra cost.


Stolichnaya

Stolichnaya (or Stoli for those in the know) is a historic and well-known Russian vodka brand. It has subtle citrus notes, and since lime juice is another key ingredient in Moscow Mules, it works very well. It also has a bit of a burn on the back end, which tastes nice alongside the ginger beer.

Plus, is there anything more appropriate than drinking a Moscow Mule made with Russian vodka?


Ketel One

Ketel One is vodka in the purest sense of the word. It has no frills, aftertaste, or anything funky whatsoever. So, if you’re looking for a straightforward Moscow Mule, then we like Ketel One the best. Or, if you’re trying to bring out the other flavors–citrus or ginger–you may also want to stick with Ketel One.


Hangar 1

Hangar 1 is a little different. It is an American vodka made from grapes. As a result, it has a slightly fruity flavor that works wonderfully in cocktails, including–surprisingly–the Moscow Mule. It is especially great if you want your Moscow Mule a little sweet without adding sugary versions of the standard ingredients.

We especially like using Hangar 1 for small cocktail parties with friends. Its uniqueness is memorable and will make you seem like a natural mixologist.


Budget Vodkas

Especially if you’re going to be watering a crowd, you may want to opt for something slightly less expensive. You don’t have to skimp on flavor if your wallet is a little smaller. These are your best bets for vodkas on a budget.


Smirnoff

Even though we’re in the budget category, Smirnoff is still one of the all-around best vodkas for mixing Moscow Mules. In large part, its low price is thanks to the vastness of the company’s operation, not a result of cutting quality. 

Similar to Ketel One, it has a clean flavor with no lingering aftertaste. It won’t enhance the cocktail’s other ingredients, but it also won’t detract from them. 


Tito’s

We could have probably included Tito’s with premium vodkas since it can run a little on the pricey side, but it’s become pretty ubiquitous in recent years, and it tends to set you back less than many other brands (though more than Smirnoff).

Regardless, Tito’s is a fantastic option for Moscow Mules because of its grainy, earthy sweetness. It brings out the flavor of the ginger better than almost any other spirit on this list. If the taste of the ginger is why you love this beverage, then Tito’s is an excellent vodka for you.


Best Top-Shelf Vodkas

If you’re looking for the ultimate in flavor, along with a little sense of luxury, then grab a step-stool and reach for the top shelf. These vodkas do not come cheaply, but they may make you feel like a tsar.


Absolut Elyx

Absolut is a very popular premium vodka brand, and Elyx is one of their finer labels. Made in Sweden, it has a brightness that pairs beautifully with carbonation, making it ideal when mixed with ginger beer. At the same time, the flavor is clean and unadulterated–no aftertaste and minimal burn.


Grey Goose

Is it possible to have a list of best vodkas for anything without including Grey Goose? While we know it’s ubiquitous, we still can’t leave it off. That’s because it’s primarily a sipping vodka, so it’s very low on the burn. A good Moscow Mule has a little bit of a bite to it from the ginger; you don’t necessarily want the vodka you use to add to that. 


Flavored and Organic Vodkas

Moscow Mules made with flavored vodkas aren’t necessarily traditional, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t delicious. You can use a flavored vodka to make a specialty Moscow Mule or even mix it with the other traditional ingredients for a delightful drink.


Belvedere Ginger Zest

Ginger root has a very distinct flavor, and we know it’s not for everyone. However, if you order this beverage specifically because of this peppery, sweet, aromatic ingredient, why not enhance it?

Belvedere Ginger Zest is sharp and even adds a slight hint of lemon to your drink. At the same time, since it is made with Belvedere vodka, it’s smooth and ultimately drinkable.


Svedka Cucumber Lime

Moscow Mules aren’t meant to be sweet, which is why some purists shy away from fruity versions of the classic cocktail. That’s why we like Svedka Cucumber Lime for making an ultra-earthy version of it.

This particular vodka only has a subtle cucumber flavor, and since the Moscow Mule already contains lime, it merely enhances the citrus notes. It yields a fresh-tasting, refreshing beverage that’s especially great in the warm weather.


Prairie Organic Vodka

Organic vodkas are made without GMOs, and the ingredients are grown without exposure to chemicals or other pesticides. But even setting the potential health benefits aside, Prairie vodka makes an outstanding Moscow Mule.

It is very smooth and balanced with an almost creamy texture that helps offset the slight grittiness of the ginger and lime. It also adds brightness to the flavor of the drink.


Find Your Favorite

Ultimately, the best vodka for making Moscow Mules depends on your taste since everyone’s palate is distinct. So whether you’re preparing drinks for a crowd, ordering in a restaurant, or playing around with mixology at home, all of the vodkas on this list should provide a great place to start. Also see our post about which ginger beers are our favorites.

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Written by Brian N

Brian has been an influencer in the food and beverage industry for over 20 years. He not only loves to eat and drink at restaurants on a regular basis, he also knows the business inside and out.