The Kentucky Mule Swaps Vodka For Bourbon

You've likely heard of the Moscow mule cocktail. If not, there are a few reasons to try one. First, it's served in the prettiest copper mug, which actually helps keep your mule frosty cold (since copper conducts temperature) and is said to enhance the aroma and flavor of the alcohol. Even if it didn't have these practical purposes, the copper mug makes your cocktail the most attractive one in the bar. Second, the name is fun. Believe it or not, the mule isn't from Moscow. It gets its name from the fact that vodka is popular in Russia and ginger beer has a unique kick (like a mule) to it compared to other beers.

If that weren't enough, Moscow mules use just three simple ingredients, vodka, lime, and ginger beer to make one of the most refreshing drinks you can order. The sweetness of the ginger beer along with the tartness of the lime make a great pairing. But, as wonderful as the Moscow mule is, the lovely bluegrass state of Kentucky has made a few changes to give it more of a, well ... a Kentucky twist.

Bourbon adds a Kentucky twist to the Moscow mule

If you had to guess which liquor a Kentucky bartender might decide to use in place of vodka, you'd likely say Bourbon. After all, Bourbon was born and raised in the bluegrass state. When the mule is made with Bourbon instead of vodka, it's called a Kentucky mule. 

While the Bourbon old fashioned has dominated drink menus with its popularity, does Bourbon work in a mule? Yes, it does, and it's gaining in popularity. According to Nation's Restaurant News, the Kentucky mule has appeared on 83% more menus than it did four years ago.

In a traditional Moscow mule, ginger beer is the highlight of the drink. The strong taste is hard to miss. In the Kentucky mule, however, the ginger beer is still apparent, but the drink isn't as ginger-forward. Bourbon has stronger notes and more layers of flavor than vodka does, which helps to calm down the ginger and allow the flavors of everything, including the Bourbon, to shine through. To make your own Kentucky mule, simply replace the vodka with Bourbon.