Anatomy of a Drink: Alex’s Moscow Mule

Alex's Moscow Mule

At the Speaking Easy Podcast, we love tinkering around with the classic cocktails, making them our own, and sharing them with friends. One of the drinks Alex came to love was a dressed-up Moscow Mule, with some custom lemon-ginger bitters, for which you’ll find the recipe below. One of our listeners, Chad, heard Alex talking about his Moscow Mule, with those bitters, and wondered if we’d share the recipe. And as always, we’re glad to share!

The regular Moscow Mule, with a fantastic backstory, is a simple 3-ingredient cocktail legend: 1 1/2 oz Vodka, half a lime squeezed and dropped in the mug, and topped with about 4 oz Ginger beer. But with a little time and planning, you can take that drink to a whole other level. So, here’s how Alex makes his Moscow Mule.

First, those bitters:

Lemon Ginger Bitters Recipe

You’ll need some large containers for these. We’d suggest something that clamps down, and something you can pick up and shake (you’ll want to shake your bitters once a day while they’re “cooking”). This jar would work.

You’ll also eventually need some cheesecloth to strain once it’s done. Love the cheesecloth.

  • 24 ounces of Everclear or 151 rum–get as high of a proof liquor as you can. Since these lemon-ginger bitters were designed for Moscow Mules, we’d say stick to Everclear.
  • About 1 1/2 cups of peeled, sliced ginger
  • Peels from 4-5 lemons (use Meyer Lemons if you can find them–a much thicker, aromatic peel, and try to get as little pith–the white stuff inside the peel–as possible)
  • Peel of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup dried Black Walnut Leaves
  • 1/4 dried Bitter Orange peel
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, whole
  • 4 cardamom pods, cracked

Combine all dry ingredient in your container, and then top with the spirit. Close the container, shake ingredients around for 15-20 seconds, and then let the mixture sit in a cool, dry place. Shake once a day for 5 days. On the 6th day, strain the mixture through cheesecloth, and then bottle. We love these little dropper bottles because you can control how much you add, and it acts as a measurement. Plus, you can pretend you’re an alchemist in medieval times. For shelf life: these bitters will probably be stable forever. But try to use them up within 10 years.

Alex’s Moscow Mule

And now, for the first time, Alex’s super-secret (not anymore) best-of-your-life Moscow Mule Recipe:

  • Alex's Moscow Mule - Lemon Ginger Bitters - Lemon Infused Vodka - Homemade - CocktailIn a copper mug (they can be expensive, but they are an investment for the serious Moscow Mule fans), drop 2-3 drops (or if you’re crazy like Alex, a whole dropper full) of the magical lemon-ginger bitters you’ve just made.
  • Then, add 2 ounces of lemon-infused vodka*, squeeze in half a lime and drop it in.
  • Add a few ice cubes, then top with ginger beer**.
  • Garnish with a lemon peel.

This drink will change the way you look at the lowly Mule.

BONUS: For the truly insane-about-ginger: Add a barspoon or two of pure ginger juice. If you’re lucky enough to own a juicer (we use this one), then you can make it fresh, and wow, is it spicy! And you don’t need to peel the ginger if you’re going to juice it. You can also buy it pre-juiced (we’ll allow it for this) because it can be hard to juice ginger without mechanical help. For shelf life: about 3 weeks to a month, so you don’t need to make a whole lot.


Lemon and lime infused vodka. #vodka #cocktails #diy #homemade #infusion #bartender #tobeingabetterdrinker

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*A simple lemon vodka infusion: the zests of 3 lemons and a bottle of vodka, and 3 days sitting. Obviously, with the displacement from the lemon peels, you’ll need a bottle slightly larger than the bottle of vodka for infusions. Our top choices for vodkas are Stolichnaya and Tito’s, or, honestly, Costco’s Kirkland Signature American Vodka will work fine. For shelf life: it’s fairly stable, and it’ll probably be gone before you know it.

**So the reason we stress ginger beer, and not ginger ale, has to do with the level of sweetness. Ginger beer has less sweetness, which is better for a Mule. Brands we love: Barritts and Gosling’s.


Truly the perfect summer drink. The variations abound from here, and liquors can be substituted out, but a simple drink like this can last a long time.