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Top 7 Bourbons for the Perfect Kentucky Mule Cocktail

thewhiskylady - 2023-08-03
1792 Bourbon Products and Prices
Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Prices
Top 7 Bourbons for the Perfect Kentucky Mule Cocktail

If you’re a fan of the classic Moscow Mule, you’ll love the Kentucky Mule, a refreshing spin on the original cocktail that swaps vodka for bourbon. The combination of ginger beer, lime juice, and bourbon creates a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors. But with so many bourbons on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one for your Kentucky Mule.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the 7 best bourbons for Kentucky Mule cocktail. From spicy and smoky to sweet and smooth, there’s a bourbon on this list to suit every taste preference. Whether you’re a bourbon connoisseur or just starting to explore the world of whiskey, these 7 bourbons are sure to elevate your Kentucky Mule game. So, grab a copper mug, some ice, and get ready to mix up a delicious cocktail.

Understanding the Kentucky Mule

This classic cocktail is a twist on the Moscow Mule, swapping out vodka for bourbon. In this section, we’ll explore the origin and relation to Moscow Mule, the classic recipe, and key ingredients that make the Kentucky Mule so delicious.

Origin and Relation to Moscow Mule

The Moscow Mule was invented in the 1940s as a way to promote vodka to American drinkers. It quickly became popular and was often served in a copper mug, which helped keep the drink cold.

The Classic Recipe

To make a classic Kentucky Mule, you’ll need a few key ingredients: bourbon, lime juice, ginger beer, and mint. Fill a copper mug with ice, squeeze the juice of half a lime over the ice, add two ounces of bourbon, and top it off with ginger beer. Garnish with lime and mint leaves.

Key Ingredients

  • Bourbon: The star of the Kentucky Mule, bourbon adds a rich, smoky flavor to the cocktail. Look for a high-rye bourbon with a mash bill containing at least 18% rye for the best flavor.
  • Lime Juice: Fresh lime juice adds a bright, citrusy flavor and balances out the sweetness of the ginger beer.
  • Ginger Beer: The key ingredient that gives the Kentucky Mule its signature kick, ginger beer is a non-alcoholic carbonated drink made with ginger, sugar, and water.
  • Mint: A classic garnish for the Kentucky Mule, mint adds a refreshing herbal note to the cocktail.

With its combination of smoky bourbon, zesty lime, spicy ginger beer, and refreshing mint, it’s no wonder this cocktail has become a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts.

Preparing the Perfect Kentucky Mule

Whether you’re hosting a derby party or just want to enjoy a refreshing cocktail on a hot summer day, a Kentucky Mule is the perfect choice.

Step-by-Step Guide

To make the perfect Kentucky Mule, you will need a few simple ingredients and a little bit of know-how. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create the perfect cocktail:

  1. Fill a copper mug or highball glass with ice.
  2. Add 2 ounces of bourbon and 1/2 ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice.
  3. Top the glass off with ginger beer.
  4. Stir the cocktail gently to combine the ingredients.
  5. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

The Role of Bourbon in Kentucky Mule

Why Bourbon?

When it comes to making a Kentucky Mule, bourbon is the star of the show. Bourbon whiskey is a type of American whiskey that is made primarily from corn and aged in charred oak barrels. It is this aging process that gives bourbon its signature flavor and color.

Bourbon is the perfect base for a Kentucky Mule because it has a rich, complex flavor that pairs well with the spicy kick of ginger beer. Plus, its sweetness helps to balance out the tartness of the lime juice.

The Impact of Bourbon’s Age and Proof

The age and proof of the bourbon you use in your Kentucky Mule can have a significant impact on the flavor of your cocktail.

Aged bourbons are typically smoother and more mellow than their younger counterparts. They also tend to have a more complex flavor profile with notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak. If you want to add some depth to your Kentucky Mule, consider using a small batch or high-rye bourbon with a higher age statement.

Proof, on the other hand, can affect the intensity of the bourbon’s flavor. Higher proof bourbons tend to have a stronger, more robust flavor, while lower proof bourbons are more mellow. If you prefer a stronger, more pronounced bourbon flavor in your Kentucky Mule, opt for a higher proof bourbon.

7 Best Bourbons Brands for a Kentucky Mule

If you’re looking for the perfect bourbon for your Kentucky Mule cocktail, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the seven best bourbon brands that will take your cocktail game to the next level.


Bulleitphoto credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Bulleit Bourbon is a small batch bourbon that is perfect for a Kentucky Mule. It has a high-rye content, which gives it a spicy and bold flavor. This bourbon has a smooth finish and is perfect for sipping or mixing. Bulleit Bourbon is aged in charred American oak barrels, which gives it a distinct flavor.

Four Roses Small Batch

Four Roses Small Batchphoto credit: www.fourrosesbourbon.com

Four Roses Small Batch is another great bourbon for a Kentucky Mule. This bourbon is made from a blend of four different recipes, which gives it a unique flavor profile. It has a distinct taste of berries & dried spices, with hints of caramel and sweet oak. Four Roses Small Batch is aged for at least six years in charred oak barrels.

Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reservephoto credit: www.woodfordreserve.com

This bourbon is distilled in copper pot stills and aged in charred oak barrels. It has a rich and smooth flavor, with rich dried fruit and hints of mint and oranges. Woodford Reserve is a great sipping bourbon, but it also works well in a Kentucky Mule.

Jim Beam White Label

Jim Beam White Labelphoto credit: global.jimbeam.com

Jim Beam White Label is a classic bourbon that is perfect for a Kentucky Mule. Aged for at least four years, itt has a medium-bodied and mellow taste, with hints of caramel and vanilla. Jim Beam White Label is a great value bourbon that is perfect for mixing in cocktails.

Evan Williams Black Label

Evan Williams Black Labelphoto credit: evanwilliams.com

Evan Williams Black Label is a great bourbon for a Kentucky Mule. It has a smooth and rich taste, with hints of oak, brown sugar and caramel. This bourbon is aged longer than most brands in charred oak barrels. This is a great value bourbon perfect on the rocks or for mixing in cocktails.

Maker’s Mark

Maker’s Markphoto credit: www.makersmark.com

Maker’s Mark is a premium bourbon that is perfect for a Kentucky Mule. It has a smooth and sweet taste, with hints of oak, vanilla and fruity essences. This bourbon is made from soft red winter wheat, for a one-of-a-kind, full-flavored bourbon and aged for at least six years.

Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Tracephoto credit: www.buffalotracedistillery.com

Buffalo Trace is a great bourbon for a Kentucky Mule. It has a complex aroma of vanilla, mint and molasses with notes of sugar and spice. This bourbon is aged for at least eight years in charred oak barrels and works well in cocktails. It has also received many accolades including the 2023 Double Gold Denver International Spirits Competition


Congratulations! You have now discovered the top bourbons for making a delicious Kentucky Mule cocktail. Remember, the key to a perfect Kentucky Mule is to use quality ingredients and to find the right balance between the bourbon, ginger beer, and lime juice. Experiment with different ratios and garnishes to create a drink that suits your personal taste.

If you’re new to bourbon, we recommend starting with a classic like Maker’s Mark or Buffalo Trace. These bourbons are easy to find and are a great introduction to the world of bourbon.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try one of the lesser-known bourbons on this list, such as the Elijah Craig Small Batch. These bourbons offer unique flavors and are sure to impress your guests.

No matter which bourbon you choose, make sure to serve your Kentucky Mule in a copper mug for an authentic and refreshing experience. Cheers to a delicious and unforgettable cocktail!

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