There’s more to a great cocktail than just a great recipe. It also requires the very best ingredients, with each being fresh and thoughtfully selected. The Moscow Mule is no different.
The Mule’s a classic that’s very easy to make and tastes absolutely delicious. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and simple with only three simple ingredients: vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice.
Since there’s only three ingredients, each has a big impact on the overall taste and quality of the drink. So it’s important to make sure they’re all up to the task!
Assuming you’ve already decided on a great ginger beer, one with the perfect amount of carbonation and zest, and grabbed a few fresh limes for juicing and garnish, there’s only one thing left to do. Finding the very best vodka for the Moscow Mule.
But all the options at the store can be intimidating. There’s often a ridiculous number of vodka brands all begging for your attention. You’re left wondering which one to pick and why.
Should you simply go for the most expensive? What about the most popular? Does it even matter…the cheapest? Well, it certainly does matter. But don’t worry, you’re not in it alone!
To make things easier, here’s a list of the best vodkas for the Moscow Mule. The list was ranked based on several factors including quality, price, and availability. So with that being said and plenty of due diligence…enjoy!
What Makes a Great Vodka?
Vodka’s unique because its quality doesn’t vary nearly as much as other spirits, depending upon brand and/or producer. Vodka is by definition “tasteless, colorless, and odorless.” So the difference is completely based on the quality of raw ingredients, water purity, and filtration process used.
The idea that the quality and price of vodka always go hand in hand is entirely incorrect. Yes, expensive brands like Grey Goose, Belvedere, and Crystal Head are quality vodkas. But their cost is primarily attributed to branding instead of a superior product. Many brands make a comparable vodka at a fraction of the price.
There’s No Such Thing As Fancy Vodka — NPR
” The relationship between a Russian and a bottle of vodka is almost mystical.”
The 10 Best Vodkas for the Moscow Mule
The Moscow Mule is a sharp, ginger-based cocktail. The ginger and lime steal the show. So you could decide on a top-shelf vodka, but trust me, you’d be wasting your money. The purity and smoothness luxury brands offer is bluntly masked by the Moscow Mule’s ingredients. As a result, any attempt to improve the quality of the cocktail in that manner is a wasted effort.
So save them for cocktails like the Vodka Martini where they’ll be better appreciated. Instead, focus your efforts on finding the best ginger beer you can and use freshly-squeezed lime juice.
But, that’s not to say any vodka will do. You still need to find a quality brand that’s clean, crisp, and affordable.
That’s what this list is all about, selecting the best vodka for the Moscow Mule with practicality in mind.
10. Beluga Noble
There’s no better way to start this list than with Russia’s #1 luxury vodka. Beluga Noble Vodka is produced in the heart of Siberian using a very unique process. In doing so, they’ve won over the hearts and minds of millions.
Unlike other distillers, Beluga has incorporated a “rest” period in its final stage of production giving it a one-of-a-kind taste that’s not lost in translation. It results in an immaculate, elegant, and complex vodka.
9. Three Olives
Three Olives Vodka is a masterclass in refined and affordable vodka. I first heard about it when a friend brought it over to make Vodka Martinis with. When he told me how inexpensive it was I thought he was joking. Sure enough, he wasn’t. Not surprisingly, Three Olives achieves quality by 4x distilling and filtering the spirit to yield a product of superior smoothness and purity.
This is a very mixable vodka, especially in a Moscow Mule. Don’t allow its modest price to scare you aware! In fact, it should do the opposite.
8. Hangar 1
Hangar 1 vodka is a premium American spirit made from midwestern grains and the finest grapes. Yes, that’s right…grapes.
As a result, the spirit’s perfectly balanced with a fruity aroma, and a slight perfume finish. It’s produced in California with the same detail and taste the state uses to make its wines. Hangar 1 got its name from its birthplace, a repurposed WWII aircraft hangar on Alameda Naval Air Station. Ironically, not far from where the Moscow Mule was created in Hollywood, CA.
Nevertheless, Hangar 1 Straight Vodka’s premium quality makes it a great choice for cocktails, and one of the best vodkas to use in a Moscow Mule.
Filtered through birch charcoal, quartz sands, and woven cloth, Stolichnaya Vodka is a pure expression of Russian craftsmanship. The spirit is triple distilled from corn, rye, and buckwheat in a manner that speaks to integrity and tradition. Russia is well known for its ability to produce high-quality vodka, and this is no different. It’s an export they can be proud of.
Since 1938, Stoli® has served a purely smooth vodka that was born to be served in a Russian-named cocktail like the Moscow Mule. This is the essence of what vodka is meant to be, enjoy!
The Swedes have done it again. Absolut Vodka is produced in southern Sweden and bolsters the same exact quality and character today, as it did when it was first introduced to the U.S. in 1979. The label-less bottle was inspired by an 18th-century medicine bottle. And to this day, the iconic look and the purity of their spirit have kept Absolut among the best.
Since the 19th century, this vodka has been refined and perfected. As a result, it is “the true definition of balance and harmony.” What more could you ask for?
5. Ketel One
The Dutch can make more than just high-quality gin. They make a very respectable vodka as well. Ketel One is a premium vodka distilled to the highest standards in the Netherlands. It’s made in copper pot stills and filtered over loose charcoal, resulting in a very clean, crisp, and smooth finish. The vodka is made with 100% non-GMO grain, which speaks to the Ketel One Family’s commitment to authenticity, just as it does excellence.
Rightfully so, the spirit has been claimed as the “best selling vodka” and “top trending vodka” by the top 50 bars in the world. Ketel One is truly a great vodka to use in a Moscow Mule.
SVEDKA Vodka is made with the finest spring water and winter wheat. The spirit’s distilled five times to ensure the highest degree of purity. For the price, there’s little competition in terms of quality, consistency, and value. SVEDKA is made in the Scandinavian nation of Sweden where they take pride in the products they make, it shows here.
If you’re looking for an affordable premium vodka that make’s an excellent addition to the Moscow Mule, you’ve found what you’re looking for.
What happens when you simply want a better-tasting Martini? Well, you start your own distillery and make SKYY vodka of course. The spirit is America’s first quadruple distilled, triple-filtered vodka, produced in California, U.S. SKYY vodka is an exceptionally smooth vodka with notes of coriander and anise. Its award-winning flavor has been unchanged for decades, and why would you want it to?
The vodka is clean enough to be served in a Martini and collected enough to pair with almost anything. SKYY vodka is the standard of American-made vodka. So it’s only fitting the spirit finds a home in an iconic cocktail like the Moscow Mule. You’re welcome…
2. Tito’s Handmade
This certified gluten-free vodka is an American-made masterpiece. Tito’s Handmade is an award-winning vodka proudly made in Austin, TX. In fact, the vodka’s won Double Gold at the Worlds Spirits Competition. The company’s founder acquired the first legal permit to distill in Texas in 1995. Since then Tito’s has made one of America’s finest vodkas.
The spirit offers superior value and “is so smooth you could drink it straight.”
1. Smirnoff No. 21
Smirnoff was the original vodka used in Moscow Mule, so what could be better? Since 1864 Smirnoff has produced high-quality affordable vodka.
The spirit’s triple-distilled and filtered an excessive 10 times, making for a robust vodka with exceptional smoothness and clarity. It was when, then Smirnoff owner, John Martin collaborated to invent the Moscow Mule that this award-winning vodka was shared with the world. So if you’re looking for the best vodka for the Moscow Mule, you’ve arrived.
Related: See Our Vodka Cocktail Recipes!
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