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Montana Mule: A Moscow Mule Variation with Huckleberry Vodka

Two copper mugs filled with Montana mules, a Moscow mule variation made with huckleberry vodka

Served in copper mugs, Moscow mules are classic cocktails that have been enjoyed worldwide since the 1940s. While many Moscow mule variations have evolved since then, the Montana mule – featuring the quintessential flavor of Montana thanks to huckleberry vodka and fresh huckleberries – is my favorite vodka cocktail.

The information provided on this site is based on my personal experience living with alpha-gal syndrome. I consistently cite and link to expert sources, but nothing published on this site should be perceived as medical advice.

Alpha-gal sensitivities vary by person. You should understand your dietary restrictions, making any adjustments needed, and directing any questions to your physician.

A delicious twist on the classic cocktail, a Montana mule is the perfect cocktail for beginners. Simply pour huckleberry vodka and ginger beer over ice and top it with a squeeze of fresh lime and a handful of huckleberries to cool down on a hot summer day with a refreshing cocktail full of the flavors of Big Sky Country.

    

In This Article

A pair of copper mugs filled with huckleberry vodka and ginger beer.
Photo Credit: Canva

Why Are Moscow Mules Served in Copper Mugs

If you’ve ever sipped a Moscow mule, you know the copper mug it’s served in is just as important as the drink itself. But why are Moscow mules served in copper mugs?

Drinking from copper mugs feels as sophisticated as sipping from a goblet in an secret society. But beyond that cool factor, there’s a scientific reason for traditionally serving Moscow mules in copper mugs. The metal conducts the cold temperature of the drink, keeping the drink colder for longer. And, when fresh lime juice is poured into a copper mug, the metal enhances the acidic juice creating a unique taste you just can’t replicate with any other type of glassware. So there you have it! A copper mug isn’t just a fancy piece of glassware. It’s a critical component of any Moscow mule experience. 

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Where to Find Copper Mugs

There are several places to search for the perfect copper mugs for Moscow mules. For unique or retro copper mugs, check out your local thrift store. When you wade through a sea of clothing racks, discarded books, and outdated home decor, you might uncover a treasure in vintage copper mugs. 

If thrifting isn’t your thing, the internet is your oyster. Online retailers like Amazon have a plethora of options when it comes to copper mugs, from shiny copper to black matte. There are copper mugs in the classic barrel shape and sleek copper mugs shaped like beer steins. You can even find Moscow mule sets, including jiggers, copper straws, stirring sticks, and other accessories.

And, for those who like to shop locally, check out specialty kitchenware stores or independent boutiques in your area. Not only will you support a small business, but you just might stumble upon a unique copper mug you never knew existed.

Classic Moscow Mule

A traditional mule is a simple mix of vodka, bubbly ginger beer, and a splash of lime juice, all poured over ice in a fancy copper mug. When you combine the punch of vodka, the spiciness of ginger beer, and the tartness of freshly squeezed lime, they become a perfectly balanced and oh-so-refreshing classic Moscow mule.

Making Moscow mules and Moscow mule variations on a hot summer day.
Photo Credit: Canva

Moscow Mule Variations

The original recipe used to craft this refreshing cocktail has inspired many Moscow mule variations. These recipes create a fun twist on the traditional Moscow mule cocktail by swapping the vodka for another type of alcohol or incorporating other flavors into the classic Moscow mule recipe.

Once you’ve mastered the classic mule, you may want to try one of these mule variations:

  • Cranberry mule – a Moscow mule made with cranberry juice and orange juice
  • Dark ‘n stormy – a Moscow mule made with dark rum
  • Gin gin mule – a Moscow mule made with gin
  • Glasgow mule – a Moscow mule made with scotch and St. Germaine, an elderflower liqueur
  • Irish mule – a Moscow mule made with Irish whiskey
  • Jamaican mule – a Moscow mule made with spiced rum
  • Kentucky mule – a mule that swaps vodka for bourbon
  • Lemonade mule – a summery mule that incorporates lemonade and fresh lemon juice 
  • Mexican mule – a Moscow mule made by swapping vodka for tequila
  • Mezcal mule – a Moscow mule made with mezcal and tequila
  • Montana mule – a Moscow mule made with huckleberry vodka
  • Pineapple mule – the tropical flavor in this mule comes from a shot of pineapple juice added to the basic recipe

Fun Fact: You may hear mule cocktails referred to as “buck” drinks. This name is believed to stem from the Horse’s Neck, a drink traditionally composed of nonalcoholic ginger ale. Adding vodka or another liquor gives the drink an extra kick, hence the term “buck” because it packs a punch.

Montana Mule Ingredients

If you’ve had the chance to visit Big Sky Country, then you know it’s home to majestic mountains, big skies, and everything huckleberry. Although they look a bit like a small, dark-colored blueberry, huckleberries are a different fruit with a distinct taste. And they make the best Moscow mule variation, if you ask me!

Huckleberry vodka by Montana mules, one of several Moscow mule variations.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott

Huckleberry Vodka

Huckleberry vodka, infused with the slightly tart, sweet goodness of huckleberries, is the star of the show in a Montana mule and other Big Sky inspired cocktails. When I sip it in a cocktail, huckleberry vodka immediately brings to mind memories of summertime in Montana surrounded by colorful wildflowers and majestic snow-capped mountains.

If you’re an alpha gal who enjoys a good cocktail, it’s important to ensure the vodka you choose is allergy-friendly. Some liquors are clarified using gelatin, which can be problematic. That’s why I recommend Barnivore, a free online tool that can help you identify suitable huckleberry vodkas for your Montana mule. We prefer to stock our home bar with 360 huckleberry vodka, which is locally made here in Kansas City. While I’ve never personally had a reaction to it, 360 vodkas aren’t listed on Barnivore, so I can’t confirm that they’re alpha-gal friendly. If you’re particularly sensitive, you might want to consider using 44º North’s Mountain Huckleberry Vodka to ensure your Montana mule is alpha-gal friendly.

Sage Advice: Craving more delicious flavored vodka cocktails? Try this vanilla vodka and tonic. For another fruity option, you’re sure to love this peach sangria. Any if you are looking for a creamy, nutty cocktail, you’ll love this Skrewball White Russian recipe

A bottle of ginger beer against a yellow background
Photo Credit: Canva

Ginger Beer

Ginger beer is a non-alcoholic, carbonated drink that’s made from ginger root, sugar, and water. Thanks to the ginger, it’s got a little kick to it, making it perfect for crafting a Moscow mule of any variety. And, in case you didn’t know,  ginger beer is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. So, you can sip any type of Moscow mule knowing there’s a hidden health benefit (or at least that’s what I tell myself).

Sage Advice: For more thirst-quenching, fruit-flavored adult beverages featuring ginger beer, check out these strawberry cocktails.

A pile of fresh limes.
Photo Credit: Canva

Limes

Adding the little bit of acidic flavor that reacts perfectly with the copper mug, fresh lime juice is an important ingredient in any mule recipe. You can use bottled lime juice in a pinch, but mules taste so much better with a squeeze of fresh lime.

A handful of freshly picked huckleberries.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Huckleberries

Huckleberries are a hidden gem of the berry world. They’re small, sweet, packed with vitamin C, and absolutely delicious! Unfortunately, huckleberries can’t be cultivated and grow wild in the northwestern United States and southwestern Canada. When huckleberries are in season, everyone from grizzly bears to Montana mule drinkers want them, but no one wants to share. This makes the delicious purple berries a little pricey.

We keep frozen huckleberries on hand in our freezer so it’s easy to defrost a tablespoon of them for garnish any time we crave Montana mules. If huckleberries are not available (or the price of fresh or frozen huckleberries gives you sticker shock), you can easily substitute a few fresh blueberries (or a few frozen blueberries) in this Moscow mule variation as long as you use huckleberry vodka.

Two copper mugs filled with Montana mules, a Moscow mule variation made with huckleberry vodka

Montana Mule, a Moscow Mule Variation

The Montana Mule is a delightful twist on the classic Moscow Mule. With huckleberry vodka and a handful of fresh huckleberries, it’s the perfect summertime cocktail packed with the flavors of Montana.
4.99 from 120 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 170 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 oz huckleberry vodka
  • 4-6 oz ginger beer depending on how strong you like your mule
  • lime wedge
  • fresh huckleberries or blueberries for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Fill a copper mug with ice.
  • Pour huckleberry vodka over ice and top with your favorite ginger beer.
  • Stir gently and garnish with a lime wedge and fresh huckleberries or blueberries.

Nutrition

Calories: 170kcalCarbohydrates: 10gSodium: 9mgPotassium: 2mgSugar: 10gCalcium: 3mgIron: 0.2mg
Keyword alcohol, alpha-gal friendly, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, vodka
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

Thank you for sharing!

22 thoughts on “Montana Mule: A Moscow Mule Variation with Huckleberry Vodka”

  1. 5 stars
    Yum! We had copper mugs in the cupboard that we bought a while ago to make mules but never got around to it. So glad I found your recipe! The Huckleberry vodka really made this special. I kept thinking of the movie Tombstone – I’m your huckleberry. haha Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    This is a great twist on the Moscow mule. I love the huckleberry vodka, and the ginger beer gives it a nice kick.

  3. 5 stars
    I could not find huckleberries so I garnished mine with blueberries. The flavored vodka and ginger beer is a great combination. We enjoyed every sip.

  4. 5 stars
    I have to get those copper mugs. They look so stylish. This was so tasty. Never had a Moscow mule before.

  5. 5 stars
    I just love how beautiful and savory this Moscow mule is! Served this last night for my cousin’s birthday party and it was a crowd favorite. Impressive!

  6. 5 stars
    Such a great combination of flavors! I added blueberries, since I couldn’t find huckleberries where I live. Very nice, thank you!

  7. 5 stars
    This Moscow mule drink is a must-try! I absolutely love how the copper cups keep the drinks cold. These are my favorite cocktails, so you know I’ll be making a Montana mule too. So excited! Thanks, Sage!

  8. 5 stars
    I forget about mules! I have this beautiful set of mugs that I ignore too often, and my cousin (who happens to have a huckleberry bush ripe for the picking) was more than willing to help me polish off a few of these last weekend!

  9. Sandhya Ramakrishnan

    5 stars
    We use a lot of copper in our Indian cuisine and I got so excited when I first saw the copper mugs making their appearance here. That’s a beautiful variation to the Moscow mule and I am looking forward to going down the list and trying out few other variations that you have mentioned.

  10. 5 stars
    This was my first time trying huckleberry vodka, and I LOVED it!! So unique. This mule really highlights the diversity of this drink (and I just may be biased because I love mules!!!)

  11. I have never had a moscow mule before, but I LOVED this one! The huckleberries tasted so good in this, and I will totally be making this for my next get-together with friends.

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