Have you ever asked yourself if you can make a Moscow Mule without limes? If so, the answer is a resounding "yes"! In this post, we discuss how to make a Moscow Mule without limes using other items that are likely easily available in your kitchen. Read on for the best Moscow Mule without limes recipes!
If you're like us, maybe you’ve once found yourself with ⅔ of the ingredients needed for the awesome Moscow Mule cocktail and you ran a quick Google search to see if you can get away with substituting limes for something else.
Good news! You can more than get away with it! Based on some of the recipes we have prepared for you, you might even fall in love with the limeless Moscow Mule. Hey, it only sounds far-fetched until you try. ;)
If you’re seeking advice on whether or not you can make a Moscow Mule without limes, then you already know the basic recipe for the classic cocktail. And, since it’s so simple and requires less than 5 ingredients, it’s only natural to wonder if substituting and/or adding ingredients may disrupt the delicate balance of citrus and spice that the Moscow Mule is famous for.
The trick is to keep the balance and we’re happy to show you how.
There are two recipes we’ll break down in this post.
Classic Moscow Mule Without Limes Recipe
The first recipe is a simple but classic Moscow Mule recipe with lemon instead of lime. Well, sorta simple.
Did you know that there are over 25 varieties of lemons? While we won’t go into detail about them all, we will say that there are mainly two types: sweet and sour.
For this recipe to be closest in taste to the original Moscow Mule recipe, you’ll want to focus on the sour variety. But don’t fret if you’d prefer the sweet option. We’ll discuss preparations with sweet lemons, too.
The most common types of lemon are Myer, Eureka, and Lisbon.
For that sour, acidic citrus taste similar to limes, you should use either Eureka or Lisbon lemons. Most groceries carry both types but, if you’re unsure, here’s what to look for: more of an oblong shape with slight pitting on the rind. They also have a telltale ‘nipple’ at their ends.
For a Moscow Mule without limes with a taste that’s as similar as possible to the original Moscow Mule, use the following recipe.
- Lemons (Eureka or Lisbon)
- Ginger Beer
- Muddle half a lemon at the bottom of a glass. If you prefer your lemon juice without the pulp, then squeeze the juice instead of muddling.
- Add ice.
- Time for vodka!
- Top it off with a splash of ginger beer
- Stir gently and serve!
With this recipe, your Moscow Mule without lime is sure to be a hit and no one has to know that you’ve replaced a key ingredient. This is sure to be a hit with your guests if you decide to serve it when you have company over.
A great way to strengthen the punch that the lemon packs is to dissolve some sugar in water in a saucepan on low heat and add the juice of a few lemons. Stir gently until the mixture is smooth and a near syrup-like consistency. Slice remaining lemons and leave at the bottom on a pitcher. Wait until your mixture has cooled and pour over your lemon slices. Cover and let sit for 24 hours.
This lemon concentrate can be used in lieu of muddling or squeezing fresh lemons, or even in addition to the recipe.
‘Too much’ is not a concept here!
The plus side of this is that you can use your tart lemon concentrate for other recipes or even keep it on hand for when you need to make more cups of this delicious Moscow Mule without limes.
The Lemonade Moscow Mule
Now, let’s say you prefer a Moscow Mule with a sweeter spin on taste. Our mouths are watering just thinking of a refreshing lemonade mixed with that Moscow Mule ginger spice.
Our focus is on Meyer lemons for this sweeter Moscow Mule recipe. Meyer lemons are technically a hybrid mix between lemons and mandarin oranges so they don’t have that mouth-puckering sour tang lemons are generally known for. While still tangy, they are more sweet in nature and perfect for this recipe.
They are rounder and smaller in size than the Lisbon or Eureka variety with smoother skin and come in darker colors than the usual sunny yellow hues.
Eureka and Lisbon seem to be on the shelves year-round. Meyer lemons are seasonal, more so during the winter. .
- Lemons (Meyer)
- Ginger Beer
- Simple Syrup
- Muddle or squeeze your lemon juice into a glass
- Add ice.
- Time for vodka!
- We’ve found that adding simple syrup (one part water to one part sugar) enriches the sweet essence of this drink.
- Top it off with a splash of ginger beer.
- A pinch of salt.
- Stir gently and serve!
Bonus tip: the rinds of Meyer lemons have a deep aromatic quality that has been described as spicy. Use the Meyer lemon rinds as a garnish or grate the zest atop your drink to give your drink a heady aroma with each sip.
The refreshing lemonade countered by the spicy ginger beer makes the perfect contrast to delight the tastebuds.
Want to make your cocktail as festive as you feel? Don’t shy away from adding pizzazz through your presentation. The bright red of Maraschino cherries brings a suitable pop of color to this drink, and who doesn’t love a garnish that doubles as a snack? Or, use herbs like a sprig of mint or basil to create that famous red and green juxtaposition to bring it all together.
How to Make a Moscow Mule Without Limes or Lemons
Now, the second method one can use to make Moscow Mules without limes is to use lime flavored ingredients in place of limes.
Whether you don’t have access to fresh limes or would like to skip this ingredient entirely for whatever reason, we’ve got you covered.
Luckily for you, many ingredients come in lime-flavored varieties (even vodka), so there are quite a few ways to make the perfect Moscow Mule without losing out on what makes it a Moscow Mule.
You can have plenty of fun with the following recipe. Use some or all of these ingredients for a fantastic cocktail.
- Vodka (Lime Flavored)
- Ginger Beer
- Simple Syrup (Lime Flavored)
- Sparkling Water (Lime Flavored)
- Add some ice to your cup.
- You can use unflavored vodka or your choice of lime-flavored vodka. The ginger beer can be overpowering so we suggest using the flavored kind to give the notes of lime a fighting chance.
- Lime syrup really ties this together, so we recommend that you don’t skip this one in your pursuit of a lime-less Moscow Mule. Most groceries carry flavored simple syrup, so it shouldn’t be a stretch to get your hands on a bottle.
- A splash of ginger beer goes a long way. This fermented drink assures that the notes of ginger are distinct. Make sure you’re using ginger beer and not ginger ale. Though they sound the same, ginger ale has a much weaker ginger essence and would do this drink injustice.
- Finish it off with lime-flavoured sparkling water. This is a great way to amplify the refreshing fizz of the ginger beer and add that lime flavor without actually using limes. Win-win with this one.
- Stir gently and then serve.
If you decide to use all lime-flavored ingredients listed, then don’t worry about the taste of lime being too strong in your drink. Once you add that ginger beer, the spiciness of the ginger tends to take over. As with all cocktails, it’s about finding the right balance.
When it comes to the presentation of your Moscow Mule, the traditional copper mugs go a long way to showing style and class.
If you don’t own copper cups, then it’s fine to use other styles of serving glasses, like a high ball or other cocktail glassware.
In any event, the crowning jewel of this drink is the garnish you choose.
Use a lemon wheel for the rim, a sprig of fresh herbs like basil, thyme or mint, and a Maraschino cherry.
To stay true to the lime and ginger flavorings of this cocktail, we think the best garnish is candied ginger which is so easy to make you’ll wonder why you’ve never made them before! It only requires sugar, ginger, and water.
Much like you would make simple syrup, dissolve sugar in water in a saucepan over medium heat. Add slices of ginger to the pan and let simmer until the ginger is almost see-through and tender.
The next step is to place the ginger on a cooling rack, allowing the excess syrup to drain. You can refrigerate the ginger syrup for up to a month and can even use it as a powerful ginger booster for future Moscow Mule cocktails or other recipes.
Finally, coat ginger slices with sugar once cooled and let sit until dry. Now, you have a perfect ginger snack and garnish for your Moscow Mule drink. Stake a toothpick through two or three slices like a shish kebab and balance on the rim of your glass.
Take pictures of your Instagram worthy presentation to show off and enjoy your Moscow Mule without limes!