For nearly 80 years, one of the most iconic cocktails in the world has been the Moscow Mule. With the resurgence of cocktail culture in the last ten years, this delicious drink has once again made its way into the hearts, and bellies, of many. People seem captivated by the vodka drink that balances ginger beer and lime juice, and comes in a distinguished copper mug.
Recently, mixologists have tinkered with the original recipe, and expanded the possibilities to include just about every liquor base, and a number of complementary garnishes. Of all the mule variations that exist, few are more appealing and refreshing than the Tequila Mule, also known as the Mexican Mule.
What is a Mexican Mule, and why is it so amazing? In this article, we will...
- Investigate the origins of the Mexican Mule cocktail
- Explore its diverse flavor profile
- Learn about how it's prepared
- Present the most comprehensive list of easy Tequila Mule recipes
Origins of the Mexican Mule Drink
The classic Moscow Mule was created in 1941, and the first tequila ginger cocktail can be traced as far back as 1946. In those days, both vodka and tequila were quite rare and unfamiliar to the American palette, and were considered quite "exotic."
One of the earliest examples of the Tequila Mule can be found in the 1946 edition of Trader Vic's Book of Food and Drink. This essential cocktail guide describes a tasty cocktail called "El Diablo," which was a refined example of a "Buck". A Buck is any spirit served with either ginger ale or ginger beer, lime and creme de cassis (a sweet, dark red liqueur made from black currants).
Most easy Mexican Mule recipes omit creme de cassis, and instead focus on increasing the spiciness or sweetness by adding different fruits, vegetables and herbs.
There is no one person credited for officially inventing the Mexican Mule, or any of the Moscow Mule variations. Bartenders like to get creative, and quickly discovered the versatility of the "Mule" part of the drink (the ginger beer). When paired with lime juice, ginger can compliment just about whatever spirit you like the most. And with the overwhelming popularity of the Margarita, adding ginger beer to create a Tequila Mule seemed destined to be a hit.
Although particularly fashionable on Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican Mule can always be found at most Mexican restaurants and tequila bars year round. And if it's not on your favorite bar menu, provided they have ginger beer, your bartender won't have any problem making one for you.
What Does a Mexican Mule Taste Like?
Simply put, a Mexican Mule is absolutely delicious. In its most simplistic form, it is almost identical to its cousin, the Moscow Mule. The cocktail's distinct flavors are a balance of ginger and lime, that together are both refreshing and bold.
Perhaps due to its origins in the desert, tequila is often identified as a summer drink. However, the Mexican Mule is definitely a year-round drink, defying seasonal exclusivity. Its spice will warm your soul on a brisk winter night, or refresh you to the core on a scorching summer afternoon.
Sometimes referred to as a Jalisco Mule, this cocktail brilliantly balances the fizziness and spice of a great ginger beer with a citrus counterpoint of freshly squeezed limes. Many variations of the Tequila Mule also focus on sweetness by adding muddled pineapple, strawberry or peach.
A great mixed drink should always be balanced, with contrasting flavors that compliment the spirit and excite the taste buds. The carbonation of the ginger beer creates a soothing texture not commonly found in most cocktails and, depending on the strength of the ginger beer used, the earthy spice can be a nice departure from the overwhelming sweetness of many cocktails. The lime juice offers a tartness, and keeps the ginger's potency in check. There's nothing quite like it.
Another element that makes the Tequila Moscow Mule unique is the garnishes. Whereas a traditional Moscow Mule is garnished with a lime wedge and a sprig of mint, a Mexican Mule often adds jalapeno slices, pineapple chunks, or cilantro.
Jalapeno will certainly increase the heat, and pronounce certain musky notes of the tequila. The acidity of pineapple is a great substitute for fresh limes, but also pairs quite well with any fresh citrus. And, if you love coriander, you know how refreshing it can be - its notes of citrus enhance the natural flavors of the lime juice, and create a robust bouquet for the nose.
Whether you're in the mood for something a bit spicy, or cool and sweet, the Tequila Mule has exactly what you're looking for.
Pro Tips on How to Prepare a Mexican Mule
Unlike some fancy cocktails, the Moscow Mule and all its variations (like the Tequila Mule) are pretty easy to make. In fact, the only specialized equipment needed is the copper mug it's served in (and, although purists may cringe, truth be told, any cup or glass will do).
Here are some important things to remember when making your Mexican Moscow Mules:
1. Use high quality ingredients. A mixed drink is only as good as what you put in it and, the higher the quality, the better the end result. This means using your favorite brand of tequila, and ice made from purified water.
2. Use ginger beer, and not ginger ale! Sure, they are both ginger beverages, and ginger ale is far easier to obtain. However, it is no substitute for the body and intense flavor of a quality ginger beer. Ginger beer itself can vary in both quality and strength, so do some research, and only use the best. Another option is to make your own ginger beer, which can be fun, but will require planning a few days in advance. However, if you really want to impress your guests, and save some money, brewing your own batch can be pretty easy.
3. Use fresh lime juice from fresh limes. As tempting as it may be to use the little green plastic fruit-shaped bottle available at any supermarket, this drink absolutely insists on the real thing. The flavor of a fresh lime is brighter and more intense than any bottled juice, and cannot be substituted. Also, you ought to garnish your drink with a lime wedge, so don't be lazy, and only use fresh limes when making your mule.
4. If adding additional fruit to your Tequila Mule, be sure to not only use them as a garnish, but also be sure to muddle it in the bottom of your mug before adding the tequila and ginger beer. If your recipe calls for strawberry puree, or pineapple chunks, take a moment to crush the fruit with a spoon to unleash its full potential. Just placing a pineapple in a drink will do little to the overall flavor profile- you gotta smash it up!
5. Garnish like a champion. Presentation is a crucial element when making a mixed drink, and the right garnish can do a lot for your Mexican Mule. Not only does it add a pop of color and personality to the cocktail, it helps tell a story. Plus, they can be a nice snack to munch as you leisurely sip your mule. A fruit wedge is essential, and your choices range from lime to pineapple to strawberry. If you appreciate spicy, a jalapeno slice (minus the seeds) is a great touch. And either you love or you hate cilantro/coriander, but a sprig of some variety of fresh herb is never a bad idea.
Easy Mexican Mule Recipes
Part of the genius of the Mexican Mule is the simplicity. It is typically just three or four ingredients, and only takes a couple minutes to prepare. Here are some great, easy recipes for how to make a Mexican Mule, but feel free to get creative and make something unique.
Simple Tequila Mule Recipe
- 1.5 ounces of your favorite tequila
- 1/2 a lime
- A bottle of ginger beer
- Crushed ice
- Pour some salt in a dish, wet the rim of your mug or glass, and dip into the salt.
- Squeeze fresh lime juice with some pulp into the mug or glass, and fill with crushed ice.
- Add your shot of tequila, and fill the rest of the mug or glass with ginger beer.
- Give it a few swirls to mix thoroughly, and garnish with a wedge of lime.
Pineapple Mexican Mule Recipe
- A quality tequila of your choice
- Fresh lime
- Fresh pineapple chunks
- Ginger beer
- Cubed ice
- Fresh mint
- Add a slice of lime and pineapple wedge to the bottom of a chilled copper mug or glass.
- Use the back of a spoon to muddle the lime and pineapple.
- Add your tequila and stir.
- Add ice, cubed or crushed 3/4 of the way full.
- Pour in the ginger beer and garnish with a lime wheel, fresh mint and pineapple slice.
Strawberry Mexican Mule Recipe
- 2 ounces silver tequila
- 1.5 ounces fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce Strawberry Puree
- 4 ounces ginger beer
- Splash of club soda (optional)
For the Strawberry Puree:
- 2 cups quartered strawberries
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons honey (or agave)
- Use a food processor or blender to make your strawberry puree, and strain in a metal sieve.
- Mix the puree and lime juice with the tequila in your mug or glass, and stir rigorously.
- Fill it up with ice, and pour in the ginger beer. Garnish with a strawberry slice and sprig of mint.
Spicy Mexican Mule Recipe
- High quality tequila
- Organic ginger beer
- Fresh lime
- 1 jalapeno, sliced
- Ginger beer
- Cilantro (optional)
- Slice a jalapeno, remove the seeds, and add several slices to the bottom of your chilled copper mug.
- Add freshly squeezed lime juice, and muddle with jalapeno.
- Fill the mug with ice, and top with ginger beer. For an extra kick, pre-make some ice cubes with jalapeno slices or lime wedges inside - it's amazing.
- Garnish with a slice of jalapeno and optional sprig of fresh cilantro.