I think you'd agree with us that nothing is more refreshing than cold watermelon on a hot day. But have you tried the ultimate watermelon cocktail? This post is the ultimate guide to the Watermelon Mule cocktail, a unique variation on the classic Moscow Mule. Read on for the best Watermelon Moscow Mule recipe along with a special variation known as the Watermelon Mint Moscow Mule!
The Perfect Drink for Hot Days
One of the best things about cocktails is the power of a specific combination of ingredients to completely alter the shape of your day. Whether you’re stressed out after a long day of meetings, you’re in need of a pick-me-up due to personal turmoil, or you’re just ready to welcome the weekend with open arms, a meticulously assembled alcoholic beverage has the immense power to alter your mood in a positive way. In this sense, it is a little bit like experiencing a great work of art or a delicious meal... with the added bonus of giving you a nice buzz.
Imagine yourself on a hot, sweltering summer day, sitting outside with some friends, in desperate pursuit of some relief from the heat. You’ve already done the basics: you’ve kicked your shoes off, you’ve set some fans in your general direction, you’re playing some positively chilly music in an attempt to trick your brain into believing it’s not unbearably hot. What better way to cap all of this off than with a cool, refreshing cocktail?
And, as far as cocktails go, it doesn’t get much more refreshing than the noble Moscow Mule. The super-simple combination of vodka, ginger beer and lime juice, served ice-cold in the traditional copper mug, has long been a summer staple; not only is it refreshing, but it has the added “kick” of spiciness from the ginger beer. And while drinking a spicy drink in the summer heat might sound counter-intuitive, the slight kick only adds to the overall refreshing effect of this very straightforward, very delicious concoction.
Of course, there’s more than one version of the Moscow Mule out there. And there was bound to be -- a drink this simple, consisting of just three main ingredients, is prime for experimentation. In most cases, people substituted the spirit base for something different: changing vodka to bourbon gave you a Kentucky Mule, swapping it out for rum gave you a Caribbean Mule, using tequila instead resulted in a Mexican Mule. As you can probably imagine, the possibilities are endless, and there are a huge amount of delicious drinks that exist within the larger “Mule” family of cocktails, and they are all served in the classic copper mug.
So how do we make the Moscow Mule even more refreshing? How do we make this already-perfect summer drink an even more deliciously cool cocktail experience? Is such a thing even possible?
Friends, let us tell you about the Watermelon Mule.
The Watermelon Moscow Mule
Watermelon is the perfect summer fruit. It is not only inherently refreshing and delicious, but it is also packed with amazing health benefits, nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Having a few slices of watermelon makes any situation better. So it stands to reason that this incredible fruit would kick the Moscow Mule up a notch in terms of flavor, texture, and freshness.
As the name implies, the Watermelon Mule (or Watermelon Moscow Mule, as it is sometimes called) is a Moscow Mule variation which includes watermelon as part of the recipe. See, instead of substituting vodka for a different spirit (which is what the great majority of these Moscow Mule variations do), the Watermelon Mule adds an ingredient to the mix, creating an entirely new cocktail experience.
The addition of watermelon does a few different things to the traditional Moscow Mule. Let’s start with the obvious: the cocktail instantly becomes sweeter. Adding fruit will make any cocktail sweeter, true, but, in the case of the Watermelon Mule, there’s also the matter of the unique contrast between the ingredients. Here, the interaction between the sweet-but-subdued watermelon flavor and the crispness of the ginger beer makes for a very interesting flavor combination, and the citrus from the lime juice serves as the tangy bow on top of a very delicious package; it has depth, it has nuance, and it has texture. It’s light, but there’s a real depth of flavor to it. So yes, it is sweet, but what it isn’t is a mountain of sugar with a little booze added in!
How to Add Watermelon to Your Mule Cocktail
While the Watermelon Mule continues with the Mule tradition of being an extremely simple drink to make, there are a couple of points that vary from recipe to recipe. In particular, these relate to the way the watermelon is added to the drink: some recipes call for frozen watermelon in cubes, others say to add ice. For us, cubing a fresh watermelon, freezing it, and sticking it right in the blender is the way to go! If you don’t have enough time to freeze your watermelon, adding some ice will do the trick, but be aware that this will inevitably water down the flavor of your cocktail.
Another point of contention is whether you should be making watermelon juice before adding it to the cocktail, or simply blending it all together. This will come down to your preference in texture. If you prefer a thicker, slushier drink, more reminiscent of a fruit smoothie, then there’s no need to go through the process of juicing it. However, if you’d prefer a more liquid, easy-to-drink cocktail, using watermelon juice might be the right move for you. We’ll go through both methods below.
Use Fresh Ingredients
One thing that should go without saying when talking about making any cocktail that incorporates fruit: use fresh ingredients! Yes, you could go to the store and pick out some pre-made watermelon juice, but you’ll likely end up with a product that has added sugar and none of that unmistakable freshness that you get when something is made with fresh products. This goes for the lime juice, as well.
Frozen Watermelon Mule Cocktail Recipe
First, let’s go through the frozen Watermelon Mule cocktail recipe.
- 4 cup cubed watermelon, frozen
- 1 cup ginger beer
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Ice for blending
(Optionally, you can include some mint leaves and lime slices for garnish)
- In a blender, combine your frozen watermelon, the ginger beer, vodka, and lime juice. Blend until smooth.
- Pour into copper mugs and garnish with mint leaves and lime slices. Makes four servings.
If you’d rather have a more liquid consistency, follow the instructions below to make watermelon juice before combining the beverages:
- Place the watermelon chunks into the blender. Cover and puree until smooth.
- Strain the watermelon, reserving the juice. Discard the pulp.
- Simply pour the watermelon juice into the copper mug with the ginger beer, vodka, and lime juice.
See? So simple! And yet the combination of these ingredients, as well as the way the flavors interact with each other, will have you feeling like you’re drinking a fancy, incredibly elaborate cocktail at a five-star resort.
Making Watermelon Simple Syrup
A few other recipes call for making watermelon simple syrup which you can them pour into the copper mug with the rest of the ingredients. Watermelon simple syrup is essentially watermelon juice and sugar, so the end result will be a much stronger and much sweeter cocktail.
While this may up the ante in terms of making the drink more exciting, it does also have the effect of losing some of the subtleties of the drink; the watermelon’s natural sweetness is pushed way forward and amplified by the sugar, which comes at the expense of the drink’s more complex properties. Again, this comes down to personal preference; if you’re in the mood for something super sugary, go for it!
- Combine 2 cups seedless watermelon and 1 cup of sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Use a potato masher (or another similarly blunt utensil) to mash the watermelon and sugar together, making sure to push out the liquid and dissolve the sugar.
- Simmer for around five minutes, stirring often.
- Pour the mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl. Press the watermelon to extract all the liquid. Set aside to cool completely.
Watermelon Flavored Vodka
The traditional Moscow Mule is made with unflavored vodka, but if you really want to amp up your cocktail’s watermelon-y properties, you have the option of using watermelon-flavored vodka!
Some might consider this redundant as the drink already has watermelon in it, but this is actually a good way to really increase the watermelon flavor without losing any of the drink’s subtler qualities; most watermelon-flavored vodka isn’t overwhelmingly sweet or watermelon-forward, so you’re just adding a little bit of extra flair to your drink.
If you’re interested in watermelon-flavored vodka, a good one to try is Smirnoff Watermelon Vodka. The famous vodka maker has been around for a long time and built a reputation for themselves by making a reliably good product, and their watermelon-flavored vodka is no exception.
Another good option is Ivanabitch Watermelon Vodka, a very smooth and very fruity product. Three Olives Watermelon vodka is a tangy, delicious vodka that is fairly smooth while still having a bit of a kick to it, while Burnett’s Watermelon is a very potent vodka with a subtle watermelon flavoring. Any of these would make a great addition to your Watermelon Moscow Mule, bringing the watermelon taste further to the forefront while not overwhelming your cocktail with sweetness.
There you have it - everything you need to know to make the perfect Watermelon Moscow Mule! Once you have the recipe down, consider upping your cocktail game with some authentic copper Moscow Mule mugs!