moscow mules (recipe and bar gear)

moscow mule in copper mugs
make a moscow mule: one for you, one for him

While in Charleston I stopped by one of my favorite watering holes, The Rarebit, for a Moscow mule, their signature cocktail served in brilliant copper mugs (recipe below). The Moscow mule is a vodka-based adult beverage with spicy ginger beer, topped with tangy lime juice and poured over heaps of crushed ice. It’s kind of like a date night compromise, straddling the line between being manly (a copper mug, yo!) yet not as bitter or strong as a dark beer or a Manhattan. I love them.

I went to the Rarebit alone. The hubby took the kids to the Aquarium so that I could do a “photo walk” using my new camera, which really in the end meant that I just kept dropping in and out of restaurants, ordering food and photographing them with the pretense that I was “practicing” photography. When the hubby found out later that I’d spent a good half-hour idling about with a Moscow mule, he was grumpy. “Did you know you’ve been there like, five times, and I’ve never been there ever?”

I did not know that. And I was sorry for that. But I did not regret my alone time, nor my Moscow mule.

bar essentials for a moscow mule
1. moscow mule copper mug, $13 // 2. food52 animal drink stirrers $22 (set of 10) // 3. pier 1 wood slice coaster, $4 // 4. Rosle Zester, $32 // 5. South Carolina Blenheim’s Ginger Ale, $26 (Case of 24) // 6. Typographer’s Seersucker Napkins, $34 (set of 4)

That being said, I figured that for Valentine’s Day this year I’ll make him a couple of Moscow mules at home to make it up to him. It’s not a hard drink to make, and I’m always scratching my head for gift ideas for him. I’ve put together some suggestions above on how to recreate a fun Valentine’s Day gift basket with all the essentials for making a Moscow mule cocktail hour for your special man friend (or lady lover, as it were). I’ve also included a way-too-easy recipe below for the perfect Moscow mule. While I recommend using the South Carolina-produced Blenheim’s Ginger Ale, a longtime favorite of mine since I was a kid, you can use any ginger beer using real ginger (note that Schweppe’s, which is probably what everyone thinks of first when it comes to ginger ale, no longer uses real ginger in their version, and that is a crying shame).

the rarebit in charleston's chicken and waffles and menu
Left: the chicken and waffles at the rarebit are served with a glossy sorghum syrup; right: the menu includes classics such as patty melts, po’ boys and other can’t-miss sandwiches

As for the Rarebit, if you ever have a chance to go, you should. Their chicken and waffles are pretty fantastic. The breading on the chicken is really nice and crunchy, and the waffles have a good crisp/fluffy contrast going on. The syrup is infused with sorghum, and, like all good Southern breakfast dishes, there’s whipped butter.

Oh, great. Now I’m craving fried chicken. Um…yeah. I’ve gotta go deal with this situation now.

While I’m gone, here’s the recipe for the Moscow mule.

moscow mules

Time5 minutes
A tangy and spicy cocktail made into a party pleaser when served in brightly-colored copper mugs


  • 2 ounces good quality vodka
  • 5-7 ounces ginger beer
  • 1/2 ounce lime (about the juice from 1 lime)
  • lime zest
  • lots of crushed ice
  • copper mugs (optional)


  • Rinse copper mugs with cold water and fill 2/3rds of the way full with crushed ice.
  • Pour vodka over ice.
  • Add lime juice.
  • Add ginger beer and garnish with lime zest.
  • Serve immediately.


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About me

I’m Ann, a mom / wife / lawyer / certified culinary enthusiast. I share recipes, travel guides and home life tips while living overseas. Currently based in São Paulo, Brazil.

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