The 5 Best Vodka For Moscow Mule Options [Copper Cup Not Included]

December 6, 2022
by Dan Skewes

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The Moscow Mule is a lesser-known but gorgeous cocktail for those who enjoy vodka-infused flavors.

Said to be invented in the 1940s by John Martin and John Morgan (the latter being the owner of the LA tavern "Cock and Bull," this cocktail mixes together vodka, ginger beer, a copper cup, and lime to taste!

While it might not be the most popular cocktail in today's world, it is a certified classic and a great example of how much you can do with just a few ingredients. 

So then, you want to mix up some Moscow Mules, but you have some questions! Since vodka is the main ingredient in this cocktail, you're probably wondering what the best type to get is!

If you're wondering about this - don't panic! You've come to the right place! 

In this article, we're going to be taking you five of the best types of vodka that you can use in your next Moscow Mule cocktail.

We've also made sure to include an extensive buyer's guide to explain our choices, as well as a short FAQ to help answer any questions you may have left over at the end. 

So let's grab our cocktail shakers and get right into it!

The 5 Best Vodka For Moscow Mule 

We've rounded up the best vodka options on the market for your next Moscow Mule party. Check them out!

Best Overall 

Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka (40% ABV)

Since one of the creators of this vodka (John Martin) was an executive of the legendary vodka brand Smirnoff, we thought we'd start with something that links back to our cocktail's origins.

Smirnoff is known to be one of the world's favorite vodkas, and No. 21 here is a great example of why. 

It is triple distilled and filtered 10 times using the company's multiple-column filtration system, which gives it its distinctively smooth texture and dry finish.

Even though it's on the cheaper end of the vodkas on this list, you can still taste distinct flavors, but nothing is so heavy that it will detract from the other ingredients within your Moscow Mule cocktail. It also pairs well with lime, which can be a great accompaniment to the cocktail. 

The main downside of this vodka is that it doesn't do anything unique, and the chances are if you've had vodka before then there won't be anything surprising about it.

However, as a vodka to mix with other ingredients, it offers you a lot of versatility, and you won't be disappointed at its price point. 

  • Brand: Smirnoff is a recognized brand for a reason, with distinct flavors at a low price point.
  • Finish: Dry, easy finish, which makes it easier on your throat. 
  • Triple Distilled: For additional smoothness, making it great for a Moscow Mule 
  • Versatility: Useable for a long list of different cocktails and drinks outside of the one in question. 
  • Uniqueness: Not the most unique vodka on the market, lacks distinctive tastes. 

Grey Goose Vodka (40% ABV)

For our "Best Overall" vodka, we couldn't choose between Smirnoff and this next one - so we decided to add them both so you can decide for yourself.

Grey Goose vodka is another worldwide favorite, known for its crisp flavor and reliability when it comes to all kinds of different cocktails.

It is the simplicity of Grey Goose that makes it such a great pick. 

The origin of this vodka is France, and the creators have taken as much care with this vodka as you'd expect to find in any common french wine.

It is derived from a high grade of wheat and limestone-filtered spring water to create a noticeably smooth taste and a few distinct flavors including hints of almond.

Grey Goose has specific flavors without being too overbearing, which makes it a perfect vodka to use in the Moscow Mule cocktail.

One downside here is that it's a little more expensive than the Smirnoff No. 21 we listed above, but some would argue it has a more distinct taste.

Which one of our 'Best Overall' that you end up picking will likely come down to personal preference, but we would recommend trying either if you want something reliable and easy to love.

  • Notes: Hints of almond give it a unique, but understated flavor.
  • Smoothness: A very smooth vodka that makes it compliment perfectly lime and ginger beer.
  • Versatility: Also pairs well with a lot of other vodkas.
  • On The Rocks: Probably one of the smoothest vodkas to drink on the rocks. 
  • No real cons with this one, whether you like it or not will come down to your personal tastes. 

Best Japanese Vodka

Haku Japanese Vodka (40% ABV)

Japanese vodkas offer slightly different tastes at similar prices as other bottles on the market.

We've decided to go with Haku Japanese Vodka as the next bottle on our list, to show the different array of vodkas you have at your disposal.

Haku vodka is a craft vodka that comes from the House of Suntory.

 Its name 'Haku' comes from the Japanese word for 'white' and is used to indicate the white rice base of this drink.

The House of Suntory has been making vodka for over 60 years and is always made with a lot of care and attention to detail.

The base of this vodka comes from 100% white rice and is created with a 3-step distillation system.

If you pick up a bottle of Haku vodka, expect a smooth and sweet flavor that compliments the other ingredients of the Moscow Mule.

It is probably the sweetest vodka on our list, but that works really well with the lime and ginger beer to create a cocktail that has some added sweetness. 

  • Sweetness: If you're looking for a sweeter kind of vodka, then this is the perfect bottle for you.
  • Rice Base: The white rice base of this vodka gives you a unique flavor. 
  • Hand-Crafted: This vodka is the result of a meticulous process to hone its flavor and texture. 
  • Versatility: Because of its unique flavor, it might not go so well with other cocktails, but does work very well in different variations of the Moscow Mule. 

Best Wheat Vodka

Tito's Handmade Vodka (40% ABV)

Wheat might not seem like the most obvious choice for vodka, but this bottle from Tito's is an incredible option for cocktails.

Founded by texas native Tito Beveridge, this is a vodka that started as a grass-roots project and has grown in popularity ever since.

Taking inspiration from fine single malt scotches, this vodka acts as a perfect base for the Moscow Mule due to its simplistic taste and batch-specific attention to detail. 

One of the best things is the size options you have available, as you can buy bottles in either 1.75L, 750ml, 375ml, 200ml, or 50ml sizes depending on how much you're looking to get.

It's also worth noting that his vodka is certified gluten-free, which although might be expected for finely distilled vodka, is nice to know if you suffer from an allergy! 

  • Quality: Each batch is tested for taste.
  • Distillation Process: Distilled using old-school copper pot stills, which pair well with the Moscow Mule Cocktail.
  • Size Options: Choose from a variety of different sizes to suit your needs.
  • Versatility: Made to pair well with a variety of different cocktails, making it a safe bet if you're not sure what flavors you like. 
  • Flavors: Not the most unique in terms of flavor, so if you're looking to experiment you won't find anything surprising. 

Most Adventurous 

Pinnacle Citrus Vodka (35% ABV)

Looking to create a really sweet version of the Moscow Mule? This can be done by simply adding Citrus-infused vodka to the mix.

This vodka by Pinnacle is a great choice if you're looking to add some additional flavor to your cocktail. 

It has a slightly lower alcohol percentage than the other vodkas on this list, and as a result, is a lot easier down the hatch!

It balances lemon flavors with a distinct citrus finish to create a sweet vodka that isn't so harsh as others.

It's a great match for a variety of different cocktails and can be the perfect small twist to spice up your Moscow Mule. 

The downside is that it will transform your cocktail into something that differs from the original.

How big of a problem this will be for you will depend massively on your personal tastes, but is probably worth a try if you want to experiment! 

  • Lemon Flavor: For somebody who enjoys additional sweetness in their cocktail.
  • Distinct Aroma: Distinct aroma of lemon-lime zest can transform the normal vodka flavors into something different. 
  • Smooth Taste: Lower alcohol percentage makes it much easier to drink straight than other vodkas.
  • Sweetness: This might be too much to add to a Moscow Mule if you're looking for a dry flavor. You'll probably want to go light on the lime to avoid overloading the cocktail with sweet flavors. 

Buyer's Guide

So that was our list of the 5 best vodkas to use as part of the Moscow Mule cocktail, but it's not the end of the story.

When shopping in stores or online, you're going to want to make your own choices to decide which vodka is right for you.

So that's why we've created this extensive buyer's guide, to help guide you through some of the most important things to keep in mind when searching for the perfect vodka.

Providing you keep in mind these facets, you're likely going to be able to find something that will be perfect for your next Moscow Mule creation. 


Why is distillation so important for vodka? Well, that's mostly because it affects how smooth the liquid ends up being.

When looking for the best vodkas out there, you'll likely see phrases such as 'triple distilled' which means that it has been distilled multiple times to create a smoother texture.

As vodka is quite a strong type of alcohol, some people prefer smoother blends as it makes them much easier to drink. 


Gone are the days when there are only a few flavor options for vodka. Now you can get all kinds of different flavors infused into the bottle you're picking up.

For the purpose of creating the perfect Moscow Mule, we would generally suggest picking up vodka with a few simple notes, as this will stop your cocktail from transforming into something different, however, you can always experiment and try a more adventurous vodka to add your own twist to this classic cocktail recipe. 


Okay, so let's say you've never made a Moscow Mule before and you want to see how it tastes. You buy a bottle of vodka specifically for it, taste it - and it's not for you!

Well in this case, you might end up with a bottle of vodka you don't like all that much, not knowing what to do with it.

 For this reason, it can be great to buy simple vodka that goes with a lot of different cocktails.

If you want to see examples of these, scroll or swipe back up to our 'best overall' section to see some of the most simplistic and popular vodkas that have insane versatility. 

Base Ingredients 

Different bases mean different flavors. One of the main problems you'll encounter when looking at cheaper vodkas is additives that will ruin the overall flavor of your cocktail.

 You're going to want to choose a vodka that has been derived from a simple base ingredient such as wheat, potato, or rice.

If you go with these and make sure to avoid any chemical additives, you're likely to find something with a distinct flavor. 


Are you looking to make multiple cocktails? Or do you just want to try out a Moscow Mule for the first time?

If you're experimenting with this cocktail and want to find out what vodka works best for you, make sure to search for smaller bottle sizes. 

Not all companies offer these, but the worst thing would be to buy a big, expensive bottle of vodka and find it not to your liking.

Any time you're trying something new, we'd suggest going with the smallest size you can find. 

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! That was a list of the 5 best vodkas on the market for the Moscow Mule, as well as an extensive buyers guide to help you choose the best one for your next cocktail.

We hope that this guide has taken you through everything you wanted to know about the options you have available and that you're not a lot more confident about choosing the right vodka. 

If you still have some questions, make sure to check out our short Frequently Asked Questions sections below.

We wish you the best of luck in your next cocktail creation and hope that the vodka you pick is the perfect match!

Frequently Asked Questions

Keep reading for a few common FAQs answered below.

How Important Is A Copper Mug For A Moscow Mule?

The Moscow Mule cocktail was originally created with a copper mug as the container of choice.

This is said to give it additional flavor, as the metallic nature of the mug adds to the flavors of ice, ginger beer, and sweet lime.

The truth is that you don't have to use a copper mug, but it's a good choice if you have one available.

One of the best things about a copper mug is that it helps to keep the temperature ice-cold. 

Where Does  The Moscow Mule Get Its Name From?

While the origins of this cocktail's name are not completely known, we can work it out by taking a look at the ingredients.

First off, the 'Moscow' part of the name is clearly a reference to the vodka base, which is a famous Russian drink.

The 'Mule' section of the name most likely comes from the kick of the ginger and lime mixed together, as mules are well known to kick out if agitated. 

How Is Vodka Made?

This isn't the easiest question to answer as each vodka brand has its own specific techniques to create its unique flavors.

That said, vodka has traditionally been made by using some kind of grain, which is then mixed with water and heated. 

During this mixing process, yeast is added to initiate fermentation. The sugars in the mixture begin to convert to alcohol.

After this, the mixture is distilled and filtered to create a clear liquid that is smooth and easy to drink.

Additional flavors are usually determined by the distillation process, and other added ingredients or methods. 

Is Vodka Healthy?

With all alcoholic beverages, there are bound to be some health concerns.

Because of vodka's minimal ingredients and intense distillation processes, it can often be seen as healthier than other kinds of alcohol.

That said, most vodkas have an ABV of 40%, and this high alcohol content can be dangerous when consumed frequently, or in high volumes.

You might also be interested in: The 9 Best Canadian Whiskeys to Taste in 2022

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