24 January 2018

Skinny Moscow Mule Recipe (With or Without Alcohol)

You can't scroll through Facebook or Pinterest without seeing those famous copper mugs.  Now you can make a skinny moscow mule cocktail or mocktail.  

When I started seeing moscow mules pop up, I will admit that I'd never heard of the drink.  I used to waitress in a bar and people would order some obscure drinks, but that was never one of them.  I looked up the recipe, and it sounded good except for the calories.

A regular moscow mule has ginger beer, lime juice, and vodka.  Ginger beer isn't actually a beer; it's a carbonated drink that's made when ginger, yeast, and sugar ferment.  It's naturally sweetened, but it can have up to 130 calories per eight ounces.  

Luckily, it's easy to swap out the ginger beer without sacrificing taste.  I'm using ginger flavored sparkling water and green tea in place of the ginger beer.  Ginger flavored sparkling water can be hard to find.  You can also use regular or diet ginger ale if you can't find the sparkling water, although regular ginger ale won't save you many calories.

Vodka has about 60 calories per ounce.  You can omit the vodka completely for a mocktail, or you can just use a little less to save some calories.

Moscow mules are served in their signature copper cups for a few reasons.  The first is for the flavor.  The copper is said to bring out the tastes of the ginger, vodka, and lime.  The vodka reacts with the copper and makes the side of the cup oxidize, which enhances the taste of the vodka.  When copper gets cold, it makes the drink fizz more.  The extra cold mug is supposed to help the lime juice taste more citrus-y, which complements the ginger better.

Copper cups take on the temperature of the drink served in them.  This helps insulate the drink, keeping it colder.  The handle keeps your body heat away from the drink so it doesn't lower the temperature.  Copper also helps insulate the drink inside the mug.  

After I used the mugs and saw how cold they kept my drink, I bought a set of 6 tumblers for the kids to use.  They will be perfect cups to take outside this summer while we are swimming.  They keep drinks colder, and they won't break on the patio.  


Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from sales.


  • 1 cup ginger flavored sparkling water or ginger ale (regular or diet) or 
  • 1/2 cup vodka (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chilled green tea
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • lime slices
  • ice



Mix the vodka, green tea, lime juice, and ginger.  Pour in moscow mule mug filled with ice.


Top with ginger ale.  


Garnish with lime slice if desired.  You can also add a sprig of fresh mint if you have it.

print recipe

Skinny Moscow Mule
Reduce calories with this skinny version of a moscow mule.
  • 1 cup ginger flavored sparkling water
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup chilled green tea
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 cup ice
1. Mix the vodka, green tea, lime juice, and ginger. Pour in moscow mule mug filled with ice. 2. Top with ginger ale. 3. Garnish with lime slice if desired. You can also add a sprig of fresh mint if you have it.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield:
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Cari Dunn
Cari Dunn

Cari lives on a small farm in Ohio with her husband, three kids, two dogs, two cats, five goats, several chickens, and homing pigeons. She loves Gilmore Girls, coffee, and her kids. Not in that order.