The French Mule is a refreshing, cognac-based cocktail with ginger beer and lime juice. Serve it alongside your favorite French pastries for a francophile treat!
Ooh, la la! I’m so excited to be sharing today’s recipe for a French Mule.
Has anyone else recently finished a binge-watch of the new season of Emily in Paris?
It took me right back to my French class days. (Though I feel like my high school & college French classes would have prepared me much better for life in France.)
Emily certainly is living out a dream of mine — the show makes me want to stock up on croissants and champagne so I can pretend I’m in Paris too!
French cocktails are another avenue to pretending you’re dining along the Champs Élysées. This Elderflower French 75 always gets me in the mood, and so does anything with French cognac.
This French Mule is a new favorite cocktail, combining one of my favorite drinks — the Moscow Mule cocktail — with brandy.
What is a Moscow Mule?
The French mule is based on a Moscow mule, which is an easy-to-make, 3-ingredient classic cocktail.
The classic Moscow mule recipe calls for vodka, lime juice and ginger beer.
Moscow mule cocktails are usually served in copper mugs called “Moscow mule mugs.” They are usually copper or copper-coated metal, but either way — they keep the drink ice cold.
The mule is also a very versatile drink because you can make it in lots of different ways. Try using adding fruit flavors with juices, alcohol or simple syrup.
The pear mule, the apple cider mule and the yule mule (made with cranberry juice or pomegranate juice) are always big hits whenever I serve them to friends. I also really enjoyed this pumpkin spice mule I made in the fall — the pumpkin spice syrup was a perfect pairing with spicy ginger beer.
You can also easily switch up the main spirit like we do in the French mule recipe. For example, this applejack mule uses apple brandy for a fall twist.
French Mule recipe
I’ve long been a devotée to the Moscow mule, which gets its name from vodka. (It was actually invented in a hotel in New York City.)
However, the name and recipe can be easily tweaked by varying the spirit! For example, the Kentucky mule, for example, is made with bourbon, and the Irish mule brings in Irish whiskey. There are tons more ways you can make a Moscow mule.
For this French Moscow mule variation, brandy and cognac are the perfect French movie stars for the role, with the sweet fruit liqueur pairing beautifully with the ginger and lime. C’est très délicieux!
When to serve it
You can enjoy a French mule on hot summer days, and its ice-cold refreshment will be so welcome! But you can enjoy it year-round, too.
Serve it up with French chocolates, chocolate covered strawberries and pastries for a Valentine’s Day celebration (or Galentine’s Day!).
Or simply serve one up next time you’re craving a French film. Amélie and Chocolat are two favorites of mine!
Whatever you decide, consider throwing on a beret… for me? Maybe put on some Carla Bruni music?
You’ll only need three basic ingredients for a brandy Moscow mule, so that means they need to be high quality!
Ginger beer is a fizzy, non-alcoholic beverage made from fermented ginger. I prefer the flavor of a spicy ginger beer, which has more of a zing of ginger, but you can go milder here if you like.
Some people prefer less ginger spice, and that is totally okay if you are one of them. Check out my list of the best ginger beer brands to help you decide on a brand with a spice level that’s right for you.
Bundaberg and Powell & Mahoney are my favorite ginger beer brands at the moment, but Fever-Tree ginger beer and Q ginger beer are also popular brands.
Ginger ale is a ginger-flavored soda and is much sweeter than ginger beer, and it lacks some of that fresh ginger flavor. However, you can make a mule with ginger ale if you prefer or if you don’t have ginger beer on hand.
Fresh lime juice
I always recommend using fresh lime juice when you’re mixing cocktails. For the best Moscow mule, that’s true too!
Please use fresh limes if you have them on hand, but feel free to use a good quality lime concentrate. I use one of these citrus squeezers to get the most juice out of my limes.
I like to drop the spent shell of the lime into the copper cups to infuse more zesty lime flavor into my mule drinks.
You are also welcome to use lemon juice. That might make it feel more French, honestly!
Brandy is a fruit-based spirit that is made by fermenting fruit juices or wine. It is typically enjoyed as an after-dinner digestif, but it can be enjoyed in cocktails as well, such as the brandy alexander and the sidecar. It’s kind of underrated if you ask me!
Cognac is a specific type of brandy that is made from distilled white wine. Smoother and more complex, the French say it’s made from l’eau de vie AKA “the water of life.” As such, it’s a protected type of brandy and must follow certain requirements to bear the name “cognac” on the label.
My advice is always to use the best brandy you can afford. In fact, that’s my go-to advice for any cocktail!
Brandy has different designations for the age of the brandy used in the bottle. V.S. (which means “very special”) and V.S.O.P. (which means “very superior old pale”) are aged for two and four years respectively, and both are good choices for cocktail mixing.
Brandy that’s been aged any longer and the price tag goes up. Way up, sometimes. You may want to opt for a brandy snifter over a Moscow mule mug to save the really expensive stuff for an intense after-dinner conversation!
Ice is always an important cocktail ingredient, especially in a simple cocktail like this one.
I prefer to use crushed ice in mule cocktail recipes because it keeps the copper mugs ice cold, but regular ice cubes will work just fine.
How to make a French mule
You can pull off this easy French mule cocktail in just a few steps. With only a few ingredients, you’ll be sipping it in no time at all.
First, take your copper mule mug and fill it with plenty of ice, crushed or cubes. Also, you don’t have to use a copper mug at all. A rocks glass or highball glass will be great! Just use what you have on hand.
Add the brandy. Top with lime juice. If you’re using a fresh lime, you can drop in the spent shell. The zest of the lime will add extra citrus bite as the drink infuses.
To finish, top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge or lime wheel, and serve alongside your favorite French pastries.
A pretty paper straw or fresh mint sprigs are also lovely garnishes.
Mule recipes from around the world
Because the mule is so versatile, you can make it with many different spirits to enjoy different flavors. Try a Moscow mule recipe variation with spirits from around the world:
Smoky and smooth, the Mexican Mule is a fun twist that can be made with tequila or mezcal.
Depending on where your favorite gin is from, a gin-gin mule could be another type of French mule or you can call it an English mule!
But not all mule cocktails follow this nomenclature. The dark & stormy is the name for the mule made with rum!
More French cocktails
If you’re a francophile hankering for some more French drinks, I’ve got you!
Try a French 75, which is a classic champagne cocktail combining gin, champagne and lemon.
A Kir Royale is another lovely champagne drink, featuring raspberry liqueur.
Made with pureed strawberries, the strawberry mimosa would be lovely at a French-themed brunch.
Or make a French martini with pineapple juice, raspberry liqueur and your favorite vodka.
Let me know in the comments below if you try this French twist on the original Moscow mule! Leave a rating on the recipe if you love it.
- crushed ice
- 1 ½ ounce brandy or cognac
- 1 ounce lime juice (approximately half of a lime)
- 4-6 ounces ginger beer
- 1 lime wedge, for garnish
- Fill a copper mug or rocks glass with crushed ice.
- Add brandy and lime juice. (If using a fresh lime, drop in the spent shell.)
- Top with ginger beer.
- Garnish with a lime wedge.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 cocktail
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 283Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 13mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 2gSugar: 18gProtein: 1g