Tennessee Mule

If you have a bottle of Tennessee whiskey at home, you’ve got to try a Tennessee Mule cocktail. Made with spiced ginger beer and lime juice, this thirst-quenching Southern mule is a great way to celebrate whiskey from Tennessee.

A black copper mug with a honeycomb pattern sitting on a wood coaster.

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Tennessee Mule recipe

If you are looking for a totally crushable cocktail with a bit of complexity, you must try the Tennessee Mule.

It’s a riff on the classic Moscow mule, a vodka cocktail so named for the spirit’s homeland. Typically served in a copper mug, it mixes vodka with ginger beer and lime juice to make a refreshing drink.

In the Tennessee version, the name comes from substituting Tennessee whiskey for vodka.

More whiskey mule recipes: Irish MuleKentucky MuleApple Cider Mule

A black mule mug garnished with a lime wedge and a bottle of whiskey.

Why you’ll love this recipe

The Tennessee Mule is a unique spin on the Moscow mule that any whiskey lover will love:

  • This cocktail is light, refreshing and not overly boozy — perfect for beginning whiskey drinkers.
  • It’s a great way to use up Tennessee whiskey that might be on your bar cart.
  • Great for beginner mixologists, it is super easy to put together.
An overhead view of a cocktail with ice garnished with a lime wedge alongside mule ingredients.

What is a mule cocktail?

The traditional Moscow mule is an alcoholic cocktail made with an effervescent combination of vodka, lime juice and ginger beer. It’s an easy, quaffable drink that can be enjoyed year-round.

Though it’s called a “Moscow” mule, it’s actually an American drink. The name refers to the vodka, not its origin.

It is often served in a copper mug, but feel free to use a glass if you don’t have one handy!

The mule is a very versatile drink because you can make it in lots of different ways. There are so many variations to try.

  1. You can experiment with flavor. Try adding fruit flavors with juices, infused alcohol or flavored simple syrups. The blueberry mule, the strawberry mule and the yule mule are some of my favorites I’ve made.
  2. You can switch up the main spirit. That’s what we’re doing here with this gin mule. I’ve also made the Mexican Mule with tequila, the French mule with brandy and the Swedish Mule with aquavit.
Jack Daniels is poured into a black mule mug with a copper interior.

What is Jack Daniel’s?

Jack Daniel’s is a brand of whiskey made in Lynchburg, Tennessee by the Jack Daniel Distillery. The brand has been owned by Brown-Forman Corporation since 1956.

Their most popular is Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey, which is known for its rectangular bottle and black label. It has a warm, vanilla aroma. There’s also Gentleman Jack, the brand’s name for an 80-proof whiskey that’s twice charcoal-mellowed for added smoothness.

Jack Daniel’s also has several flavored whiskeys that would be so good in this cocktail, including:

  • Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, a honey whiskey
  • Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, a cinnamon whiskey
  • Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple, an apple-flavored whiskey.

Tennessee whiskey vs. Kentucky whiskey

Contrary to what you may think, Jack Daniel’s is not classified as a type of bourbon. It is referred to as “Tennessee Whiskey” due to its unique production process, falling under the category of sour mash whiskey.

Similar to bourbon, Jack Daniel’s is another type of whiskey. Both are American whiskeys, but several differences can be drawn between bourbon and Jack Daniel’s:

  1. They share the same production location. As per regulations, bourbon must be produced in the United States, and since Jack Daniel’s is crafted in Tennessee, it meets this requirement.
  2. Both spirits have specific proof limitations. Bourbon should not be distilled at more than 160 proof, while Jack Daniel’s emerges from the still at 140 proof.
  3. The mash bill compositions are different. Jack Daniel’s mash bill contains 80% corn, 8% rye, and 12% malted barley, while bourbon whiskeys must be made from at least 51% corn but may vary in other grains.
  4. Both are categorized as sour mash whiskeys, meaning they incorporate wet solids from a previous mash batch to ensure consistent fermentation.
  5. Their proof is similar, with both bourbon and Jack Daniel’s being bottled at no less than 80 proof or 40% alcohol by volume.
  6. Additionally, they share the practice of aging in new, charred oak barrels.

However, the key distinguishing feature between Jack Daniel’s and bourbon lies in an additional step taken by Jack Daniel’s after distillation: charcoal mellowing, AKA the “Lincoln County Process.” During this process, the whiskey is filtered through 10-foot stacks of sugar maple charcoal, effectively removing impurities and reducing the taste of corn.

A Tennessee Mule sits on a wooden coaster next to two copper straws and limes.

Tools & glassware

You don’t need special equipment for the Tennessee Mule.

A jigger helps measure the ingredients and a citrus squeezer is ideal for getting the most out of the lime juice.

Mules are usually served in copper mugs, which keep them ice cold. They’re not a must-have, though — feel free to use a rocks glass or highball glass instead if it’s what you have.

But if you’re a mule lover, it might be time to invest in some mule mugs! Here are some of my favorites:

a can of gosling's ginger beer with a piece of ginger beer and a piece of ginger root on a green tea towel

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make a Tennessee Mule at home:

Tennessee whiskey: Jack Daniel’s is the most well-known brand of Tennessee whiskey. If you want to branch out, Uncle Nearest is a delicious, black-owned brand worth trying. But whatever you do, don’t use Kentucky bourbon. It’s not the same.

Ginger beer: This fizzy, non-alcoholic beverage is 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 sweeter here if you like. Check out my list of the best brands of ginger beer to help you decide on a spice level that’s right for you. You can substitute ginger ale, but it will be sweeter.

Lime juice: I always recommend fresh lime juice if you have it 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 fresh limes. Lemon juice works in a pinch.

Ice cubes: Use whatever ice you have! Crushed ice makes this drink even colder, but regular ice works great.

Garnishes: You can use a lime wedge, lime wheel or lime twist to finish off this great cocktail. You can also add a small bouquet of fresh mint. 

Two cocktails with ice next to a bottle of Tennessee whiskey and limes.

Variations and substitutions

Try one of these variations on this recipe:

Kentucky Mule: Make your mule with bourbon whiskey instead of Tennessee whiskey.

Scottish Mule: Substitute scotch whisky instead of Tennessee whiskey for a Scotch mule.

Irish Mule: Use any Irish whiskey instead for an Irish version.

Non-alcoholic mule: Use a zero-proof spirit such as Ritual whiskey alternative.

Frozen Tennessee Mule: Freeze some ginger beer ice cubes and blend them with lime juice and Jack to make a frozen version. See this frozen mule recipe for full instructions.

Jello Shots: Make mule jello shots with Tennessee whiskey for a fun party treat.

Lime juice is poured into a black mule mug from a cocktail jigger.

How to make a Tennessee Mule

Here’s how to make this Tennessee whiskey mule recipe:

  1. In a mule mug filled with ice, add the Tennessee whiskey and lime juice. Stir gently.
  2. Top with ginger beer.
  3. Garnish with fresh lime.

Got leftover Jack? Use it to make a Lynchburg Lemonade or a whiskey & Coke.

Tips & tricks

Here are some tips and tricks for making this recipe:

  • Use a copper mug or other metal mug to keep the drink ice cold.
  • Add the ginger beer last so that it can bubble and foam to the top.
  • Drop in the spent lime shells for extra lime flavor.
A mule cocktail next to two limes.

What to serve with a Tennessee Mule

A Tennessee mule would be delicious with some Southern fare.

Try Memphis pulled pork sandwiches or Nashville hot chicken with black-eyed pea salad.

You could also enjoy it with pulled pork tacos or Southern cheese straws.

And if you wind up with leftover whiskey, you can use it to make a Jack & Coke or a whiskey ginger.

FAQ

What is the Tennessee mule?

A Tennessee mule is a cocktail made with ginger beer, lime juice and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. It is based off of the Moscow mule cocktail, which is traditionally made with vodka though it can be made with most hard liquors.

What whiskey is good for mules?

You can make a Moscow Mule with any whiskey. If you use bourbon, it’s called a Kentucky Mule. The Scottish mule is made with scotch whisky. With Jack Daniel’s whiskey, it’s called a Tennessee Mule. The Irish mule is made with Irish whiskey. A Japanese mule or Tokyo mule is made with Japanese whisky. And a Canadian mule is made with Canadian rye whisky.

Ginger beer is poured into a copper mug with a bottle of Tennessee Whiskey behind.

More mule cocktails

Because the mule is so versatile, you can make it with many different spirits to enjoy different flavors:

The Mexican Mule is made with tequila or mezcal.

Spicy and sweet, the jalapeño mule gets a dash of jalapeño syrup or jalapeño tequila.

Made with ginger liqueur and sparkling wine, this champagne mule is a fun, bubbly twist.

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

An overhead view of a cocktail with ice garnished with a lime wedge alongside mule ingredients.

Tennessee Mule

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Use Tennessee whiskey to make a Tennessee Mule, a delicious and complex version of the vodka Moscow Mule.
5 from 1 vote
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ingredients

  • 2 ounces Tennessee whiskey such as Jack Daniel’s or Uncle Nearest
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • 4 to 6 ounces ginger beer
  • lime wedge for garnish

instructions

  • Fill a mule mug filled with ice.
  • Add whiskey and lime juice.
  • Top with ginger beer. Stir gently.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge.

notes

  • Use a copper mug or other metal mug to keep the drink ice cold.
  • Add the ginger beer last so that it can bubble and foam to the top.
  • Drop in the spent lime shells for extra lime flavor.

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 cocktail

amount per serving:

Serving: 1oz Calories: 194kcal Carbohydrates: 17g Sodium: 9mg Sugar: 16g
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