What is in a Moscow Mule cocktail syrup?

A Moscow Mule is a popular cocktail made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, typically served in a copper mug. The key ingredient that gives the Moscow Mule its signature flavor is the ginger beer, which provides a spicy, ginger kick. While Moscow Mules can be made by mixing freshly squeezed lime juice with ginger beer and vodka, many bars and home mixologists now use pre-made Moscow Mule cocktail syrup to simplify preparation. But what exactly is in these commercial Moscow Mule syrups? Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients that provide that distinctive Moscow Mule taste.

Primary Ingredients

The primary ingredients in Moscow Mule cocktail syrup are:


Ginger is the essential ingredient that gives Moscow Mules their signature flavor. Moscow Mule syrup contains substantial amounts of freshly grated ginger root or ginger juice to provide that spicy, gingery taste. The ginger adds both heat and flavor to the drink.


Moscow Mule syrup contains sugar, usually in the form of simple syrup. Simple syrup is just equal parts sugar and water boiled together until the sugar dissolves. The sugar balances out the tartness from the lime and the heat from the ginger. Simple syrup also helps incorporate the ginger and lime flavors.

Lime Juice

Freshly squeezed lime juice is another key component of Moscow Mule syrup. The bright, tart lime adds citrus notes and balances the sweetness of the sugar. Lime juice is typically the third primary ingredient after ginger and sugar.

Secondary Ingredients

In addition to the big three ingredients, Moscow Mule syrup may contain some secondary flavors:


Some Moscow Mule syrups incorporate mint, which adds a fresh herbaceous note. The mint brightens up the flavor and aromatics of the syrup.


Spices like cinnamon are sometimes added to Moscow Mule syrups. The cinnamon adds warmth and complexity to the traditional Moscow Mule flavors.


Lemongrass can provide subtle citrus and floral flavors to complement the lime juice in Moscow Mule syrup. The lemongrass adds depth and an exotic twist.


Some Moscow Mule syrups include vanilla extract or vanilla beans. The vanilla adds a rich, creamy nuance that balances the other ingredients.

Preparation Methods

There are a few common preparation methods used to make commercial Moscow Mule cocktail syrup:

Cold Mixing

Many Moscow Mule syrups are prepared using a cold mixing method. The ginger root is juiced or pulverized and then steeped in simple syrup for several hours or overnight. This extracts the ginger flavor without heat. The lime juice is then added and thoroughly incorporated.


Some syrups are made by simmering grated ginger root in simple syrup for 15-30 minutes. The mixture is then strained to remove the ginger solids. Lime juice is added once the ginger simple syrup has cooled. Simmering helps extract the full flavor of the ginger.


For an extra gingery kick, some Moscow Mule syrups are fermented. The ginger is blended with sugar water and lime, then allowed to ferment for 1-2 weeks. The fermentation process develops robust, complex ginger flavors.

Flavored Variations

While traditional Moscow Mule syrup contains ginger, lime, and sugar, flavored variations are also popular. Some flavored Moscow Mule syrup flavors include:

Cranberry Moscow Mule Syrup

Made with cranberries and ginger, this imparts a tart, fruity flavor.

Pomegranate Moscow Mule Syrup

Pomegranate adds berry notes and a gorgeous red hue.

Blood Orange Moscow Mule Syrup

Blood orange juice provides a juicy, citrus twist.

Spicy Moscow Mule Syrup

Chile peppers or extra ginger amp up the heat.

Herbal Moscow Mule Syrup

Herbs like rosemary, thyme, or sage infuse the syrup with earthy aromatics.

Cucumber Moscow Mule Syrup

For a cool, refreshing Moscow Mule with the delicate flavor of cucumber.

Nutritional Profile

The primary ingredients in Moscow Mule syrup – ginger, lime juice, and sugar – make the syrup low in fat, cholesterol free, and high in vitamin C:

Nutrient Per 1 oz Serving
Calories 53
Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Sodium 2 mg
Carbohydrates 13 g
Sugar 12 g
Protein 0 g
Vitamin C 5 mg

The main nutritional considerations come from the high sugar content. There are about 12 grams of sugar in a 1 ounce serving of Moscow Mule syrup. When mixing cocktails, this equates to about 1 gram of sugar per 1/2 ounce of syrup. From a calorie perspective, a Moscow Mule made with 1 ounce of Moscow Mule syrup adds about 50 calories from the syrup alone. Those watching their sugar intake may want to use the syrup sparingly.

Shelf Life

When stored properly, Moscow Mule syrup will generally last 2-4 weeks after opening. To extend the shelf life, the syrup should be refrigerated and kept tightly sealed. The lime juice in particular can go bad quickly when exposed to air and light. Look for changes in color or flavor, as the syrup may start to taste bitter if the lime juice goes off. For longest shelf life, store Moscow Mule syrup in the refrigerator and use within 1 month of opening.

Cocktail Uses

While Moscow Mule syrup was formulated specifically for Moscow Mules, it can also be used creatively in a variety of other cocktails. Consider using Moscow Mule syrup in:

Moscow Mule Variations

– Try different base spirits like rum, tequila, or bourbon

– Use ginger beers with different flavors or levels of spice

– Top with ginger ale instead of ginger beer

– Float cranberry juice or blood orange juice

– Garnish with mint, cucumber, or seasonal berries

Mule Muddlers

Substitute Moscow Mule syrup into any classic “Mule” cocktail

– Dark ‘n Stormy: Moscow Mule syrup with dark rum and ginger beer

– Mexican Mule: Moscow Mule syrup with tequila, ginger beer, lime

– London Mule: Moscow Mule syrup with gin, ginger beer, lime

Citrus Cocktails

Replace plain syrup with Moscow Mule syrup in:

– Margaritas

– Daiquiris

– Mojitos

– Tom Collins

– Whiskey Sours

Spicy Cocktails

Add some ginger zing to:

– Bloody Mary’s

– Palomas

– Chili Pepper Margaritas

– Watermelon Jalapeño Smash

Holiday Cocktails

Use Moscow Mule syrup to add seasonal flavors to:

– Cranberry Vodka Cocktails

– Hot Buttered Rum with a Ginger Twist

– Apple Cider Moscow Mules

– Pumpkin Spice Mule


Moscow Mule cocktail syrup infuses drinks with the classic Moscow Mule flavors of ginger, lime and a hint of sweetness. The primary ingredients are ginger root, lime juice, and sugar, mixed together using cold blending, simmering, or fermentation to draw out the robust ginger taste. While traditional Moscow Mule syrup has a simple ingredient list, flavored variations open up possibilities for creativity. The syrup can be used on its own in Moscow Mules, substituted into a wide range of cocktails, or experimented with in seasonal holiday drinks. With its bright, gingery flavor profile, Moscow Mule syrup makes a versatile addition to any home or professional bar.

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