Honey Strawberry Kentucky Mule

April 26, 2022

Celebrate the warmer weather with a take on a classic refreshing cocktail. This one features a homemade strawberry-honey syrup and fresh muddled strawberries alongside the kentucky mule’s classic flavors of bourbon, ginger beer, and lime.

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I’m pretty obsessed with the entire mule family tree when it comes to cocktails, and that obsession tends to peak right around spring. So it was pretty natural to try to incorporate the springy flavors of strawberry and honey into one of my favorite beverages.

When designing this drink, it was also important that it was easy to create both a classic version with bourbon, and one that was zero-proof. Luckily, a mule makes itself pretty easy to be versatile while still tasting completely delicious and refreshing.

What You Need to Get Started

You can easily find all of the ingredients for this strawberry-honey kentucky mule at your local stores:

How to Make a Honey Strawberry Kentucky Mule

At its core, a kentucky mule is just a moscow mule that uses bourbon instead of vodka. That means that, just like its cousin, this kentucky mule is pretty simple to make. We can build it right in the classic copper mug. However, one feature that makes this one special is the honey-strawberry syrup.

So let’s make that first.

In a small saucepan, you are going to mix together honey, along with some water and strawberry jam. Cook this over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the honey and the jam into the water.

You don’t want to cook off the water, just let everything combine together. So, if the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat or temporarily remove from heat. Continue cooking until the syrup is smooth and uniform.

Once it’s ready, turn off the heat. Then, transfer your honey-strawberry syrup to a glass jar or dish to cool. I like to use mason jars, and this recipe makes the perfect amount for a half-pint jar. Loosely cover it while it’s set aside and cooling.

If you are planning ahead, the strawberry-honey syrup can be made in advance. Let it cool to room temperature first, and then store in a sealed jar in the fridge for a few days. It can be mixed into your cocktail right from the fridge.

The syrup itself is pretty heavy on the honey flavor, so to get a little more berry into this cocktail, we are also going to use fresh strawberries. I found that one medium-to-large berry per mug was about perfect, but use two if they are small.

Use your muddler or the flat back of a wooden spoon or spatula to mash up the strawberries along with a bit of the syrup. It’s okay if it’s not completely cooled yet, since you’ll be adding plenty of ice.

When muddling, you can really get that fruit mashed into a pulp or you can be gentle, leaving your berries nearly intact. I prefer somewhere in the middle, but this is definitely a part of the cocktail where you can experiment.

Once you are satisfied with the texture, mix in your bourbon. I used my go-to, Maker’s Mark, in this recipe. I always like the sweet and syrupy flavor it adds to cocktails. However, if you have your own favorite bourbon for mixing, feel free to try that as well. You can also use non-alcoholic whiskey.

Add some ice into your copper mug, filling it about halfway. You can add more later if needed. Then pour some ginger beer on top. Ginger beer is the essential mule ingredient, so we use plenty here. If you’re not a fan of the strong ginger flavor, you can try replacing it with ginger ale, but your drink will be much sweeter.

You can also play with the proportions here, especially if you want to make this drink zero-proof. You can simply omit the bourbon and then replace it with additional ginger beer or  soda water for a different take.

Use a bar spoon to give the drink a gentle stir, getting all that yummy strawberry, honey, and bourbon flavor mixed in throughout the ginger beer. At this point, your copper mug will be starting to get quite cold and frosty.

Finally, add just a small squeeze of lime juice. Not much is needed, so I suggest just using the amount you’d get out of a single wedge of lime. You can then add the juiced lime along with a fresh strawberry onto the edge of the mug for garnish.

Once mixed, the kentucky mule tastes best when enjoyed immediately. I suggest making these to serve and not preparing them in advance. If you absolutely need to mix them up ahead of time, such as if you are serving a crowd, don’t add the ice until just before drinking.

Add some zing into your spring by enjoying this twist on a classic cocktail! This kentucky mule features fresh strawberries and a honey strawberry syrup.

How to Serve a Kentucky Mule

A mule is one of those sitting-on-the-porch or sipping-at-a-barbecue types of drinks. The fizzy bite of the ginger beer and the way the copper mug keeps it super cold make for an ultra-refreshing cocktail. This kentucky mule with sweet bourbon and strawberries keeps it cozy enough for crisp spring days as well.

Definitely try serving up a round of these mules with some hors d’oeuvres, like kiwi and curry deviled eggs or vegan carrot ‘bacon’-wrapped water chestnuts. Or enjoy them with some simple desserts like lemon curd sandwich cookies.

The fruitiness of the strawberries can bring this drink back to breakfast hours as well. Make it a strawberry-themed brunch, or focus on the other flavors. Highlight bourbon with a classic apple tart, or ginger with a skillet plum buckle.

Use Up Leftover Ingredients

Honey Strawberry Kentucky Mule

A spring-summer take on the classic bourbon mule, this version features a strawberry honey syrup and fresh strawberries.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 mule
Calories: 202kcal

Ingredients

Strawberry Honey Syrup

  • ½ Cup Honey
  • ¼ Cup Water
  • 1 Tbsp Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Honey Kentucky Mule

  • 1-2 Strawberries hulled and quartered, plus 1-2 more for garnish
  • ½ oz Honey Strawberry Syrup
  • 1 ½ oz Bourbon
  • 4 oz Ginger Beer
  • squeeze Lime

Instructions

Strawberry Honey Syrup

  • In a small saucepan, combine the honey, water, and strawberry jam. Cook over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the honey and the jam. If the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat or temporarily remove from heat.
  • Continue until the syrup is smooth and uniform. Turn off the heat and transfer to a glass jar or dish to cool.

Strawberry Honey Kentucky Mule

  • In the bottom of a copper mule mug, muddle together the strawberries and syrup. Stir in the bourbon, then fill the mug about halfway with ice.
  • Top with the ginger beer and stir to combine. Add more ice as needed to fill the cup. Squeeze a lime wedge into the cocktail, and then place the lime wedge and a fresh strawberry on the rim as garnish.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Make ahead tips:
    • The strawberry honey syrup can be made in advance. Let it cool to room temperature, and then store in a sealed jar in the fridge for 3-4 days. It can be mixed into the cocktail cold.
    • The kentucky mule tastes best when made to serve. I do not recommend making these in advance.
  • Make it zero-proof: You can simply omit the bourbon, replace it with additional ginger beer, replace it with soda water, or replace it with non-alcoholic whiskey. 
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