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15 Best Bourbon for Kentucky Mule (2024 Updated Reviews)

Best Bourbons for Kentucky Mule

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Lydia Martin

More restaurants started to create innovative ways to drink bourbon as it became more popular in the world of spirits. While you can drink bourbon neat, one of the most fun ways to drink bourbon is as a Kentucky Mule. 

Keep scrolling to know what is the best bourbon for Kentucky Mule.

Top 15 Bourbons for Kentucky Mule

1. Buffalo Trace Eagle Rare Bourbon

Buffalo Trace Eagle Rare

Buffalo Trace Eagle Rare Bourbon is well-aged, low-proof, and affordable. It maintains its popularity as one of the world’s most popular premium American whiskeys. It has aromas of toffee, hints of orange peel, herbs, honey, and oak that greet the nose. 

We love the notes of candied almonds and rich cocoa, which were the first things we tasted.

2. Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit Bourbon (Best Bourbon for Kentucky Mule)

Bulleit Bourbon is produced at the Bulleit Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky. It is characterized by a high-rye content for a bourbon, which is responsible for its bold and spicy character. We love this bourbon’s distinctively clean and smooth finish with a lingering light toffee flavor. 

3. Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon

Elijah Craig Small Batch

Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon, aged from eight to twelve years, is the bourbon that has won numerous awards. It is delightfully complex with well-integrated vanilla, caramel, and toast notes. 

Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon is sweet on the palate with a spicy and lingering finish that entices you to keep coming back for more.

4. Evan Williams Black Label

Evan Williams Black Label

Evan Williams Black Label bourbons age from five to seven and bottled at 86 proof, resulting in a smooth, rich, and full of character bourbon. Its tasting notes are caramel, oak, and brown sugar with a medium to long finish. If you are searching for a fine bourbon at an affordable price, this might be the one for you.

5. Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

Four Roses Small Batch

The Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon has won numerous awards because it offers unique flavor characteristics. It is crisp yet smooth with fruity aromas and hints of pear and apple. It has a soft, mellow, and pleasantly long finish with an alcohol content of 45%. Here are the best Four Roses bourbon bottles we’ve tried

6. Hirsch Small Batch Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon


The Hirsch Small Batch Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon might be the one for you if you are looking for the best bourbon for Kentucky Mules. It has the right balance of rich flavor and a full body. 

It has notes of oak, vanilla, dates, cinnamon, and brown sugar. It also has a short but pleasant finish with touches of citrus and a little spice.

7. Jim Beam Black Label Extra-Aged

Jim Beam Black Label Extra-Aged

Formerly known as Jim Beam Double Aged, Jim Beam Black Label Extra-Aged is 86 proof and extra-aged, spending eight years in the barrel instead of four. It has a full-bodied flavor with a hint of spice and fruity touch. It also has a smooth finish with caramel, black pepper, and wood flavors. It has a slight burn.

8. Knob Creek Bourbon

Knob Creek Bourbon

Knob Creek Bourbon is one of the whiskeys from Jim Beam’s Small Batch Collection.

This 100-proof bourbon is bold and complex with maple sugar and almonds. It has fruity undertones with a touch of spice and dark chocolate.

The finish is long and dry with notes of vanilla spice.

Read: Knob Creek Bourbon & Bulleit Comparison 

9. Maker’s Mark Bourbon

Maker’s Mark Bourbon

Maker’s Mark Bourbon is a handmade bourbon aged for around six years. It tastes sweet with hints of caramel, fruity essences, and vanilla. If you’re looking for a bourbon to mix with your cocktails, the Maker’s Mark Bourbon is a great place to start.

It has a quite sweet finish with notes of butterscotch and dry oak spice, enticing the drinker to take one more sip.

Read: Maker’s Mark & Buffalo Trace Compared

10. Michter’s Us*1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Michter’s Us1 Kentucky Straight

The Michter’s Us*1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon is named after the former oldest distillery in the USA. It has notes of rich caramel with balanced vanilla, fruit notes, and smoky depth. It is mellow and earthy. It is 91.4 proof and is usually made in small batches, no more than two dozen barrels. 

11. Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon

Old Grand-Dad Bonded

The Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon is a trip to the past because it still has the iconic orange label. Aged for four years and 100 proof, this dark honey-colored straight bourbon tastes like caramel, light oak, and honey. It also has notes of peanuts at the finish. 

12. Russells Reserve 10-Year-Old Bourbon

Russell‘s Reserve 10-Year-Old

Russell’s Reserve 10-Year-Old Bourbon is specially crafted by master distiller Jimmy Russel and his son, Eddie. This 10-year-old classic bourbon is bottled at 90-proof and aged in No. 4 alligator char barrels. It comes with rich, spicy vanilla and caramel flavors and a sweet and smooth finish. 

13. Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon 

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon is smooth with a long, satiny finish with light toffee flavor hints. This straight bourbon is aged in American White Oak Barrels coated in the deepest alligator char for more character. It is 101 proof and has a high-rye content, making it flavorful. 

14. Willett Pot Still Reserve Bourbon

Willett Pot Still Reserve

Willett Pot Still Reserve bourbon has caramel, vanilla, spices, and citrus notes. It is aged between eight to ten years and is packaged in a pot, still-shaped bottle. The bottle with a large bulbous base and a long slender neck is meant to resemble the pot still that was used at the Willett Distilling Company for generations.

15. Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Woodford Reserve Bourbon

The Woodford Reserve Bourbon is composed of delectable flavor notes like toffee, caramel, chocolate, and complex citrus. It is rounded and smooth with an almost creamy taste at first but has a warm, satisfying finish towards the end. 

This clean, brilliant honey amber-colored bourbon whiskey is 90.4% proof and is triple distilled.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the ingredients in a Kentucky mule?
The ingredients for Kentucky Mules are Kentucky bourbon, ginger beer, and lime juice.

How is the Moscow mule different from the Kentucky Mule?

The difference between the Moscow mule and the Kentucky Mule is their base spirit. Swap vodka for bourbon in a Moscow Mule, and you’ve got the Kentucky Mule [1]

What bourbon should I use for a Kentucky Mule?

When choosing a bourbon for a Kentucky Mule, it’s advisable to opt for one that complements the cocktail’s flavors. Popular choices include well-known and widely available bourbons like Maker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace, or Woodford Reserve. These bourbons offer a balance of sweetness and complexity that pairs well with the ginger beer and lime juice in a Kentucky Mule.

What whiskey is best for a mule?

Traditionally, Moscow Mules are made with vodka, while Kentucky Mules use bourbon or whiskey. For a classic Moscow Mule, a clean and crisp vodka works well. However, when making a Kentucky Mule, the choice of whiskey or bourbon becomes crucial. Whiskey with a slightly sweeter profile, such as Maker’s Mark or Evan Williams Black Label, can enhance the overall taste of the cocktail.

What’s the difference between a Moscow Mule and a Kentucky Mule?

The primary difference between a Moscow Mule and a Kentucky Mule lies in the base spirit used. A Moscow Mule is made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, originating from the 1940s. In contrast, a Kentucky Mule substitutes bourbon or whiskey for the vodka, creating a variation with a distinct flavor profile. The choice of spirit imparts different notes to each cocktail, with the Moscow Mule having a clean and neutral taste from the vodka, while the Kentucky Mule features the rich and complex flavors of bourbon or whiskey.

What is the best rye whiskey for mules?

For a Rye Mule or a variation of the classic Moscow Mule using rye whiskey, it’s advisable to choose a rye with a balanced and spicy profile. Brands like Bulleit Rye, Rittenhouse Rye, or High West Double Rye are popular choices for their peppery and bold characteristics, which can complement the ginger beer and lime in a mule cocktail. Experimenting with different rye whiskies allows you to find the one that best suits your taste preferences for a Rye Mule.
What bourbon does John Wick drink?

In the John Wick film series, the titular character, portrayed by Keanu Reeves, is often seen drinking a brand called Blanton’s. Blanton’s is a high-quality single-barrel bourbon known for its rich and complex flavors. The distinctive bottle shape and the iconic horse stopper make it easily recognizable. However, it’s worth noting that product placement in movies doesn’t necessarily reflect the personal preferences of the character or the actor.

What is a true Kentucky bourbon?

A true Kentucky bourbon must adhere to specific criteria. According to the Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits in the United States, for a whiskey to be labeled as bourbon, it must be made in the United States, composed of a mash bill containing at least 51% corn, distilled to no more than 160 proof, and aged in new charred oak barrels. Additionally, the spirit must enter the barrel for aging at no more than 125 proof.

Is a Kentucky Mule a bourbon drink or rye?

A Kentucky Mule is typically made with bourbon rather than rye. The cocktail is a variation of the classic Moscow Mule, which traditionally features vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. In the Kentucky Mule, bourbon replaces the vodka, imparting a unique and distinctly American twist to the cocktail. The choice of bourbon adds complexity and sweetness to the drink, enhancing the overall flavor profile.

What is the most popular mule?

The most popular mule is arguably the Moscow Mule. This classic cocktail, which originated in the 1940s, is made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, typically served in a copper mug. Its refreshing and zesty flavor profile has contributed to its widespread popularity. However, variations such as the Kentucky Mule, made with bourbon instead of vodka, or the Moscow Mule with a different base spirit, have gained popularity, providing diverse options for mule enthusiasts.

What is the most powerful mule?

The term “most powerful mule” can be interpreted in different ways. If referring to the strength of a cocktail, it’s subjective and depends on personal taste. However, if considering the strength of a mule as a hybrid vehicle, the BMY M1097A2, a military utility vehicle commonly known as a “Mule,” is a robust and powerful example used by various armed forces.

Why is it called a Kentucky Mule?

The Kentucky Mule is a variation of the classic Moscow Mule, which traditionally features vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. The substitution of bourbon for vodka in the Kentucky Mule is what gives it its name. The use of bourbon, a whiskey associated with Kentucky, imparts a unique twist to the cocktail, creating a drink with rich and complex flavors. The name reflects the Americanization of the classic Moscow Mule with the incorporation of a key Kentucky ingredient.

Why is Moscow Mule so good?

The Moscow Mule is considered a refreshing and enjoyable cocktail for several reasons. Its appeal lies in the harmonious combination of ingredients. Vodka provides a neutral base, allowing the ginger beer’s spiciness to shine through, while the lime juice adds a zesty and citrusy kick. The cocktail is traditionally served in a copper mug, which not only keeps it cold but also enhances the drinking experience. The Moscow Mule’s balanced and crisp flavor profile, along with its visual appeal in the distinctive copper mug, contributes to its widespread popularity.

What is the origin of the Kentucky Mule?

The Kentucky Mule has its roots in the Moscow Mule, which originated in the 1940s. The Kentucky Mule, as a variation, evolved with the substitution of bourbon for vodka. Bourbon, being a quintessential American spirit and closely associated with Kentucky, adds a layer of complexity and sweetness to the cocktail. While the exact origin of the Kentucky Mule may not be as well-documented as the Moscow Mule, its creation is likely a nod to the rich bourbon heritage of Kentucky, giving a regional twist to the popular cocktail.Top of Form

Final Thoughts: Best Bourbon For Kentucky Mule

Kentucky Mule is the perfect cocktail for the summer. It is refreshing, easy to make, and doesn’t require any special ingredients. It is made with bourbon, ginger beer, and lime juice. 

The best bourbon for Kentucky Mules must have a rich flavor with some sweetness. It should also be able to stand up against the ginger beer without being overpowered by it. 

However, the best bourbon for a Kentucky Mule is still dependent on personal preference. Some people prefer bourbon with higher alcohol content, while others prefer it to be milder.


  1. Kentucky Mule
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