Summer is almost over, but there's still some prime Moscow mule sippin' time left. Actually, part of the reason we love Moscow mules so much is the fact that you can pretty much drink them year-round. They're super-refreshing when it's hot, but also keep you warm in the fall and winter when things get chilly. In essence, they're nature's perfect cocktail.

We've got the step-by-step guide on how to make a traditional Moscow mule, as well as seven more not-so-traditional variations. Because who hasn't had a hankering for a Moscow mule Jell-O shot, right?

1. Moscow mule

The trick to making a great Moscow mule is using ginger beer, not ginger ale, which is much sweeter and lacks the spicy ginger kick of ginger beer.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 4-6 ounces ginger beer
  • Plenty of ice

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together, pour over ice and serve in a copper mug if possible.
More: 17 Ice Tea Cocktail Recipes to Cool You Down on the Lingering Days of Summer

2. Skinny mule

This is the slender, aromatic sister to the original. Omitting the ginger beer cuts out the sugar, and adding fresh ginger provides flavor as well as a host of health benefits.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Lime wedges
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Soda water
  • Ice

Directions:

  1. Peel and grate the fresh ginger. Muddle with the lime juice and 1-3 wedges of lime.
  2. Stir in the vodka and serve over ice.
  3. Top off with sparkling water. Garnish with lime.

3. Summer mule

Adding fresh berries boosts the existing flavors and creates a beautiful color. I like to cut back on the ginger beer to allow the berries to really shine through.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Fresh berries (about 4-6 per drink)
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces ginger beer
  • Soda water
  • Ice

Directions:

  1. Muddle the berries with the lime juice. (I used blackberries and raspberries, but I've also made this with strawberries and blueberries; just use whatever you've got on hand or whichever fruits seem the ripest.) The berries should break down quickly as you muddle them creating a syrup-like texture.
  2. Add the ginger beer and vodka.
  3. Pour over ice and top off with sparkling water.

4. Spicy mule

I used about 3-4 slices of jalapeño per cocktail, but I'm a wimp when it comes to spicy food so feel free to adjust the heat level to your liking.

Ingredients:

  • Jalapeño pepper (1 makes about 6 drinks)
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 ounces ginger beer
  • 1/2 ounce orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau)
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • Ice

Directions:

  1. Thinly slice the jalapeno and muddle a few slices with the lime juice and orange liqueur.
  2. Stir in the vodka and ginger beer. Serve over ice.

5. Long Island mule

Inspired by the Long Island iced tea, this mule packs a punch. It is definitely strong, but it's surprisingly light and delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ounces ginger beer
  • 1/2 ounce orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau)
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce light rum (coconut rum like Malibu is delicious in this drink)
  • 1/2 ounce tequila
  • Lots of ice

Directions:

  1. Stir together all the ingredients and serve over ice. (I like to use lots of ice to mellow out all the alcohol.)

6. Lavender mule

This drink is sophisticated and whimsical at the same time. I love the combination of lavender, lemon and elderflower; it's floral, fragrant and delightful! Remember to use culinary lavender or you'll wind up with something that tastes more like soap than food. You can find lavender syrup in some specialty markets, but making your own is really easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce elderflower syrup
  • 2 ounces ginger beer
  • Lavender syrup
  • Lavender ice cubes (optional)

For the lavender syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender

Directions:

For the lavender syrup

  1. Combine the sugar and dried food-grade lavender in a heat-proof bowl.
  2. Pour boiling water over the sugar and lavender, and stir for a few seconds until the sugar is dissolved. Let the lavender steep for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Strain the lavender out and let the syrup come to room temperature, then refrigerate.

For the lavender ice cubes

  1. Place a few pinches of dried culinary lavender in a ice cube tray, cover with water and freeze. (I also threw in a few dried food-grade rose petals for color and aroma.)

For the cocktail

  1. Combine all the ingredients, stir and serve over lavender ice cubes.

7. Citrus mule

The combination of juices creates a tart and refreshing drink; feel free to switch in other types of citrus like blood oranges, clementines or Meyer lemons depending on the season.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)
  • 2 ounces ginger beer
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • Ice
  • Mint for garnish

Directions:

  1. Stir together all the ingredients, serve over ice and garnish with grapefruit and mint.

More: Channel Your Inner Don Draper With This Old-Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

8. Moscow mule Jell-O shots

Here's one more way of enjoying Moscow mules: a grown-up Jell-O shot. I made these for a party six months ago and I'm still getting requests for them. Get the recipe here.

Image: Yvonna Groom/Sheknows

Originally published May 2015. Updated August 2017.