Unlike wintry eggnog or a bracing summer margarita, a classic Moscow mule cocktail isn’t designed for one season. The spicy-cool combination of vodka, ginger beer, and lime is ideal any time of year. Like its cousin the Dark and Stormy, it’s a “buck” (a drink made with alcohol, citrus, and ginger beer or ginger ale). And like many classic cocktails, it comes with a story: In the 1940s, three men (including Jack Morgan of famed Hollywood tavern Cock’n Bull) found themselves with an abundance of ginger beer and Smirnoff vodka, two products that hadn’t yet caught the attention of bargoers in the US. According to Punch, “When placed in its now-classic copper mug, the drink effectively became a marketing device, representing…the first time a specific drink had been used to advertise a spirit.”
Good soda, such as Barritt’s or Fever-Tree ginger beer, is a must since it’s the primary flavoring here. There’s no need to buy a fancy machine to produce pebble or crushed ice at home; simply bash up a batch of standard ice cubes in a resealable bag. And about those copper Moscow mule mugs? They certainly add kitsch, but you can also serve this drink in a collins or highball glass. Finally, we keep the garnish simple with just a wedge of lime, but if you like a little kick, drop in a thin slice of candied or fresh ginger.
Bar cart running low? This drink is adaptable: Swap in bourbon for the vodka to make it a Kentucky mule, reposado tequila for a Mexican mule, or dry gin, simple syrup, and a sprig of mint for a gin-gin mule.
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