There is a great bar / gastropub called Martin’s West a few miles from Putney Farm. They have a strong beer and scotch program, but also feature high-quality, creative, seasonal cocktails. The cocktails are a real treat and we try and stop by every month or so to see what is new. But there is one constant on the cocktail menu at Martin’s West, the Moscow Mule. I suspect that our friends at Martin’s did not expect (or want) to feature the Mule forever, but we always see them up and down the bar. The Mule is just too popular to take off the menu.
My guess is the mixologist at Martin’s might like people to try something else, as the Mule is a pretty basic drink. The Moscow Mule is simply vodka, ginger beer (or ginger ale) and lime juice on the rocks. It’s a surprisingly refreshing drink and a good choice as we move into spring and summer. And yes, if you say the Mule is a Dark and Stormy with vodka instead of rum, you are pretty close. But more people drink vodka than dark rum these days, so this drink will please a crowd.
As for the backstory on the Moscow Mule, it is more American than Russian. It turns out that Vodka is a relatively “new” spirit in the US. And in the mid-20th century, as vodka was being introduced to Americans, the importers and the their buddies came up with some cocktail recipes featuring vodka. After a few drinks, a guy who made ginger beer came up with the Moscow Mule (marketers do love their alliteration)- and the vodka craze was born. Free enterprise at its finest.
Since vodka really has no flavor, many Mixologists tend to scoff at vodka-based cocktails. But, whatever, the lime and ginger beer are the stars in this drink and they taste good, and the vodka does its job. And as we move back towards entertaining outdoors, it is good to have a refreshing drink like this in your toolkit. This is another great cocktail for entertaining. Moscow Mules are easy to make and you can set this drink up for guests to mix themselves. If you are tired of the Marg or G&T at parties, the Moscow Mule will be a nice change.
The Moscow Mule:
Notes Before You Start:
- You can get ginger beer in most supermarkets or liquor stores. But if you can’t find it, use a good ginger ale and increase the lime juice to ¾ ounce.
- Ginger beer brands may vary in flavor, adjust volume of lime juice accordingly.
What You Get: A very refreshing vodka cocktail. A good spring and summer drink that is easy to make. If you want to blow the world away with your mixology skills, this is not the right cocktail. If you are thirsty and looking for a buzz, it will work just fine.
What You Need: No special equipment required. Mules are sometimes served in copper mugs, so if you have them, go ahead. But no need to spend any money on mugs, a highball glass is fine.
How Long? 2 minutes. This is easy. You can probably do this blindfolded. At least before you start drinking.
(Makes 1 drink)
- 2 oz. vodka
- ½ oz. lime juice
- 4 oz. ginger beer
- Squeeze lime juice into a highball or Collins glass. Drop in the spent shell of the lime. Add ice. Pour in vodka and then top with the ginger beer.
- Stir gently and serve.