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Oh the Moscow Mule, you know the drink, right? Ginger beer, vodka, and some lime. That’s it, that’s the recipe. Thanks for stopping by, we’ll see you next time. OK, there is a little bit more to this.
I was searching around for a Jäger sour recipe, yes jäger sour, it’s a thing and it’s actually really tasty. Anyhow, found the recipe, but next to the cocktail I was looking for, was a recipe for a Berlin Mule. I of course did what any person who sees something that you can’t believe is true. I clicked on the link to find that a Berlin Mule was Jagermeister and ginger beer. I thought to myself, I know there are various recipes for different variations on a mule, but is it possible that a lot of countries, or the major cities of those countries have their own mule? You know the answer to that, right? I decided to explore and present to you the various or at least a few of the variations that I found of the classic Moscow Mule.
Now when I was first introduced to this drink, it was over 10 years ago before I moved to Germany. I actually started making a drink that was similar to a mule, but wasn’t the actual drink. This was vodka, ginger ale, bitters, and lime. A really nice drink on it’s own.
The classic Moscow Mule has nothing to do with Moscow exactly, I mean the original vodka used is said to be Smirnoff, which came from Moscow, but this like so many things was a branding creation. It started on the West coast in the 1940s. Jack Morgan wanted to use his stock of ginger beer at his Cock n’ Bull Club, the new owner of Smirnoff, John Martin’s company had just recently purchased the right had the vodka. A new cocktail was born, then took off in the West coast. Just to mention it one more time, this is how we were introduced to Smirnoff in America, yes, it is funny how that all happens.
I have to say, I’m not a fan of the lime in a Moscow Mule. In Germany, especially at a good cocktail bar, they flavor theirs with cucumber. It provides a more refreshing flavor and compliments the drink overall. In any case, the classic has vodka, ginger beer and lime.
The last thing that makes the perfect looking drink is the proper glass. In this case it’s a copper mug. I’ll be honest, over the years and the multiple times I’ve made this drink, it has never been in a copper mug. Why? I do care about the proper glass for the proper drink, but for me to buy a copper mug for a drink that I wasn’t making that offend. Nope, couldn’t do it. With that being said, the copper mug is the correct glassware for the mule. The main reason is because copper will keep your drink cold, so the combination of the copper, a nice cold cocktail, along with the ginger beer. It’s a perfect match.
As you’ll see below, there are more than a handful of variations of a traditional Moscow Mule, I mean I even have my own take on a Moscow Mule. I’m sure you’ll find one that you’ll like. Pick a few and you’ll have a nice travel around the world by way of the Moscow Mule.
Variations on a Mule
When I first saw London Mule, I was a little lost, mainly because for some reason I wasn’t associating London with gin. In any case, this take on the original is replacing the vodka with another beloved spirit. In this case gin. A good dry London gin is the only way to go with drink. Replacing the vodka with gin will change the profile, but it is still going to be pretty tasty.
You see Glasgow, you think Scotland. If you see Glasgow Mule, you think a delicious smokey or peaty cocktail. Of course different scotches will have different levels of smokiness. If you are a someone who would prefer to drink their best scotch straight and not use it as a mixer, then go with something on the level of a Glenfiddich or a Glenlivet. Each have a medium level of smoke, but work great when it comes to this drink. To go along with that, a few additions were made to the basic foundation. In this case elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, and some bitters. All of these make a nice blend, while cutting back on the smokiness of your scotch. I still think though, if you don’t have any of that, scotch and ginger beer are just fine.
The Mexican Mule to me isn’t that crazy of a mix. I’ve made a few different ginger beer margaritas. The combination is just right, you have that nice spice of the ginger beer blended with the orange liqueur and lime juice. Now once you take out one of the margarita components, the orange liqueur. You are left with the Mexican Mule. You’ll want a silver tequila, not to mention a good ginger beer.
You would be forgiven for thinking like I did that a Kentucky Mule is actually a Horse’s Neck, but nope, that has ginger ale along with some bitters. The Kentucky Mule will use a good bourbon, my jam is Makers Mark. I know it’s crazy commercial, but it is a reasonably priced bourbon, which can be used as a mixer, or if you are really not into any of the mixing stuff, then you can also drink it straight. People just like the bourbon on the rocks. I’ve done it a few times, but for our case, ginger beer, bourbon, lime, have a good time.
As a mentioned, my foray into all of these different Moscow Mule variations was after seeing the Berlin Mule. I am a Jägermeister person. I enjoy the taste. I’ve had glühwein (mulled wine or hot wine) with jäger, odd combination, yes, of course, did it taste good? Yes, why yes it did. I’ll admit this combination might not be the best of the mule variations, but I will try anything once or twice. I was skeptical about a jäger sour and was surprised, so this one can’t be that bad, right?
Yes, Italy has its version, you think Italy would be left out of the fun? When I was wondering if they did, I thought what would their liqueur be. When I saw it, I completely thought, duh, of course, Limoncello, with some amaretto. Those are the elements, those with the ginger beer give you pretty different take. This to me is the lightest of the options, which to me pretty much is proper Italian drink. Think of a spitz, that’s kind of what you have here.
The last of the variations, at least the ones that I found brings us to Seoul. Yes, South Korea has their take on the classic. The liqueur of the country is of course soju, then the lime is replaced with yuzu, which is an Asian citrus fruit. The soju is comparable to vodka or tequila, mainly because it is the Asian version of a distilled spirit.
So those are the options, 7 different versions of a Moscow Mule. Which one do you think you are going to try? Whichever one you try, let me know. Leave a comment below or give me a mention on instagram, I’m at @jacobkt225.
As always thank you for taking the time to give this a read. We’ll see you next time.