A great-tasting cocktail is made more fun when served the traditional way.
Moscow Mules have had a huge resurgence in the last few years. It seems like I see them everywhere, especially as the weather gets warmer. Copper mugs are stacked up in bars and homes all over the country waiting to be filled with delicious cocktails.
Luckily, the drink is super-easy to make, but there are a few tricks that can take it to the next level.
First, let’s talk about the copper mug situation. Traditionally, a Moscow Mule is served in a copper mug. If you're paying for it in a bar, they'd better be serving it up in one. At home, it’s not a necessity, but if you can splurge on a few, it’s a nice touch.
The most important element of the copper mug (besides just general tradition) is temperature control. The metal gets cold quickly from the drink and passes that super-chilled effect onto the lips. It’s a great sensation that glass just can’t do.
Also, if you’re drinking them outside, the metal will guard your drink from the sun, insulating it a bit from the direct heat, and the copper handle keeps your hand off the drink so your body heat doesn’t transfer.
Some people claim they can actually taste a difference when Moscow Mules are served in copper mugs, but for me it’s more about tradition and temperature.
The cocktail itself only has a few ingredients, but the ice is important. Try to use crushed ice, which chills the drink quickly.
You can pulse the ice in a blender to crush it but I just put mine in a sturdy plastic bag and beat it with a mallet!
It gets out a little aggression and you end up with nicely crushed ice.
Add the ice to your glasses with the juice from half a lime. Yes… if you’re serving these for a crowd, you’ll need a lot of limes. You could even use a full lime per cocktail, but I think 1/2 lime is a good start.
Then add in your vodka. I think a two ounce pour is pretty good, but you could up it to three if you want to get crazy.
Now for the ginger beer. Ginger beer makes up the bulk of the cocktail so it’s important to use a good one.
To be honest, ginger beer should cost as much as a craft beer in the store. The brand I like costs $6 for four, but it’s totally worth it. If you were ordering this in a bar it would probably be $8 for one drink, so you’re still coming out ahead!
And that’s all there is to it. Garnish with a lime wedge and this drink is done.
All that’s left is to enjoy a little sip of tradition and deliciousness.
Nick is on board with copper! Check out his blog, Macheesmo, and follow him on his Tablespoon Profile.