Alibi V.29 No.33 • Aug 13-19, 2020 

Cocktail Culture

Thoughts on the Mule

A Cocktail Best Approached from the Left

copper mug
The copper mug is the key to getting behind the mule.
Clarke Condé

First thing you need to understand about the Moscow Mule is that it was concocted in Los Angeles to sell more vodka and has nothing to do with Moscow, except possibly when your hand is freezing from holding the copper cup you may have a passing thought about that chilly city with a reputation for vodka-drinking residents. The mule part has a bit more grounding in fact and, though not related to the animal, it is better left to the imagination. Really, the entire drink is best left to creative-types because of its adaptability. Switch out the vodka for Irish Whisky for an Irish Mule, bourbon for a Kentucky Mule or absinthe for a Bohemian Mule. Here, however, we present a recipe for the classic varietal:

Eight parts ginger ale

Four parts vodka

One part lime juice

Lime wedge for garnish

Ice

Skip the Canada Dry in favor of a more flavorful ginger ale or ginger beer. Zia Soda out of Taos is a local option. Goya makes a spicy Jamaican style ginger beer which is a good choice, if you can find it. There are plenty of ginger ales out there, including tolerable zero carb, zero sugar options should that be your thing.

The next step is finding a copper mug. Some say the mug should be lined with nickel or stainless steel to prevent building up toxic levels of copper in your system. I recommend siding with caution here. You won't like what happens if you get too much copper. Once you’ve found your ginger ale and mug, simply combine them with the vodka and lime over ice. A stir or two and you are in business. I’ve garnished here with a big slice of ginger, but lime is more traditional. What else can you add to a copper cup full of ginger ale? What would make it a New Mexico Mule? Send your ideas to letters@alibi.com. If it sounds good, I'll give it a try.