I caught wind of this Moscow Mule craze sometime last year. I don’t know what kept me from trying one…but I guess you could say that it just wasn’t on my list. And, who knows, I may be completely late to the party on this one because, well, that’s just typically how my life goes (though some think otherwise). In any rate, it was high time to make one and I came across this recipe for the Holiday Mule. I thought it would be a nice change of pace from the sweet, cream-based cocktails that I have made (and loved) in the past. Oh, and don’t worry…I wasn’t writing the blog when I made those, so they will appear here sometime, hopefully soon.
The nice thing about this drink is that it is not terribly complex, but you won’t guess that from the flavor. I would recommend a “good quality” gin, though the recipe mentions that you can also use vodka. You can probably figure that I went for the gin. (This time I used the locally distilled, Deacon Giles Gin.) The most complex part about this is, honestly, the garnish. It certainly makes it look festive, but you can go simpler on that (or omit) if you prefer.
Ingredients: 1 ½ oz gin (or vodka), ½ oz unsweetened cranberry juice, ½ oz simple syrup, 2 oz (more or less) chilled ginger beer. Orange wedge, fresh rosemary, and cranberries for garnish, if desired.
Directions. Mix together gin, cranberry juice, and simple syrup. Pour into glass (or Moscow Mule mug) over ice. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with orange, rosemary, and cranberries.
This is nice and refreshing. I am not sure about ginger beer in general…it leaves a bit of a peppery aftertaste in the back of my throat. It’s not necessarily bad, but if you’ve never had ginger beer, it may be helpful to know this. It actually does add an interesting element of complexity to the drink. If it is an issue, though, I might suggest substituting ginger ale for the ginger beer. I plan to try this, for comparison sake, but I figure it will taste a little different.
I also would suggest, as with the Cranberry Gimlet recipe, if you are using a cranberry juice cocktail (or sweetened cranberry juice), you might want double the quantity of juice (1 oz instead of ½ oz) and omit the simple syrup.
As for the garnishes, they don’t really impart any flavor. However, you will likely get a strong whiff of the rosemary when you sip…the fragrance does add something to the “experience” but it may not be desirable for everyone and it certainly isn’t necessary. (In other words, don’t let the lack of fresh rosemary hold you back from making this.)
On the topic of drinkware, I did purchase a Moscow Mule mug just for this drink. (And, bonus, it was on sale at Target!) If, for whatever reason, you don’t want to buy mugs just to serve these drinks, I would recommend serving them in a double old fashioned glass. (I know I lack storage space, not to mention the budget to purchase specialty drinkware designed for one type of drink.) But, the double old fashioned holds a similar volume to the mug.
Popularity aside, I do think this is a good choice if you are looking for a “seasonal cocktail” to make for casual or formal gatherings, or just to enjoy throughout the holidays (or entire winter). One will not knock you on your backside and it has a nice flavor. Coming up, perhaps: using vodka instead of gin, trying ginger ale instead of ginger beer. Enjoy!