Moscow Mule (minus the copper mug)

The Moscow Mule, to me, is a drink that epitomizes the saying “goes down smooth”. Traditionally, it is made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime. This is a very simple and timeless combination because it just works so well. The key here is to use good ingredients, because they do play such an important role.

Vodka is vodka, for the most part. Don’t get the stuff that comes in a plastic bottle. I can’t articulate why that’s a bad idea, but every time I see those bottles my instincts turn towards avoiding them.

Lime juice is also pretty simple – Use the fresh stuff, or barring that the juice that comes in bottles that is made from concentrate. Do not use sour mix. It’s too sweet for this.

Ginger beer is where you really want to innovate. Reed’s and Cock and Bull are the most common ginger beer that you see in grocery stores. But of course, if you can get something more exotic then you definitely should. If your college roommate brewed some in the basement of their dorm building, even better.

Build the drink over ice. Lime and Vodka first, then top with Ginger Beer. Easy!

The traditional presentation of the Moscow Mule is in a chintzy copper mug. According to Dave Wondrich, the origin of that was essentially a friend of the creator of the Moscow Mule had a bunch of weird mugs they couldn’t sell, so they made them a thing instead. A surprisingly large number of business decisions in the cocktail world are made like that. Angostura bitters’ oversized label is another example. A Collins or simple tall glass also suffices.


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