The Moscow Mule’s Distant Cousin
To me, nothing is better at 5 o’clock on a Friday after a long work week like an icy cold cocktail, and my go to drink these days is the Kentucky Mule. A Kentucky Mule is a Moscow Mule, but with bourbon instead of vodka.
It’s a simple drink. There’s only three ingredients: bourbon, ginger beer, and lime. That’s it. Over the past 2 years, I’ve become a connoisseur of sorts to the Kentucky Mule. I’ve had them at a number of bars and restaurants here in Charleston (don’t judge). Each one tasted similar, but distinctly different. Here’s why.
Let’s talk about bourbon. Since moving to Charleston, I’ve taken a liking to bourbon. A BIG liking. If you haven’t had it before, it has hints of maple with a little bit of sweet, smokey flavor.
It’s divine. And of course, not all bourbon is created equal. Some folks say that if you put a mixer into a liquor, you should use a “cheaper” liquor. I call bullshit on that one. Why? Cheaper bourbon is just harsh. I would go with a higher quality bourbon. It tastes so much better and goes down really smooth. To me, the cheaper bourbons feel “hot”. Not a good hot you feel when you drink a hot toddy. Like a “someone scratched up the back of my throat” kind of hot. We recently hosted a dinner party and one of our friends brought this lovely little bottle of Bulleit Bourbon. It’s delicious.
Next up, the ginger beer. There are a ton of them out there, and they all taste different. Some are more spicy than others, and some are sweeter than others. You can check the sweetness by looking at the calorie content/grams of sugar on the nutrition label. I tend to like the ginger beers that have a lower sugar content. But, that’s my taste. My point is…you’ll have to taste a few to find the one you like.
And last, the lime. Well, a lime is a lime is a lime. But whatever you do, do NOT use lime juice from that plastic container that looks like a lime squeezie thing. They make them for lemons too…you know what I’m talking about. Ew.
As for the measurements, start with a 1:1 ratio – one part bourbon to one part ginger beer. And adjust according to your taste. The squeeze of fresh lime at the end is like icing on the cake. It ties is all together. And, be sure to use big ice cubes. They don’t melt as fast, which dilutes your drink.
Have you ever wondered why the Kentucky Mule – or Moscow Mule – is served in a copper mug? According to Moscow Copper, the story dates back to the 1930’s and 40’s.
A woman named Sophie Berenzinski immigrated to the United States from Russia, and she had 2,000 copper mugs that she and her father couldn’t sell in Russia, and they were hoping to have better luck in the U.S. A guy named John Martin purchased the Smirnoff distillery in the 30’s, and was struggling selling vodka. At that time, Americans were more into beer, whisky and other cocktails, not so much vodka. Another guy named Jack Morgan owned a pub called the Cock n’ Bull on the Sunset strip in L.A. and was trying to sell a surplus of ginger beer he had on hand.
Well, all three of them ended up at the Cock n’ Bull on the same day in 1941. And they spent hours concocting the fizzy, spicy vodka drink – the Moscow Mule – served in a copper mug.
So, if you end up trying one, let me know what you think! Moscow Mule or Kentucky Mule?