Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Moscow Mule

Hard to believe, given how ubiquitous it in in bars and in drinking culture in the U.S., but at one time vodka was not the principal "clear spirit" consumed in America - that honor fell to gin. It wasn't until the late 1940's that vodka really started to take hold as the spirit we know it to be today (it has also been argued that the rise of vodka signaled the decline of the cocktail culture in general, "watering down" American's appreciation for spirits with flavor or unique character.) The drink credited with starting the American love of vodka is the Moscow Mule.

Created in 1941, it was the invention of a bar/restaurant owner out of Los Angeles, an American vodka company representative, and a producer of ginger beer. Created in Manhattan (over a number of drinks, it actually didn't take off until (like most things) it became popular with the movie star crowd in LA in the late 1940s. As part of the marketing of the drink, you were supposed to drink it out of a copper cup - not sure what the significance of that is, but I assure you that it tastes just as good in a highball glass. As with most vodka drinks, the alcohol notes are non-existent, and this is a great party drink because it's very easy to adjust the proportion of ginger beer (or vodka for that matter) to account for individual taste. Use a good, strong ginger beer so the ginger flavor isn't overpowered by the lime (and for god's sake use a fresh lime - bottled lime juice is an abomination.)

The Moscow Mule

1 part vodka (Stoli)
1 part lime juice
ginger beer

Fill a collins glass with ice. Add vodka and lime juice and stir for 15 seconds. Add ginger beer to top off. Add a slice of lime to garnish.

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