You’re introduced to a new cocktail by a bartender or trusted friend. It’s magical and delicious and you enjoy it over and over again for months. It becomes part of your home bartending repertoire and you’ve introduced all your friends to it. But at some point or another, it’s time for something different. The enjoyment return on investment inevitably declines over time until you might remember it fondly but you don’t actually want to drink it any more than you’d like to spend an evening curled up with an economics textbook. Which would only uncomfortably remind you of your unfortunate burst of enthusiasm a few months back whereby you remain the questionably proud owner of 73 bottles of ginger beer stacked in the garage, inviting snarky comments from your spouse and spawn everytime they have to carefully navigate by it to get into the car.
But what you and I know, dear friend, is that a cocktail is a flexible thing and we humans are creative little buggers. Which means, if you loved a cocktail with one liquor as the base, it’s only reasonable to assume someone else has tried the cocktail using a different base liquor. Who among us hasn’t realized too late that we’re missing the requisite liquor for a favorite drink and decided that, well I’ve got plenty of _____________, I’ll just use that instead? The results are sometimes disastrous, too true. But sometimes they are a different and equal kind of magic to the one that enchanted you originally.
- 2 parts gin
- Juice of ½ lime
- 4-5 parts ginger beer
- lime wedge for garnish
Shake the ingredients together until cold. Garnish with a lime wedge on the rim of (preferably) a copper Moscow Mule cup. I favor Bundaberg ginger beer though others swear that Fever Tree is the only ginger beer worthy of the name. Ginger beer is non-alcoholic, so you can splurge and share some with your kids while you enjoy your own drink. I gravitate towards Hendricks gin as an alternative to the licking-a-Christmas-Tree effect most gin (unpleasantly) reminds me of. Fresh lime, please. Always.
More worldly-wise readers will know this is a modified Moscow Mule (which I introduced to you several years ago here). Sometimes it’s called a Gin Mule, but that’s lame so I’m using the title I found in The Ultimate Bar Book: The Comprehensive Guide to over 1000 Cocktails. This is a fantastic resource I’d strongly encourage you to put on your Christmas list!
Of course the substitition magic doesn’t end here. The national drink of Bermuda skips the lime and uses dark rum (officially Gosling’s Black Seal Rum) and calls it Dark and Stormy. Delicious – and you can add the lime back in if you like and it’s still delicious! And of course you can use whiskey in place of vodka for a Kentucky Mule, or Irish whiskey for an Irish Mule. Swap in tequila and you have a Mexican Mule.
You’ve found a new use for all that ginger beer from Costco. You’ve multiplied the number of drinks you can make by memory without having to memorize different ingredients. Your guests will be impressed you thought of swapping out their favorite liquor for vodka or gin. Your spouse and spawn will be impressed that getting into the car no longer recalls a scene from Mission Impossible. All is calm, all is bright.