“There is a new drink that is a craze in the movie colony now. It is called ‘Moscow Mule.'”-Insider Hollywood (December, 1942)

As the seasons change, so should your drinks. Summer gives you a good excuse to quaff fruity, brightly colored cocktails that would be normally unacceptable. But unless you’re still an amateur drinker, do you want the same super sweet, kinda gross, pop-like beverages in which the taste of alcohol is buried? As temperatures heat up, you naturally want something cool, something invigorating. Let’s check out the Moscow Mule. Invented in New York City in the ’40s, the story goes that one guy whose company made ginger beer and another guy who distributed vodka, then just a fledgling spirit in America, got together and combined their products. Ginger beer guy also owned a bar on Sunset Boulevard called the Cock ‘n’ Bull and the drink, served in copper mugs, caught on there. In some stories, there’s also a guy with a surplus of copper mugs. It is often credited for starting America’s sad love affair with vodka and for replacing gin as the preferred clear colored spirit, for which it has a lot to answer for. It’s like the Trojan Horse of drinks.

I originally had this at what may be Portland’s best cocktail bar, the Secret Society, and despite my rampant anti-vodka stance, I found it quite drinkable and tasty, although the mule “kick” came more from the ginger than the vodka. It did help that it was served in frosty copper mugs. Sometime later, I returned and noticed a special on the board: the Kentucky Mule. It was the same idea, but with Bulleit bourbon instead of vodka. This was like going from bean sprouts on a sandwich to bacon. The bourbon has a lot more flavor than the vodka and when it comes together with the ginger beer and lime, it retains some bite, but is supremely drinkable and refreshing. Maybe too drinkable, as it’s hard to stop. It’s ridiculously easy to make and is a marked upgrade from just whiskey gingers. Make sure to buy real ginger beer or ale (I like Reed’s) rather than Schweppes or something. One time we ran out of bourbon and used Tequila, which was also quite good. I like to call this a Mexican Mule or a “Burro.”

Ideally, you want copper mugs because they keep it cool and look cool, but they are expensive (check eBay), so a 12 ounce highball glass will do. \


2 parts bourbon
Lots of ice
A generous wedge of lime (and squeeze the juice out first)
4 parts ginger beer

Stir, drink and repeat.

In Portland, OR try one at: Secret Society (116 N.E. Russell St.)

by Lukas Sherman
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