In a glass or… sigh… copper mug:
Lime Juice - 1/2 lime + hull
Hooch - vicinity of 2 oz
Ice - cracked or cubed
Ginger Beer - fill ‘er up
I am increasingly convinced that the Moscow Mule will come to represent drinking in our current time period just as the Vodka Martini and Cosmopolitan have become associated with the early 2000s and 1990s, respectively. Skinny boys in tight jeans, black shirts buttoned all the way up, raising a copper mug with Carrie Bradshaw, and some youthfully slick-looking dude swimming in an oversized knock-off Armani suit, holding up their martini glasses and toasting a dearth of good taste.
Okay, to be fair, there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these cocktails if they are made well; I simply don’t think their qualities justify their popularity. Like watching a game where the team that played better loses, this just sort of digs at me. Okay, I’m done.
… Nope, I lied. Here comes some more.
We all know the story by now: The Moscow Mule is a miracle of canny marketing and opportunism. This vodka guy knew a ginger beer guy, they both had abysmal sales… maybe there was a copper mug guy in there? Whatever. This narrative hasn’t been compelling since P.T. Barnum. ALSO, let us not forget that this drink was brought to us by the entertainment classes of lovely Los Angeles, California, the same set that also brought us Hollywood Regency, T-shirts under blazers, and “famous for being famous.” Seriously vet this vicinity’s trends for anything resembling actual taste, is what I’m saying. Right. I’m going to be productive now.
The liquor/lime/ginger beer combo is actually a class of drink properly called the “Buck.” Gin Buck, Rum Buck, Vodka Buck… it’s a revved-up highball, and a damn good one. As such, it’s a great tool for the home bartender since it’s quick to make, refreshing, dynamic, and pleasing to most palates. So why am I hating on the MM? I’m not — if vodka is the only liquor you have left in your house, go for it — but as just about anything will fly well between the ginger/lime goalposts in this drink, why wouldn’t you use something with some flavor? Got a lady coming over? Be a bad boy — grab the tequila. Wanna chill with the boys? Bourbon’s nice. Or rye, for that finicky friend with the thick-rimmed glasses. Seriously, you could probably put gasoline in this drink and it would turn out no worse than decent.
So go on. Be interesting this weekend. And for the love of God, put down that vodka. There’s living to do.