A Kicking Mule

I'm not a heavy drinker, I don't crave alcoholic beverages and I don't have that 5 o'clock somewhere daily habit, but I do enjoy a glass of wine or a refreshing beer now and then. Occasionally, I enjoy a Maker's Mark bourbon over ice and a splash of tap water. When Dewey (the husband) and I are eating out I often feel like starting off our dining adventure with a cocktail, but I find myself struggling to decide which cocktail. In the last few months the decision has been an easy one. "I'll have a Mule--a Moscow Mule!"

The Mule is a classic cocktail . It's part vodka, part lime juice and part ginger beer, which, for the unschooled, is just like ginger ale, but better--much better. The Granary in Mt. Pleasant (a.k.a. Charleston, SC) has the best Moscow Mule anywhere, according to my San Francisco friend, Daniel. He says that it's "very herbal" and refreshing. They (the Granary) say it's made with vodka, house limeade, housemade ginger beer and that will be $7, please. At The Boathouse in Hilton Head, South Carolina, my friend Joyce and I had 3 each!!! The bar at this laid back location calls their version The Hilton Head Mule. It's made with Tito's vodka (try it if you haven't, you'll like it...a lot), Blenheim ginger ale and fresh mint. I say there's simple syrup in there, too, which is how I make mine. When I'm feeling spunky, I like to make my Mule kick, so I add a 1/2 tsp. of freshly grated ginger and a few muddled mint leaves. Come to think of it, after the 3 Hilton Head Mules I may have been a little muddled too, so prepare yourself.

Have you ever sipped on a Mule in a copper cup? No? Well, you're in for a refreshing treat. Order up at your next outing to a nice bar and they'll serve it in the proper vessel. It will make you feel both rustic and elegant at the same time, if that's possible. The classic Cosmo (a.k.a. Cosmopolitan) comes in an elegant martini glass. Easy to feel elegant and hip. Order a
Gimlet and you'll be presented with yet another elegant and classic glass. Very Mad Men and hip, to be sure.

The official Mule cup is not so pretty. While that simple copper cup is not so elegant and may make you want to break into a Polka, somehow it manages to make you feel elegant, too. It does so because it's like what we say about people, it's not what's on the outside, it's what's on the inside that counts. So, if that's true, then the Moscow Mule cup makes you feel elegant because of how elegant it is on the inside, not on the outside. Are you confused now? Wait, there's more. There's also the conflicting reports of how the Moscow Mule became such a popular drink in the 50s. What I've heard is that it was a smart marketing move to sell more vodka. Booze News gives an excellent version of the story, and it comes with a recipe so you can make your own at home.

Heading to Atlanta this weekend. I'm thinking that a Mule is in my not-too-distant future. Unless it's a Dark & Stormy (the national drink of Bermuda), which, according to Hollis Gillespie, is the drink to enjoy at a bar. She says so in her travel column for PASTE magazine. I've been following her on twitter lately. She is hilarious and engaging. Maybe I have a new favorite? Even though it doesn't come in a copper mug?

For an authentic Dark & Stormy, make sure it's Gosling's and that it's BLACK rum.