Moscow mule Maui style
Maui-style Moscow mule
I recently returned from a trip to Maui where I got to eat at one of my favorite restaurants, Mala Ocean Tavern.
This tiny West Maui restaurant sits on the ocean's edge at the very north end of Lahaina. Waves wash up on the rocks just outside the restaurant's lanai and turtles cruise by. It is a little bit of heaven.
The restaurant serves Mediterranean, Pacific Rim and Latin cuisine made with local organic ingredients. And they make some mean cocktails, which brings me back to the point of this post. While having lunch, I learned the secret to Mala's Moscow mule.
Pimm's No. 1 Cup
The Mala mule recipe calls for a splash of Pimm's No. 1 Cup. The addition of Pimm's is genius and makes the drink far more interesting. Pimm's was first introduced in 1823 by James Pimm, the owner of a London oyster bar. A gin-based liqueur infused with fruit and herbs, Pimm's was originally served as a digestive. Thank you to bartender Jeff who makes a mean Mala mule.
I use Tito's handmade potato vodka for a gluten-free cocktail, but at Mala's they use Russian Standard vodka.
Good ginger beer is crucial
My daughter Lauren taught me all ginger beer is not alike, and the wrong ginger beer can ruin an otherwise-good Moscow mule. Look for a hand-crafted ginger beer made with real ginger. Our favorite ginger beers are Maine Root Ginger Brew and Fever-Tree Premium Ginger Beer. Maine Root is a little sweeter and Fever-Tree is a little dryer. They are not cheap, but they really make the drink with their true ginger flavor. If you live in Southern California, you can buy Main Root Ginger brew at Mother's Markets without the added shipping cost.
A chunk of candied ginger and a sprig of mint finish off this cocktail nicely.
A little bit of history
Did you know the Moscow mule originated at the Cock n Bull restaurant on Sunset Blvd in the 1940's? The Moscow mule quickly became the "it" drink for the Hollywood elite. Then in the 1950's, under the McCarthy era, the Moscow mule took a hit for its association with Russia. This was serious stuff. Unionized bartenders in NYC boycotted the drink, refusing to “shove slave labor liquor across the wood in any American saloon.”
Moscow Mule copper mugs
Half the fun of a Moscow mule are the copper mugs that keep the drink icy cold. They come in a few different shapes, sizes and finishes. You can buy rounded cups in smooth and hammered finishes. Pay attention to the size you are ordering. The larger mugs are more expensive. I particularly like these large cups with hammer-finished, straight sides and steel handles.
Moscow mule variations
A nice variation to the Mala mule is instead of a splash of Pimm's, adding a splash of St. Germaine. Or add a 1/2 ounce of Goldschlager and you have a Golden mule. You can also make a Mexican mule with tequila or a Kentucky mule with bourbon. Moscow mules are sometimes garnished with slices of cucumber.
How do you like your Moscow mule?
- 1 cup of ice
- 2 ounces vodka (Potato vodka if you are gluten-free)
- ½ ounce lime juice
- ½ ounce Pimm's No. 1
- 4 ounces ginger beer
- 1 squeeze of lime
- 1 chunk of candied ginger (optional)
- 1 sprig of mint (optional)
- Fill your copper mug with ice. Pour in the vodka, Pimm's and lime juice. Top with ginger beer and stir. Garnish with a squeeze of lime, a sprig of mint and a chunk of candied ginger for the rim.