I love a good Moscow Mule. But then, who doesn't? It's more interesting than your average vodka drink (i.e., ridiculous flavored vodka and soda or 7-Up), but accessible enough for mainstream mass appeal.
Though the Moscow Mule is refreshing and delicious, it is are, after a while, like a pop song repeating endlessly on the radio: It just sort of blends into itself until you barely notice what's happening. I find myself wanting a drink with a little something . . . extra. A dash or two of je ne sais quoi, if you will. That's where one of my heroes of modern bartending, Audrey Saunders, comes in.
Even though you probably haven't heard of her, Saunders is one of the great folks leading the charge in the new cocktail revolution. Her creations are brilliant, fresh takes on some of the best vintage cocktails. A visit to her Pegu Club bar is very high on my to-do list should I find myself in New York City.
When the Pegu Club opened, she introduced a brilliant cocktail, the Gin-Gin Mule. It's something of a cross between two excellent summer cocktails, the Moscow Mule and the Mojito. And, to keep things interesting, the base spirit is gin.
This one comes together pretty quickly. Muddle the mint, give it a shake, and the heat of the day just melts away. This drink can vary dramatically depending on your ginger beer and gin.
You want to get your hands on a spicy ginger beer; Blenheim Ginger Ale (yes, I know, technically not ginger beer, but their Red Hot #3 kicks bigger than the Rockettes) is one of my favorites. Saunders makes her own uncarbonated ginger beer; if you use uncarbonated ginger beer, go ahead and toss it in the shaker with the other ingredients. If your preferred ginger beer is on the milder side, cut back a bit on the simple syrup.
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Since the ginger beer is quite assertive, you want a good solid London dry gin; milder styles of gin just won't have the backbone to stand up to everything else. Saunders and I both reach for Tanqueray, but I'll bet Bombay (the regular, not Sapphire!) will also do the job nicely.
Gin-Gin Mule ¾ ounce fresh lime juice 1 ounce simple syrup 8 to 10 mint leaves, chopped 1 ½ ounces gin 2 ounces ginger beer
Lightly muddle lime juice, syrup, and mint. Add gin, and shake well. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Fill with ginger beer, and garnish with a sprig of mint.