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An Old World Twist on the Moscow Mule: The Mediterranean Mule

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The venerable Moscow Mule has become one of the most popular cocktails on planet earth, not only because of its ability to refresh or its signature copper mug but because mixologists the world over have discovered it’s actually one of the most versatile drinks ever invented. Variations run the gamut from those based on different fruits (the Cranberry Mule, the Blueberry Mule) to those based on holidays (the Yule Mule) to those based on regional or national tastes (the Mexican Mule, the Kentucky Mule). As such we present you with our latest regional discovery: the Mediterranean Mule.

The Mediterranean Mule

A Moveable Feast

While the number of variations in each of the above categories is growing fast the one place where the Mule’s popularity as a global phenomenon is really measured is in the proliferation of regional and national variants. These include the aforementioned Mexican Mule, the Mumbai Mule, the Kentucky Mule and the Shanghai Mule. It’s this ability to adapt to the local palette that truly sets the Mule apart from other, more set-in-stone cocktails like the Martini or even the Margarita.

It was just a matter of time before folks in the Old World took notice of the Mule phenomenon and wanted to get in on the act. And we’re glad they did because, while this Mule variant doesn’t really come as a big surprise, it is a very welcome addition to the Mule Pantheon. There are a couple of recipes for the Mediterranean variant of the Moscow Mule with each slightly tweaking the ingredients and/or amounts. For this post - as with all our Moscow Mule variation posts - we’re going with the one we like best because, well... because we can. Although we also encourage you to seek out other recipes or come up with your own twist.

Making the Mediterranean Mule “Mediterranean”

The Mediterranean Mule Recipe

So just how could one tweak a Moscow Mule to make it sufficiently Mediterranean (short of using garlic and olives that is)? Well it pretty much begins and ends with the ingredients. In this case one starts with fig vodka. Fig vodka? That’s right, fig vodka. Like most folks you probably didn’t know there was such a thing but happily for us there is. In fact, there are several brands of fig vodka that are commercially available in the U.S. and any one of them will serve you well here. If you’re more of a hands-on person you can even make your own. It’s incredibly easy and here’s how to do it.

  • Take 24 ounces of your favorite vodka and a dozen dried figs and combine them in a jar.
  • Cover the jar and let it sit for 2 days.
  • Strain the resulting vodka concoction into another container and seal it tightly. (Make sure you’ve removed all the figs and any ‘debris’ from them).
  • Place it in the refrigerator and let it stay there for 3 weeks.
  • Viola! Fig vodka!

(Obviously, if you’re going to serve this variation of the Moscow Mule at an upcoming party you’ll need to be sure you start preparing your homemade fig vodka at least 3 weeks in advance.)

So now you have your fig vodka, but you’re not quite ready to rock just yet. First you’ll need some limoncello. “Limon-what-o?” Limoncello. It’s an Italian lemon liqueur that originates from and is quite popular in southern Italy, particularly around Naples and on the islands of Procida and Capri. It’s widely available in the States though you may have to visit several shops to find it.

Now we that we’ve got our two Mediterranean ingredients our full ingredient list looks like this:

  • 3 ozs of fig vodka
  • 1 oz of limoncello
  • ½ cup ginger beer (not ginger ale)
  • 1 thyme sprig (garnish)
  • ice cubes
  • Copper mug

The Recipe

We’ve seen Moscow Mule variation recipes that suggest it’s okay to mix the drink in a standard glass. It’s not. For a drink to qualify as a real Mule it must be served in a copper mug (we have a wide variety available should you need them). Now that we’re clear on that here’s the Mediterranean Mule recipe:

  • Fill your copper mug with ice.
  • Add the fig vodka and limoncello.
  • Add the ginger beer.
  • Stir gently and add thyme sprig as garnish.
  • Enjoy!

You can also add ½ of a fresh fig as a garnish as well. It really makes you feel like you’re enjoying La Dolce Vita.

We’re pretty sure that once you taste this Mule variation you’ll be hooked (in a good way). The zesty limoncello, the subtle sweetness of the figs and the aromatic properties of the ginger beer combine to engage your tastebuds in a way few cocktails ever will. It’s truly one of the most unique, interesting and tasty variations on Ye Olde Moscow Mule and one that is sure to find a wider audience in the near future.

The Importance of the Copper Mug

We said it earlier but we’re going to reiterate it just so that there’s no mistake. For a cocktail to be considered a Moscow Mule, Mediterranean Mule or any of the dozens of other Mule variants it must be served in a copper mug. Notice we didn’t say “should be served” or “we suggest you serve”. The copper mug was there at the Mule’s birth in the Cock’n Bull tavern on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles 70-odd years ago and it has been with it ever since. It’s more than just something to put the drink in. It’s part of the Mediterranean Mule recipe.

Just thinking about the Mediterranean Mule is making us thirsty. It’s also making us yearn to spend an evening enjoying one or two in a quaint little cafe near the Spanish Stairs while lovers kiss under the stars and bystanders take in the Roman Way. Maybe this summer… Be sure to visit our blog where you’ll discover plenty of other variations on the Moscow Mule as well as helpful info on how to maintain your copper mugs. Until next time...



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