Celebrate Liberty with the Bastille Mule
While we in the USA celebrate our liberation from tyranny on the 4th of July we’re not the only ones who mark important days on the march to liberté, égalité and fraternité. The good citizens of France were hard on our heels at the end of the 18th century with perhaps the most important day in the calendar of the modern French state being July 14. Or, as it’s now known the world over, Bastille Day. As such, and in memory of the brave Parisians who risked life and limb to pull their nation from the dark ages, we present the Bastille Mule.
Just What Was the “Bastille”?
Before we delve into the creation of this most liberating of cocktails we should give a bit of background on the event that inspired it. The Bastille had been built during the middle of the 14th century as a fortress charged with protecting the eastern approaches to Paris from potential invaders. In time it was transformed into a prison where many political opponents of the monarchy wound up being incarcerated including the Marquis de Sade and the enlightenment writer Voltaire. However, by the time the people of Paris actually stormed the prison on July 14, 1789 it was virtually empty and was mostly reviled as a symbol of a corrupt and obsolete system that was desperately trying to cling to control.
Why Does it Matter to the French?
During July of that year events were unfolding quickly on a number of fronts. Louis XVI attempted to mollify the citizenry with a few empty gestures and the mob were having none of it. Leaders of the revolution formed their own National Assembly to draft a new constitution, while out in the streets the rank and file began looking for regime targets to take down. One of the places they laid siege to was the Bastille, where they demanded that those inside surrender. The man in charge of the prison, Bernard-René de Launay, decided it was better to negotiate than to fight. But when talks dragged on the mob became impatient. A group of men breached the outer wall and opened the doors of the Bastille from within. The crowd swarmed into the prison where frightened soldiers opened fire on them. Before the smoke cleared nearly 100 were dead and the fate of the Ancien Régime was sealed.
The Bastille Mule
France traveled a rocky path from revolution to modern egalitarian powerhouse but every French heart still keeps close the memory of those who perished in the cause of freedom. Today, Bastille Day is celebrated by free-thinking people in nearly every corner of the world and we’re only too happy to raise our copper mugs in salute as well. But not just any old drink will do. It has to be something special. So we put on our thinking caps and after long, arduous deliberation came up with this Moscow Mule variant we proudly call The Bastille Mule. Friends and neighbors will be storming your backyard fence with their Moscow Mule mugs at the ready to get a taste of this very French, very summery cocktail.
What You Need
but it could be any brand), ginger beer and lime juice, with a lime wedge and sprig of mint to garnish. But we’re going to take a decidedly different tack with our Bastille Mule. We’re going to swap out the vodka for cognac and toss in a combination of simple syrup and Angostura Bitters (they of the oversized label) to give the finished product some revolutionary zeal. As such the ingredient list for our Bastille Mule is as follows:
- 2 oz of cognac, your choice of brand
- 3/4 oz simple syrup
- 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters
- Ginger beer
- 1 oz lime juice
- Mint leaves
- Wedge of lime to garnish
- Copper mugs
Note: If you are unable to locate Angostura Bitters try Peychaud's bitters and if you are unable to find them as well try making your own bitters. It’s not hard and there are a million sites on the Internet that will teach you how it’s done.
Also note that there is no substituting the copper mugs. They are integral to the creation of a true Mule cocktail. Just as you wouldn’t serve brandy in a coffee mug or fine wine in a shot glass you can’t serve a Moscow Mule cocktail in anything other than Moscow Mule mugs. There are a number of websites out there that blithely overlook this point. They’ll try and convince you that standard juice glasses or coffee cups are acceptable substitutes for copper mugs. Without putting too fine a point on it, they’re not. If you don’t happen to have any copper Moscow Mule mugs we carry a wide array in our secure online store. Pick some up today and remember: free shipping in the continental US.
Now that we’re clear on the importance of the copper mug in the creation of the Mule let’s put our Bastille Mule together shall we?
- Place some mint leaves in a shaker along with the simple syrup and muddle
- Add the cognac, bitters and lime juice along with some ice and shake
- Fill one of your copper mugs with crushed ice
- Strain the mixture in the shaker into the mug
- Top up with ginger beer and stir gently
- Garnish with lime wedge and mint sprig
That’s it. You are now ready to toast the spirit of those hardy souls who put their lives on the line in the quest for liberty nearly 230 years ago.
The storming of the Bastille was a seminal event in world history that helped put wind under the wings of the fledgling French Revolution and helped point the way for subsequent democratic movements across the globe. This Bastille Day (or any day you find yourself in the mood) raise your copper mugs proudly toward the sky and join us in a hearty “Vive la France!”