A Mezcal Mule, beaded with condensation, is a beautiful thing.
Especially when the weather is oppressive.
It’s been so hot and humid these last few weeks that when I step outside it feels like the air around me is sweating. My naturally wavy hair, which I straighten these days, has developed a persistent swoop that no amount of round brushing and product will coax flat. In this kind of weather, I feel the need to change my clothes at least three times a day and usually shower at least twice.
It is mid-August, which is when we come to expect this kind of weather in Chicago. But this year has had what feels like a longer than average run of it with little relief.
Mostly, I’ve tried to avoid going outside. Which is, uh, an unrealistic strategy.
A better strategy, I’ve found, is treating myself to a cold drink after I’ve made one of those inevitable forays into the unpleasantness.
Which brings me back to the Mezcal Mule. It’s a variation on the classic Moscow Mule, which is traditionally a vodka drink. I’m not much of a vodka person. I tend to think any vodka drink would be more interesting with gin or just about any other base spirit, pretty much all of which have more character. But if you’re a fan of the classic, by all means drink it that way.
This Mezcal Mule uses mezcal, ginger ale, and lime. And it’s so completely refreshing. Mezcal, if you don’t know it, is an agave-based spirit with a much smokier, richer flavor than the more familiar agave-based tequila. I love the way the smoky flavors play with the sweetness and spice of the ginger ale. I make this with a homemade ginger syrup (which is a cinch to make) and soda water (I love my SodaStream), but you could also just use a nice store-bought ginger ale. Then all you need is some fresh-squeezed lime juice (don’t use the pre-bottled stuff) and some ice. I like to garnish this with a bunch of mint for an herbaceous fragrance on the nose. I think it smells nice and makes the drink look pretty, but it’s a totally optional flourish.
It’s a simple drink that you build in the same glass you drink it in, which removes the need for anything in the way of fancy equipment. While Moscow Mules are traditionally served in copper mugs (or, in my house, these handle-free copper cups [and just try not to drool while you browse the other housewares on food52…]), you can absolutely make them in a basic tumbler or rocks glass.
So really, you have no excuse not to make one. Like right now.
- 2 ounces mezcal
- 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1 1/2 ounces ginger syrup
- 3 ounces soda water or use 4 ounces of ginger ale in place of the syrup + soda water
- Fill your glass with ice, add the mezcal, lime juice, ginger syrup, and soda water (or ginger ale). Stir until cold. Garnish with mint if using. Serve.