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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 and the bracing salinity of mezcal play with the sweetness and spice of the ginger ale.
It takes a familiar drink and makes it feel fresh and new. (For a similar trick, try substituting mezcal for the tequila in a Paloma.)
I like to make this with a homemade ginger syrup (which is a cinch to make) and soda water (I love my SodaStream), but I know that most people don’t want that hassle.
Use a good ginger ale or ginger beer that you like. My favorites are from Fever Tree, Fentiman’s, and Q (the brand).
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.
And you don’t need a bar stocked with all of the most obscure liqueurs either. (Not that there’s anything wrong with having that…)
While Moscow Mules and mule variations are traditionally served in copper mugs, the only real benefit of using a copper vessel, besides the aesthetic value, is that it helps to keep the drink nice and cold.
There’s some question about the safety of acidic ingredients like ginger ale and lime coming into contact with copper. (In Iowa, they’ve outlawed serving Moscow Mules in unlined copper mugs.)
There’s a concern that ingesting too much copper can make you sick. (I love the look of the copper cups in the photos here, but I no longer drink anything acidic out of them since learning more about the potential for a bad reaction.)
So you may want to look for mugs that are lined with stainless steel. But you can also just served it in whatever glassware you have.
So really, you have no excuse not to make one. Like right now.
This Mezcal Mule is a variation on the classic Moscow Mule, which is traditionally made with vodka. I love the smoky quality mezcal brings to the combination of ginger ale and lime, but you could certainly use another spirit here (honestly anything from gin to whiskey to rum will be good here) if you like. If you're interested in trying mezcal, Del Maguey Vida is a good affordable brand. Use any ginger ale or ginger beer you like (I'm a fan of Fever Tree, Fentiman's, and Q). Or, if you've made my homemade ginger syrup, use 1 1/2 ounces ginger syrup and 3 ounces of soda water. Please use fresh-squeezed lime juice and not the bottled stuff here. The mint is pretty and smells nice, but it's totally optional.
- 2 ounces mezcal
- 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 4 ounces ginger ale (or ginger beer)
- Fill your glass with ice, add the mezcal, lime juice, and ginger ale. Stir until cold. Garnish with mint if using. Serve.
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Fever-Tree - Premium Ginger Ale Mixers - 4 Pack
Fentimans, Ginger Beer 4pk/9.3oz.
Q Drinks, Soda Ginger Beer, 7.5 Fl Oz, 4 Pack
Cocktail Kingdom Teardrop Barspoon - Stainless Steel / 30cm
SodaStream Fizzi Sparkling Water Maker Starter Kit with 60L CO2 and 1L Bottle, Black
IMUSA USA VICTORIA-70007 Lemon Squeezer, Yellow
Hiware Reusable Glass Drinking Straws - 10" L x 10 mm W - Smoothie Straws for Milkshakes, Frozen Drinks, Smoothies, Bubble Tea - Environmentally Friendly
Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Trays, Sturdy Silicone, Fade Resistant, Stratus Blue, 1.25" Cubes - Set of 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 147Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 9mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 11gProtein: 0g
Thursday 7th of May 2020
I made this craft cocktail with a craft ginger lemonade, that has more flavour and less sugar than regular ginger beer — Gunna Drinks — ginger lemonade — delicious! Great recipe — thanks so much for the inspiration
Saturday 8th of April 2017
I once had a daughter, a fashion blogger friend of glitter guts. Hope she's thriving, and you as well. I have some secret receipies I made up. I may carry them to my grave or maybe share
Saturday 8th of April 2017
Is it really ok to drink out of copper" my Russian tea cups have glass liners. I heard that water stored in old style silver tea pots picks up the medicinal.anti-microbial qualities of silver itself. I got one but it's only silver plate. Hope it works. BTW Kasperzyk that's a pretty common name when I was struggling with the journal as the first girl lieutenant on the fire department there was a real neat fellow with that same name that I tried to emulate. If that's your dad, tell him I send my regards from Michiana
Annemarie @ justalittlebitofbacon
Monday 15th of August 2016
It's oppressively hot here too! I could use one of these right now. :) I'll have to search out some Mezcal, since that sounds so interesting and I need to try it.
Tuesday 23rd of August 2016
Thanks Anne Marie! You totally should!
Monday 15th of August 2016
I love your description of wavy hair in Chicago, and the way the air sweats! I have downright curly hair, and I live in McAllen, Texas (near the Gulf of Mexico). We had weeks of 100 plus temps with humidity nearly to match. My hair goes nuts. All that to say, a refreshing cocktail is always in order IMHO. The mezcal sounds intriguing. I am not much for vodka, and love gin. I think I need to pin this for the near future!
Friday 14th of February 2020
Girl. I was so worried about your hair until that epic recipe ... 3 ingredients the magical trifecta with your instruction!!! Woo weee you have made me a believer in the Mexican sweetness of the smoked agave and I am now a lover of the mezcal mule!!! Thank you for sharing your life with us. Yes! I am so with you-humidity does a number on my hair too! But this mezcal mule makes just not give a damn!
Tuesday 16th of August 2016
Ah, curly hair in humid weather! It's a constant struggle! You could totally make this with gin (there's a gin variation called a gin gin mule). If you're a fan of smoky flavors then mezcal is worth trying--if smoky sounds like too much, mezcal might not be your thing.