As the rise of craft cocktails has slowly but surely taken over, one trend that’s unmistakable is the popularity of the Moscow mule. In fact, it’s grown on menus about 23% year-over-year, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor. Its ubiquitous copper mug can be seen across restaurant tables and bars all over, and for operators, the opportunity’s rich to create their own spin on this classic cocktail.
The Moscow mule, made with vodka, ginger beer and lime juice, garnished with a wedge of lime, is a refreshing and uncomplicated drink, yet few people would call it simple. But why leave well enough alone? There are several ways to switch up a basic Moscow mule to give diners the chance to branch out a little bit. Here are a few creative ideas.
Change the base spirit
Switching up the drink’s classic vodka base is a quick and easy way to customize a Moscow mule. Swap in bourbon for a Kentucky mule, or add in gin for a cocktail that’s like a gin & tonic in flavor profile.
For tequila and mezcal lovers, variations on a Mexican mule fit the bill. And on St. Patrick’s Day, bars can substitute the standard vodka for an Irish whiskey-based mule.
Add fresh produce
Adding fresh fruits or even veggies to a Moscow mule is a great way to shake things up. For instance, skewer a few blueberries for a fresh garnish (adding blueberry puree to the whole cocktail is also a way to mix things up). Other fruits work well in this way, too—think strawberries or raspberries, for instance.
If ginger beer isn’t spicy enough, try adding in thin slices of jalapeno to the cocktail glass (or muddle it prior to mixing) and enjoy a cocktail with a serious kick.
Add a unique edge
Shake in a few dashes of bitters or a few drops of elderflower or another unique liqueur to round out a Moscow mule. Depending on what’s added, it might become a totally different cocktail. Similarly, adding an ingredient like grenadine—a sweet syrup made with pomegranates—can give a Moscow mule another great tasting layer of flavor with minimal effort involved. Mint can also be added to the original mule, drawing to mind the flavors of a mojito.
Some bars have even experimented with the format the drink is served in—for instance, instead of in a cocktail glass, the flavors are frozen into molds and served as popsicles, or blended with gelatin to create fun Jell-O shot mules.
For operators who want to offer their clientele something new, creating new twists on classic cocktails like the Moscow mule is a great way to start.
This post is sponsored by Island Oasis