There are many variations being crafted in restaurants and bars across the country of a cocktail known as the Mule. The original, the Moscow Mule, was invented in the 194’s out of blind luck and a bit of necessity. The infamous LA pub, the Cock ‘n Bull, had an overstock of both vodka and home-brewed ginger beer. The owner, Jack Morgan, feeling creative, decided to mix the two together and a legend was born.
Morgan named the cocktail the Moscow Mule as a tip of the hat to the spirit’s homeland as well as the drink’s profound ginger kick. The drink was served over ice with a squeeze of lime in a copper mug, the perfect vessel to keep it crisp and cool in the Cali heat. It just so happened that Morgan’s girlfriend owned a copper business and had a surplus to spare. It was meant to be.
Bartenders began modifying the Mule in different regions across the country. A few that have stuck around include the Caribbean Mule (rum), the Mexican Mule (tequila), the Gin Mule, and more recently the Kentucky Mule made with my favorite of the bunch – bourbon!
There are a number of spirit brands that come to mind that would make a fantastic mule, but there the folks over at St. Augustine Distillery are heads and shoulders above the rest. If you want to drink local it doesn’t get any closer than this. Every cane, grain, corn or citrus that goes into these boutique spirits is sourced by farmers in Florida and every spirit is hand crafted by head distiller Brendan Wheatley, whose “focus is ecologically sustainable farm to glass production with an emphasis in stacked agriculture tempered by quality first.” Production includes small batch vodka, gin, rum and a bourbon, all of which are currently available–except the bourbon. That’s still in the barrel, but they anticipate maturation sometime this year. If you’re in St. Augustine – GO experience this tour, take a road trip to make sure you experience history being made for a second time in that old ice plant – there’s definitely something in the water.
Heather Burton, ABC Wine & Spirits Supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcwineheatherb