08 Sep Cocktail of the Month: Kentucky Mule
Matthew Rowley calls the Kentucky Mule a “bourbon-fueled harbinger of excess,” and offers a great lesson in the history of the cocktail on his (sadly) now-defunct blog, Rowley’s Whiskey Forge.
The original mule—The Moscow Mule—was invented in the 1940s out of necessity as much as cocktail creativity. Jack Morgan, owner of the famous Los Angeles pub, Cock ‘n Bull,stocked more vodka and home-brewed ginger beer than his patrons could consume. One day he decided to mix the two and a legend was born.
He dubbed it the Moscow Mule—a tip of the cap to the spirit’s homeland as well as the drink’s ginger kick. The cocktail was served in a specially crafted copper mug over ice with a splash of lime, keeping the drink crisp cool in the California heat. The reason for the copper mugs—Morgan’s girlfriend owned a copper business and had surplus to spare. The Mule caught on with Hollywood’s A-Listers and the drink swept the nation.
Crafty bartenders across the country began experimenting with regional varieties of the Mule. The Caribbean Mule (rum), the Mexican Mule (tequila) and the Gin Gin Mule (why not?) were born. Somewhere along the line, some magnificent bastard thought to add bourbon to the mix to create the Kentucky Mule.
For The Ravens Club’s Kentucky Mule, we prefer the spice of Rittenhouse Rye over traditional bourbon. We add fresh lemon juice and our housemade ginger beer to a Collins glass (sorry, we don’t have any significant others in the copper business) to create a splendid late-summer cocktail.