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usher in its return

March 19 2010 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Uncategorized » 26 comments

Moscow Mules

You know what phrase I just love?  Cocktail hour.  Go ahead, try it out:

Cocktail hour.

mosaic9fd741a93a79288349770a53c76239cbc13e3503Moscow Mules

It just sounds good, doesn’t it?  It whips up visions of a tuxedo-ed bartender planted behind rows of bottles and glasses at a Gatsby-esque bash in a lush green backyard, or of sturdy tumblers filled with lime-pierced spirits sipped on a dock in northern Minnesota, or of crisp white wine poured on our deck as the sun begins to sink, or of bottles of beers cracked open at the beach, sand stuck to your toes.

Moscow Mules

I love what it signifies too: the end of the day, the beginning of the night—sharpening the otherwise blurry distinction between the two.  It means the time for getting things done, for rushing around and accomplishing, is happily over.  It requires a deceleration—a shift into relaxation mode, sinking into chairs, loosening ties, letting out deep sighs.

Moscow Mules

Unfortunately, though, cocktail hour, to me, is not a creature of the winter (though winter, at least in Chicago, is perhaps the time when we’re most in need of said cocktail hour) and I’m pretty sure it has something to do with winter’s daylight.  Or, more accurately, its lack thereof.  Cocktail hour happens before dark, don’t you think?  If you’re on vacation, in fact, it happens well before dark.  At its latest, cocktail hour skirts up against the minutes just after the sun sets, casting its colors across the sky, even though the sun itself had dipped out of sight.  And, during the past few winter months, darkness settled in at an hour at which cocktails are deemed indecent (unless on vacation; see above), eclipsing all opportunities for a proper cocktail hour.

Moscow Mules

But now that are clocks have sprung forward, we’re treated to later sunsets (seven! o! clock!), evenings that suddenly feel stretched out.  In other words, the time has returned for cocktail hour.  And, to usher in its return, I think we should talk Moscow Mules.
Do you know about Moscow Mules?  They’re Kevin’s current drink of choice (particularly when served in a copper cup) and I find myself stealing as many sips as possible.  Made up of vodka, fresh-squeezed lime juice and ginger beer (plus lots of ice), they are bright and refreshing—no small feat for a boozy drink.  They’re just the thing for your first spring cocktail hour.
Moscow Mules
Yield: 1 drink
1 1/2 oz vodka
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2/3 cup ginger beer, chilled (if you can’t find ginger beer, I think ginger simple syrup mixed with club soda would work well)

Garnish: a lime slice

Fill a 12-ounce glass three-fourths full with ice cubes. Add vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer and gently stir.

26 comments so far. »
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  1. tara says on March 19 2010 at 12:08 pm:

    I’ve recently fallen hard for yuzu, and have some yuzu ginger simple syrup knocking about. Tonight, it’s destined for a trip to Moscow. I do like a Friday night cocktail.

  2. Ivory says on March 19 2010 at 12:17 pm:

    Moscow Mules are a family favorite at our house, my dad mixes them by the gallon in the summer! However, you really need to try bundaberg ginger beer… it’s a million times better than reed’s!

  3. Adrienne says on March 19 2010 at 1:22 pm:

    Ginger beer is my favorite thing in cocktails! I can sometimes find the good stuff in the caribbean foods section of my grocery store – usually it’s in the “ethnic” section. Check the bottom shelf under the Goya products, and look for a 2 liter bottle with the words “It’s Peppery!” It is hands down the best ginger beer I’ve ever had, spicy and not too sweet.
    The kind you have pictured here (which I can get at Whole Foods near me) is good, but not spicy enough for my tastes.

    I’m lucky enough to live in Boston, a city with a fairly large Caribbean immigrant population and thusly lots of gingerbeer around, but if I can’t find it, I throw a couple whole, dried red chiles in while I’m making ginger simple syrup. They really give it a nice kick.

  4. Barefoot Belle says on March 19 2010 at 1:28 pm:

    These look so refreshing. Love the combo of ginger and lime–and love cocktail hour!

  5. Rose says on March 19 2010 at 1:36 pm:

    Ah thank you for that nice break! You transported me right out of my stodgy office onto a nice deck overlooking the bay at sundown. Now if only they’d let me close my eyes, put up my feet and make one of these – my workday would improve 100-fold! This looks great!

  6. Rachel says on March 19 2010 at 1:36 pm:

    These are by far my favorite drink! And drinking them in copper cups just kicks it up a notch. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the return of cocktail hour. Cheers!

  7. gwen says on March 19 2010 at 3:10 pm:

    i LOVE moscow mules! just learned about them at christmas this year! a big hit, a show stopper, a crowd pleaser indeed!

  8. Maddie says on March 19 2010 at 6:07 pm:

    I wanted to make these when my boyfriend returned from teaching English in Siberia — they just sounded so appropriately Russian, you know? And it was summer, the perfect season for cocktail hour. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find ginger beer, but you’ve inspired me to try harder! Thanks for the push.

  9. Peg says on March 19 2010 at 6:14 pm:

    Oooo — stop pouring good white wine on your deck. Wood can’t tell the difference between a good bottle and a bad bottle. ;-)

    Gonna definitely try your recipe one of these warm evenings that are finally starting to reappear! Sounds like just the right drink for a laid-back evening on our city balcony!

  10. Andrea [bella eats] says on March 19 2010 at 6:50 pm:

    This looks just perfect! 3 of my favorite things, you even used my preferred brand of ginger beer. Definitely picking up some this weekend to try these babies out, the weather will be perfect for them!

  11. Bit of Butter says on March 19 2010 at 11:03 pm:

    We must be on the same ‘winter please end’ wavelength…I just posted a recipe for Horse’s Necks (same drink but with gin) last week!

  12. Rose-Anne says on March 20 2010 at 7:05 am:

    Wow, these sound delightful! Is there any room on your deck for one more at cocktail hour? :-)

    I’ve really been enjoying your blog, happily reading and cooking my way through the archives. Thank you for sharing so much with us!

  13. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on March 20 2010 at 10:40 am:

    Tara: That sound positively wonderful. Hope you had a wonderful Friday night, cocktail and all.

    Ivory: By the gallon! I’ll keep my eye out for bundaberg.

    Adrienne: Thanks for the tip!

    Barefoot Belle: They are! Give them a try.

    Rose: Oh, it’s almost cruel to think about cocktail hour while still at work (particularly on a Friday afternoon) …

    Rachel: Glad to know another fan (of both the mule and the copper cup!).

    Gwen: I like the idea of these on Christmas — something bright and springy in the midst of all the winter fare.

    Maddie: Or you could try the ginger simple syrup/club soda substitution. If you do, let me know what you think!

    Peg: HA!

    Andrea: Please enjoy the spring weather enough for both you and me. It’s snowing (!!) here. So much for all my talk about al fresco cocktail hours …

    Bit of Butter: Interesting. I’ll have to check that out — I’ve never heard of that.

    Rose-Anne: Oh yes, there’s plenty of room for more. : ) Thanks so much for your note.

  14. Rebecca says on March 20 2010 at 1:02 pm:

    I need to try that drink!! I really hope this weather starts getting nicer because I think they would be the perfect beverage to enjoy out on my balcony :) Thanks for sharing!

  15. Polly Rice Sumner says on March 20 2010 at 5:03 pm:

    Yum. I got on a Moscow Mule kick for a while there, love ginger anything! I have been in love with greyhounds as of late (of course only fresh squeezed grapefruit and a dash of soda water) but I think I can convince myself to go back to an occasional MM.

  16. Chiara says on March 21 2010 at 9:18 am:

    Those made me thirsty! Unlike you I have no problem having cocktail hour in the dark =) but regardless of the time I love classic cocktails made with few, good ingredients like a Moscow Mule!

  17. kickpleat says on March 21 2010 at 1:17 pm:

    I do love a good cocktail and moscow mules are pretty delish. A good reminder to make some ginger syrup!

  18. Julia says on March 21 2010 at 5:15 pm:

    It’s return? With all due respect, I didn’t think it ever left! Cocktail hour is found during the dark by the fire as well as on the porch in the sun, as far as I’m concerned. That said, I’ve never had a Moscow Mule or a Horse’s Neck’s (who named that one??) for that matter, as I am a gin drinker, but I am certainly going to do so after seeing these very enticing cocktails!

  19. Sarah says on March 21 2010 at 6:30 pm:

    We love Moscow Mules! My husband’s grandmother introduced me to this drink. We even got a set of copper mugs from her, which I must say really make the drink. We enjoy them often in the Michigan summers.

  20. The Rowdy Chowgirl says on March 22 2010 at 1:48 pm:

    Can’t thank you enough for this recipe! We tried it over the weekend and heartily endorse it. Aside from being deliciously drinkable, Moscow Mules led to a lot of giggling….

  21. The Culinary Chronicles says on March 23 2010 at 4:41 pm:

    You have said my two favorite words “Cocktail Hour”….quickly followed by my second two favorite words “French Fries”.

    Thanks for sharing!! :)

  22. Aron says on March 23 2010 at 8:24 pm:

    Those are such nice photos! My wife likes to use that ginger beer to mix with dark rum. So good!

  23. Susan says on March 23 2010 at 8:29 pm:

    My current favorite is a version of this – a Horse’s Neck I believe it is called. Bourbon, Ginger Beer, fresh mint and lemon. I have won many a friend thanks to this drink… yum.

  24. Molly says on March 30 2010 at 11:43 pm:

    Hey stranger!! Too funny… This has been my drink of choice all winter. Newly discovered, but it will endure. So tasty! Miss you!

  25. Steven says on June 14 2010 at 9:17 pm:

    Kudos! We “found” Moscow Mules at a party a couple years ago and it’s almost (I said almost) embarassing how much we make these for guests. Ivory I completely second you on the Bundaberg. Hands-down best store-bought ginger beer. Oddly I can only find it at World Market in Chicago.

    If you have a couple of days to pre-plan, you can also make your own ginger beer. Super easy, really cheap, and honestly… about as good as Bundaberg.

    Recipe here: http://tinyurl.com/akrnwz


  26. truly, I do « bella eats says on June 18 2010 at 9:17 pm:

    [...] at the reservoir, and that those trips are the perfect opportunity for a picnic. I love drinking Moscow Mules on the back deck while watching fireflies glow in the trees, and the smell of sun screen and [...]

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