A Kentucky Bourbon Mule combines the best parts of a Moscow mule (tart and spicy juices!) with the depth of bourbon and freshness of mint.
As I mentioned in our last post, the weather here in Houston has been downright beastly. Conditions that make you hesitate before you venture somewhere that isn’t air conditioned. Unless it’s outside to grab a handful of mint to make these delightful Kentucky Bourbon Mules!
My introduction to the mule (albeit the Moscow variety) came at my sister’s wedding. It was their signature cocktail, and while I’d seen the drink on various menus, I’d never ordered one as I’m not too much of vodka drinker. Well that was my mistake. They were great! The tartness of the lime, the spiciness of the ginger beer, and of course, the inhibition neutralizing vodka, come together for one refreshing beverage. (I even danced.)
But the Kentucky bourbon mule came later…
Fast forward a couple years, and Liz and I found ourselves in downtown Houston, strolling into a cocktail bar called Moving Sidewalk. They make some crazy concoctions, many with liquors where Liz and I look at each other and mouth, “What’s that?” and then guess and Google rather than ask the bartenders.
Yeah, it’s that cool.
Anyway, looking at their menu, I was intrigued to find a modified version of the Moscow mule based around bourbon, called, logically, a Kentucky mule.
Bourbon! That’s my go-to spirit! So of course I had to order it. The fact that it was chilled with liquid nitrogen had absolutely no influence on me ordering it. No sir, I am not that easily suckered in, not me.
But setting aside the awesome thermodynamics, the drink was delicious. They went with bourbon, fresh mint, lime juice and ginger beer. In my opinion, there’s a bit more depth of flavor in this version than the original, courtesy of the more complex spirit and the fresh herbage.
Mint is something that we manage to grow (or at least not kill) at home. In fact, in the hot and humid climate, it goes positively bonkers. So it would only make sense that we tried to recreate this “Kentucky bourbon mule” in our own kitchen.
It took a few iterations (and let me tell you, taste testing cocktails is just exhausting), but we think the recipe below is the ideal Southern cousin to that most refreshing of Russians.
Whether you’re battling the heat, or you’re relaxing in air-conditioned bliss (yeah me too), this drink will be a welcome addition to your summer cocktail menu.
- Juice of 2 small limes (thoroughly juiced - if you're just squeezing it with your hand, throw in an extra lime)
- Handful of mint, plus some extra sprigs for garnish
- 6 oz. bourbon
- 6 oz. ginger beer (go for a spicy variety if you can find it!)
- Lime wedges for garnish
- Muddle the mint and lime juice in a shaker.
- Add bourbon and ice. Shake thoroughly and strain into two glasses - pre-chilled copper mule mugs if you got 'em!
- Top with ginger beer to taste. Garnish with extra mint sprigs and lime wedges.
Looking for more bourbon concoctions? We have a Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour you might enjoy next!