I have been a wine drinker for many years now. In my younger years I was quite the partier and I endured my fair share of really bad hangovers from chocolate cake shots, kamikazes and patron silver chased by a 32oz of tecate. I get the alcohol shivers every time I even think the word tequila. So it’s probably a little surprising that I have new love affair with this Cucumber Basil Moscow Mule.
Or maybe it isn’t. Moscow mules seem to be all the rage these days and those pretty copper mugs just make you want to have a drink! I finally got to courage to order one at dinner one night and I fell in love. Hard. The combination of ginger, mint, lime and bitters hit every one of my tastebuds and I didn’t even notice the vodka!
So I went on a mule binge. I ordered one every where it was offered on the menu. Then I decided to serve it at my New Year’s Eve party. I experimented with adding pomegranates, blood oranges, basil, mint, cucumber and after several concoctions I have settled on this version.
There are a couple of key ingredients that make this special and believe me when I say this – the ingredients matter.
First. Get your hands on this amazing vodka that is made from Fair Trade Quinoa. It’s amazing, it’s gluten free and it supports equality in farming. I’ve only seen it at Whole Foods Market but let me know if you spy it anywhere else.
Second. Buy Key Limes, or find someone with a tree and beg them for a basket full. Then give them a huge hug and a cocktail. In a pinch you can use regular limes but the key limes are tart, bitter, sweet and add the perfect Unami flavor to this drink.
Third. Buy bitters. This is non-negotiable. Bitters are the salt and pepper of the cocktail world and bring depth to the drink.
Fourth. Buy real ginger beer, not ginger ale, not ginger flavored beer. Ginger Beer. Reed’s is my favorite.
Other than that you don’t need any special equipment. I use a mason jar to make my drinks but if you have a fancy cocktail shaker by all means use that baby! OH and a microplanner is definitely needed for the zest as well but it’s not necessary. It’s really one of my favorite tools in the kitchen. You can watch a little video I put together on the ways to use it here.
Now on to the recipe.
Cucumber Basil Moscow Mule
Makes 2 cocktails. Download the recipe here.
1 Sprig of Basil
1 Sprig of Mint
4 cucumber slices
Zest and juice of one key lime
4 oz vodka (2 oz per drink)
1 bottle of ginger beer
couple dashes of bitters
In a cocktail shaker or mason jar combine torn basil, mint, cucumber, lime zest, lime juice and vodka. Add a good handful of ice, cover with a lid and shake it like crazy.
Strain the mixture into two glasses filled with ice. Divide the ginger beer between the two glasses and top with a couple dashes of bitters.
Mix and enjoy!
Or Pin for later.