This weekend we skipped our usual Friday night date at the C-Note Pub and I got to try out my mixology skills on a group of friends. Happily, they are STILL my friends! 🙂
Friday brought the long awaited Moscow Mule Party! I’ve been researching and practicing this depression era drink that is having a resurgence in bars and pubs everywhere. Not being one to do anything half way, I looked around and found copper cups, not cheap, but I did find some reasonably priced on Amazon. They are nice and large and really good looking. Good quality too and the Mule just isn’t the same without them.
In my research I came across many reviews for Ginger Beers. My conclusion: it all comes down to the heat. We had previously tried Cock and Bull and in our opinion it was TOO HOT! A search for “the best ginger beers” resulted in my finding Fever Tree. A friend told me that many of her friends suggested a ginger beer that can be purchased at Costco. Further research brought me to Bundaberg. Finally, since I’m a foodie and like to create, I found a recipe to make a simple syrup which, when mixed with Club Soda makes a version of homemade Ginger Beer. This is done by mixing equal parts of sugar and water (1 cup each) and boiling it down on the stove until the sugar is completely dissolved. In the meantime, 5 oz. of ginger root (the original recipe called for 10 oz.), one vanilla bean pod and 1 Cup of lime juice are run through a food processor. The resulting mixture is run through a mesh strainer, the juices mixed into the cooled syrup. At half the ginger, it was still plenty hot. Nose-hair-searing hot if you ask me.
As guests arrived, I allowed them to sample the ginger beers to see which one they liked the best. Most found the Bundaberg too sweet and not hot at all. Most would not even try the homemade batch. Overwhelmingly, the Fever Tree came out as the crowd favorite. It’s got the heat, but it builds slowly in the back of the throat. I like it a lot and would drink it on it’s own. It also makes a good Mule. It’s naturally low in calories too! What more could you ask for?
Basically, the Mule consists of mixing 1.5 oz of Vodka, a slice of lime muddled in the bottom of the cup, 4 tsp. (2/3 oz.) of lime juice and 6 oz. of the Ginger Beer of your choice in a mug filled 3/4 of the way with ice. Between the Ginger beer and the lime juice, the vodka is undetectable.
And can we talk about the copper cup for just a moment? I originally mixed these and served them in a glass when I was trying to figure out if this was something I even want to pursue. It was fine, but the copper, oh, the copper. The mug gets SUPER cold, like the aluminum pitcher filled with water my mom kept in the refrigerator on a hot summer day. There is a difference in the taste too, one I find difficult to describe, but it is most definitely better. The mug keeps the concoction frosty cold making this a GREAT choice for a summer beverage. It will sneak up on you though.
I also came up with a Caramel Apple version. For the Caramel Apple Mule I still used the lime, but only a scant 1/2 an oz. I used Caramel Vodka and 3.5 to 4 oz. of Apple Cider in it then topped it off with 4 oz. of Ginger Beer. This one was a favorite of the women of the group.
The Mules, and the fellowship, were both wonderful. I served up some Pulled Pork BBQ and some German Potato Salad and Slaw. The German Potato Salad, a family recipe of The Man’s family, was a big hit and I’ve been asked to share the recipe. I feel like this is as good a place as any.
The Man’s Hot German Potato Salad
5 lb. red potatoes, unpeeled
1 lb. Bacon, chopped
1 Big onion, Chopped
1/2 C. Flour
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp or less of Salt
1/2 C. Vinegar
1 C. Water
Black & Green olives to taste (optional)
Boil the potatoes with the skins on. When they are fork tender, but not so tender you could mash them, drain them and let them sit until they are cool enough to handle. Remove the skins (you should be able to just slip them off with your fingers) and chop them into bite-sized cubes.
Fry the bacon chunks (1 inch pieces) in a skillet until fully cooked (we like ours on the crispy side). Remove the bacon and add it to the potatoes and add the onion to the skillet with the bacon grease. Saute until the onion is tender.
Mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a small bowl. Add this mixture to the bacon grease in the skillet. Stir and cook until clear. Add in vinegar and water (make sure your face isn’t directly over the skillet. The vinegar will burn your nostrils!). Stir everything together until well combined and give it a little test (it should be tangy, sweet and salty). Adjust ingredients as necessary. Pour the hot mixture over the potatoes and add the olives if you like. Serve hot or even lukewarm. We’ve even put it in the crock and kept it on warm for potlucks and such. It is great the next day…and the day after that and…well, you get the point.