Great places to try a Moscow Mule
The Moscow Mule is hauling its way to cocktail fame. The drink, made from vodka, ginger beer and lime, is finding mass popularity. “Last year it surpassed the margarita to become the most [Google] searched cocktail in America,” notes J.J. Resnick, whose company, MoscowCopper.com, sells the cups in which the drink’s traditionally served. While the Mule’s history is murky, Resnick credits his grandmother with helping create the drink in 1941, using surplus vessels from her father’s copper factory in Russia. The Smirnoff brand, said to be used in the original drink, celebrates Moscow Mule Day on March 3. Resnick shares some favorite places to try one with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.
This neighborhood bar served 18,000 Mules last year, making it by far the most popular item on its menu, Resnick says. Their cocktail stands out for the crushed ice, produced with a Japanese flaker, and for the locally made cane-sugar Goose Island Spicy Ginger Beer. “I really like the spice. Too many ginger beers are too sweet,” he says. luxbar.com
Resnick says the rustic industrial vibe in this former warehouse makes the South Boston craft cocktail bar a favorite stop. Bartenders make drinks to order, and their Mule is spot on, he says. “It has that feel of back when it was created. It’s a traditional old-school Mule in a really cool spot.” drinkfortpoint.com
Resnick learned about this restaurant’s fresh take on the drink when it beat out more than 400 competitors to win a contest at the 2016 Tales of the Cocktail conference in New Orleans. It’s made with local organic cranberry juice, sherry and Fever-Tree Ginger Beer from London. “I’ve never seen a Mule like it. It’s one of the best variations,” he says. ataulapdx.com
While you’ll find plenty of Mules in Vegas, Resnick swears by this spot at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, overseen by pioneering mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, who began creating craft cocktails in the 1990s and serves Mules made with crushed nugget ice. “He’s just incredible. He knows the tradition and history.” mandalaybay.com
Las Vegas' most luxurious stays
You can have your choice of Mules at this swanky lounge at the Epic Hotel. The Milano Mule uses Amaro, an Italian herbal liqueur, or you can try one made with lavender bitters. The hotel’s other bar, Area 31, has several Mule variations as well. “They’ve gotten creative, and it’s a cool place too,” Resnick says. liltlounge.com
Four Seasons Biltmore
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Located just a mile from Resnick’s home, this is his favorite place to grab a Mule. “It’s the drink of choice over there. They serve more Mules than anything else on the menu.” Variations offered by head bartender Tyler Ondatje include a blackberry mule with whiskey, lemon, honey and cayenne pepper; and a passionfruit-cucumber, which is Resnick’s favorite. fourseasons.com/santabarbara
This 1920s-styled saloon in Dallas’ Uptown neighborhood is one of the top Mule sellers in the country, Resnick says. “It’s super popular, a genuine classic.” And no need to imbibe on an empty stomach. While the focus is drinks, the watering hole is also known for its dining. tspdallas.com
This Hotel Jerome bar uses local Woody Creek vodka to make a drink that’s ideal after exploring the slopes. “It’s just that perfect spot in Aspen to go to sit down after a day of skiing,” Resnick says. “The Mule’s a great cocktail for the summer, but it and skiing go together like nothing else.” hoteljerome.aubergeresorts.com
This posh cocktail lounge with great views of Central Park and Columbus Circle is one of Manhattan’s top places for a drink, Resnick says. And their Mule lives up to the setting. “The menu changes often. They’ll always do one or two unique variations like a Whiskey Mule.” ascentloungenyc.com
33 Degrees North
Dana Point, Calif.
Not only are the Pacific views stunning at the Monarch Beach Resort, but so are the drinks, Resnick says. It serves a Dragon Mule, a runner-up in the Tales of the Cocktail contest, that’s made with Ketel One Orange, rhubarb bitters, fresh dragon fruit and ginger liqueur. “There’s something about passionfruit with ginger goes really well together.” monarchbeachresort.com