All in a Name
A global tale of a classic cocktail as an ironic catalyst for Ukrainian solidarity
In January, Drinks International released its list of the most-ordered cocktails around the globe after surveying the world’s top 100 establishments. The 81-year-old Moscow mule ascended to the “top 10” rank among “The World’s Best-Selling Classic Cocktails in 2022.”
A few weeks later, the popular summertime cocktail and its copper mule mugs had oddly vanished from bars and Russian vodka was being poured into the streets.
Bartenders from Broussard to Bethesda began showing their support for Ukraine by renaming the classic vodka-ginger-lime drink with monikers that are still evolving: Caddies Sports Bar in Bethesda replaced Moscow mules with Kyiv mules; San Francisco’s chic Madrone Art Bar switched to Ukrainian mules for its collector cognoscenti; Em Chamas Brazilian Grill came up with Snake Island mules for Kansas City’s flamboyant carnivores; Atlanta’s farm-to-table Deer and the Dove created Buck the Invasion; and the Russian House of Austin permanently changed its name to simply House for Ukrainian patrons.
In Acadiana, where Cajun humor and nicknames often prevail during moments of political turmoil, bar manager Jamie Maurin cleverly concocted the tasty Tee-Donk (little donkey) at Misfits Dine and Drink (misfitsdineanddrink.com), a creative Italian haven in Broussard named for the Island of Misfit Toys “who are just like us,” she says.
“It’s my twist on a classic Moscow mule, but I substitute local Wildcat Brothers white rum for vodka, blended with fresh basil, lemon and blueberry puree.” Filled to the brim of a frosty copper mule mug, the refreshing drink has the power to repel heat waves and hurricanes after a few rounds.
As to the renaming of the Moscow mule in protest, names are often deceptive. The cocktail has no Russian roots whatsoever but was dreamed up in Hollywood at the Cock ‘n’ Bull English pub, a hangout for Hollywood elite. In 1941, a couple of American entrepreneurs got tight experimenting with their surplus booze and a new star was born amid the grit and glamour of Sunset Strip.
2 ounces Wildcat Brothers Sweet Crude Rum
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
1-ounce Monin blueberry puree
3-4 fresh basil leaves
Lemon wheel for garnish
Ginger beer to taste
Place all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake well. Strain into a copper mule mug over ice and top with ginger beer. Garnish with fresh basil leaf and a lemon wheel.