While in Charleston I stopped by one of my favorite watering holes, The Rarebit, for a Moscow mule, their signature cocktail served in brilliant copper mugs (recipe below). The Moscow mule is a vodka-based adult beverage with spicy ginger beer, topped with tangy lime juice and poured over heaps of crushed ice. It’s kind of like a date night compromise, straddling the line between being manly (a copper mug, yo!) yet not as bitter or strong as a dark beer or a Manhattan. I love them.
I went to the Rarebit alone. The hubby took the kids to the Aquarium so that I could do a “photo walk” using my new camera, which really in the end meant that I just kept dropping in and out of restaurants, ordering food and photographing them with the pretense that I was “practicing” photography. When the hubby found out later that I’d spent a good half-hour idling about with a Moscow mule, he was grumpy. “Did you know you’ve been there like, five times, and I’ve never been there ever?”
I did not know that. And I was sorry for that. But I did not regret my alone time, nor my Moscow mule.
That being said, I figured that for Valentine’s Day this year I’ll make him a couple of Moscow mules at home to make it up to him. It’s not a hard drink to make, and I’m always scratching my head for gift ideas for him. I’ve put together some suggestions above on how to recreate a fun Valentine’s Day gift basket with all the essentials for making a Moscow mule cocktail hour for your special man friend (or lady lover, as it were). I’ve also included a way-too-easy recipe below for the perfect Moscow mule. While I recommend using the South Carolina-produced Blenheim’s Ginger Ale, a longtime favorite of mine since I was a kid, you can use any ginger beer using real ginger (note that Schweppe’s, which is probably what everyone thinks of first when it comes to ginger ale, no longer uses real ginger in their version, and that is a crying shame).
As for the Rarebit, if you ever have a chance to go, you should. Their chicken and waffles are pretty fantastic. The breading on the chicken is really nice and crunchy, and the waffles have a good crisp/fluffy contrast going on. The syrup is infused with sorghum, and, like all good Southern breakfast dishes, there’s whipped butter.
Oh, great. Now I’m craving fried chicken. Um…yeah. I’ve gotta go deal with this situation now.
While I’m gone, here’s the recipe for the Moscow mule.
- 2 ounces good quality vodka
- 5-7 ounces ginger beer
- ½ ounce lime (about the juice from 1 lime)
- lime zest
- lots of crushed ice
- copper mugs (optional)
- Rinse copper mugs with cold water and fill ⅔rds of the way full with crushed ice.
- Pour vodka over ice.
- Add lime juice.
- Add ginger beer and garnish with lime zest.
- Serve immediately.