Moscow Mules are all the rage these days—and it’s not hard to see why. Not only are these timeless cocktails delicious, they’re also incredibly versatile. Whether it’s replacing the base spirit, adding a splash of bitters, or incorporating different fruits, if you can imagine a Moscow Mule variation, someone, somewhere, is probably mixing it right now. But of all the Mules in all the world, who is the true master? Companies like Tales of the Cocktail, Ketel One, Smirnoff, and ShakeStir have set out to find out.
1.Smirnoff Moscow Mule Competition Dubai
The Moscow Mule wouldn’t be if it weren’t for Smirnoff vodka, so it makes perfect sense that the company would sponsor its own Moscow Mule competition. The competition first took place in 2015 in Dubai as a means of celebrating the history of the iconic Smirnoff Red Vodka. Competitors from across the UAE participated in a series of training and masterclasses before putting their skills to the test. The competition now includes a junior and senior division. Twenty entrants are selected from each level to compete in the final rounds. Bartenders can make their Mule however they please, with just a few simple guidelines: it must contain 30 ml of Smirnoff Red Vodka and must be served in a copper mug. Junior bartenders may use up to four additional ingredients while senior contenders can use five.
2.Tales of the Cocktail Cocktail Competition
Tales of the Cocktail hosts an annual cocktail competition which features a different challenge each year. In 2016, competitors were asked to create their own version of the Moscow Mule. Bartenders were required to use a base spirit, ginger, and effervescence; but from there, it was all up to them. Over 400 people from all over the world applied to compete. The submissions were judged by a panel of experts including Jessica Gonzalez, Nicholas Jarrett, Dan Sabo, Alex Day, and Matt Seiter. Angel Teta of Portland’s Ataula bar took home the prize for her variation: El Burro Catalan. Try it yourself and let us know what you think!
1.75 oz Absolut Elyx
.75 oz Cigarrera Manzanilla Sherry
.25 oz Starvation Alley Fresh Pressed Cranberry
.25 oz natural cane syrup (1:1 sugar and water)
.25 oz lemon juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1.75 oz Fever Tree Ginger Beer
Shake all ingredients together except the ginger beer, double strain into copper mug, add ginger beer, top with pebble ice. Add two shorty straws and garnish with expressed and manicured lemon peel wrapped around 4 skewered dried cranberries, and two short skinny stir straws.
3. Shake Stir Moscow Mule Challenge Florida
Shake Stir is an online community catering to bartenders. The site profiles bartenders and bars all over the U.S. and hosts regional and national competitions, among other spirited events. In 2016, the site hosted a Moscow Mule Challenge in Florida, sponsored by Smirnoff Vodka. The prize went to Ben Potts of Beaker & Gray in Miami. His recipe, simply called Improved Moscow Mule, is a simple upgrade on the classic. Ben said he essentially capitalized on the Mule’s ginger kick by adding a touch more.
1.5 oz Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka
.25 oz ginger liqueur
.25 oz simple syrup
.25 oz lime juice
.25 oz Angostura Bitters
4 oz ginger beer
Build over regular ice, top with crushed ice, garnish with a mint sprig and lime wheel.
4.Ketel One Master of the Mule
Ketel One hosts its own Master of the Mule competitions. Recent events have been held in Orlando, Fla., and Atlanta, Ga. Again, the rules are pretty simple: select a base spirit of Ketel One Vodka, Ketel One Oranje, or Ketel One Citroen; build with flavors and a sweetener; no additional alcoholic ingredients allowed. The drink also must be based on the classic Moscow Mule incorporating some form of citrus, ginger beer, and vodka. Generally, two prizes are granted: one by judges and another from the crowd. In 2016, the first-place prize went to Blake Jones of The Courtesy for his cocktail The Green Blazer. The directions aren’t specified on the site but the ingredients are: Ketel One Vodka, Green Chartreuse, Serrano Pineapple Syrup, lime juice, and Q Ginger Beer.
Fancy yourself a master Mule maker? Share your recipe with us here!