The Moscow Mule has been with us since 1941, when it was invented by a trio of liquor executives. One of them was a vodka purveyor (Smirnoff, which gave rise to the Russian motif); another sold ginger beer, and the third owned a restaurant in Los Angeles, where the drink was launched. From the beginning it was served in a copper mug, which reacts with the acids in the lime juice to give the cocktail a distinctive taste. The cocktail is so popular it has drawn many spinoffs that have made their way to the menus of local watering holes. We found a handful of bars in Naples that have put their own creative spin on it.
Bar Tulia’s Defiant Strawberry makes use of Defiant Single Malt Whiskey, blended with house made Arbolo chili tincture and strawberry syrup combined with lime juice and Fever Tree ginger beer. “There were gorgeous strawberries in season,” says Christie Hawley, the bar manager. “and we also liked the idea of using an American single malt in place of vodka.”
At Cavo Lounge, the Mango Mule is easily the best-selling drink. Cavo’s general manager Jason Buro loves the combination of rosemary and lime muddled in mango puree: “We start with the contrast between the fresh herb and the sweetness of the mango, add the tartness of the ginger beer, and finish it off with Ketel One.”
The Pub Naples serves up the Irish Mule, which substitutes Jameson Caskmates whiskey for the traditional vodka. The rest of the recipe remains the same. “We’re a British pub and we serve a lot of brown spirits, so we wanted to put our own spin on the popularity of the Mule,” says Danielle Martinez, The Pub’s general manager.
Other local variations include the Clementine Mule at The Bay House, where Svedka Clementine vodka and cranberry juice provides a citrus-infused take on the drink. At Hobnob Kitchen and Bar, customers can choose one of three vodkas as their base spirit (Three Olives Peach, St. George Green Chile or Reyka), or opt for Cruzan Strawberry Rum instead.