Mint and ginger spice up this modern classic
Mules, we’ve heard, like to boast that their ancestors were horses. And true to form, this drink descends from some thoroughbred cocktails (more on that later).
But right now, you need to slake your thirst, no? So let’s mix up this refresher.
It’s a summery combo of gin and ginger beer (hence gin-gin), topped off with a fragrant mint garnish. And it can charm the hind legs off a donkey.
So lift a glass of this to your lips and kiss our . . . mule.
Recipe: The Gin-Gin Mule Cocktail
The Gin-Gin Mule was created by bartender extraordinaire Audrey Saunders (aka the Libation Goddess). More in the Notes.
The key components for this drink are gin (London dry variety) and ginger beer (homemade non-effervescent, preferably).
So why is this drink called a “mule”? Because it derives from the Moscow Mule Cocktail, which is a mix of vodka, lime, and ginger beer.
But it also borrows flavor from the Mojito Cocktail, a combo of white rum, mint, and lime.
This drink is fairly simple to prepare. But for full effect, you do need fresh mint and homemade ginger beer. The ginger beer sounds daunting, but the version you need for this drink isn’t fermented (that’s why it’s non-effervescent), so it’s actually pretty quick and easy to make (we provide Audrey Saunders’s recipe below). If you’re in a hurry, you can just substitute commercial ginger beer (see Notes).
Making the ginger beer takes about 10 minutes of active time. Then it needs to sit for about an hour before you use it.
Once you’re ready to go, this drink takes about 5 minutes to prepare. The recipe serves 1.
For Audrey Saunders's homemade ginger beer:
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ~12 fresh mint leaves
- ¾ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 1¾ ounces dry gin, preferably Tanqueray (see Notes)
- 1 ounce homemade ginger beer (see Notes if you want to substitute commercial ginger beer)
- a splash of soda water (very optional)
- 1 mint sprig for garnish (not really optional; see Notes)
- First, make the ginger beer: Roughly chop about 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger (a piece of ginger about 1½ inches; no need to peel). Then whiz the pieces in a mini food processor until finely shredded/grated. Bring 1 cup of water to boil in a small saucepan. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the chopped ginger, stir to combine, then cover the pan and let it sit for 1 hour so the flavor of the ginger permeates the water. When the hour is up, strain the water through a fine mesh strainer or a cheesecloth (we use a spoon to press down on the solids in order to extract more flavor). Add the lime juice and brown sugar to the liquid. Stir to combine. When the mixture is cool, funnel it into a squeeze bottle or a glass container and cap tightly. The ginger beer is now ready to use. It’ll keep in the refrigerator for about a week. (Good thing, because this recipe makes enough for several drinks.)
- When ready to mix the cocktail: Add the mint leaves, lime juice, and simple syrup to a shaker. Using a cocktail muddler or a wooden spoon, muddle the mint leaves briefly (5 seconds or so; you just want to bruise them enough to release some of their flavor). Add the gin and homemade ginger beer to the shaker, then add enough ice to fill the shaker halfway. Shake vigorously until the contents are chilled (20 seconds or so).
- Strain into an ice-filled highball or rocks glass. Top off with soda water, if desired (we don’t desire; see Notes). Add the mint sprig garnish and serve.
- If you’re using large glasses (ones that hold more than 9 or 10 ounces) to serve this drink, you might not have enough cocktail mix to fill them. You can add some soda water to top them off if you like. You’ll dilute the flavor of the drink if you do this – but you might prefer the drink made that way. So taste it both before and after adding the soda water to see which you favor (we much prefer to skip the soda water).
- We consider the mint sprig garnish an essential part of this cocktail. That’s because, as you drink, you’ll inhale its aroma. This increases the overall “mintiness” of the drink.
- BTW, mint is easy to grow and tends to spread like a weed. We always have a big patch of it in our garden.
- The homemade ginger beer required for this drink isn’t “real” ginger beer because it doesn’t contain yeast and hasn’t been fermented. The lack of fermentation means it doesn’t develop bubbles. But it has all the flavor of ginger beer. And because it isn’t effervescent, you can add it to a cocktail shaker with the other ingredients and shake it up. (We suppose you could add an effervescent liquid to a cocktail shaker if you want to live dangerously, but we don’t recommend it.)
- Want to use commercial ginger beer in this drink? Just follow the instructions in Step 2 of the recipe, but leave out the ginger beer (the commercial variety is effervescent, so you don’t want to shake it). Strain the contents of the shaker into an ice-filled glass, then top with the ginger beer.
- This drink requires dry gin (the London dry style is what you usually see at liquor stores). Saunders makes the drink with Tanqueray gin, so that’s what we use. But any decent dry gin will produce a worthy drink.
- Audrey Saunders has been mixing drinks since the 1990s. Early in her career, she worked with legendary bartender Dale DeGroff. She invented the Gin-Gin Mule in 2000 while working at the Beacon Restaurant on 58th Street in New York City. In 2005, she opened the innovative Pegu Club in New York’s Soho district. Sadly, the Pegu Club closed earlier this year, a victim of the Covid-19 business downturn.
“Wow,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Never knew I’d enjoy the kick of a mule.”
“This drink was mint to be,” I said. “Perfect cocktail to gin up on a hot day.”
“That’s a spirited answer,” said Mrs K R. “Speaking of which, this drink definitely lifts mine.”
“Ah, but your glass is empty now,” I said, “Looks like you’ve gin there, done that. Shall I bring you a refill?”
“Of course,” said Mrs K R. “Why be stubborn?”
Guess I’ll gin and bear it.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Moscow Mule Cocktail
Mint Julep Cocktail
Brandy Smash Cocktail
Queen's Park Swizzle Cocktail
Missionary's Downfall Cocktail
Or check out the index for more
Mint and gin..I would love it! This sounds and looks so refreshing.
Perfect summer cocktail!
Hi Angie, it's extremely refreshing. And tasty! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Balvinder, it's become one of our favorites -- incredible flavor. Thanks for the comment.
This drink sounds so good, I think I could swig it down to quench my thirst. I first came across Ginger Beer in Australia- they even sell it commercially in bottles!
Hi Fran, love the flavor of ginger beer. And this drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi R, yup. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Gin is one of the few distilled alcohols that I like. I guess the juniper taste that's the hallmark of gin completes the herbal and ginger flavors. It sure is easier to drink wine than to work so hard on a mixed drink.
be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Mae, it's a LOT easier just to open a bottle of wine. :-) But cocktails can have amazing flavor profiles. This is one of the best -- worth ordering at a restaurant with a decent bar when you can visit restaurants again. We "can" but won't for quite a while. :-( Thanks for the comment.
This looks and sounds wonderful!
Hi Pam, it is, it is. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks like a refreshing, cool summertime drink, John...I like ginger beer but have not tasted it from homemade. Thanks
I feel in love with the Moscow Mule a few years ago, so I know this one would be a hit as well. But what I'm loving the most here, is the recipe for ginger beer. I LOVE ginger beer but it is so expensive. It's nice to have the recipe for it as well as this delicious cocktail. Thanks!
Hi Pat, this homemade "ginger beer" really has terrific flavor -- fresh and spicy. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi MJ, commercial ginger beer is on the pricey side, isn't it? SO convenient, though. Thanks for the comment.
Loving this. Gin and mint might be my favorite duo. Add in the ginger beer and I could bray! Passing this on to the cocktail maker in the family!
So, a couple fo things... I need to learn about dry (vs. wet?) gin. I make my own gin - its basically herb-infused vodka but it is very good. Don't know if it is dry or not. I just was emailing about the fact that it is the time of year for me to make ginger beer. We usually do it around this time since it is so refreshing (yet hot). And, of course we grow mint. Lots of mint. We keep it in a pot to avoid the weed-like spread... and the roots came out the bottom of the pot and spread anyway. Amazing stuff, mint. Now, the drink looks and sounds truly amazing. I need to make a batch of the beer and we will be ready. (I also have Bombay Sapphire on hand, but don't know if that is dry, either...) Thanks, John - this is a winner!
Hi Abbe, we bray when we drink this. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi David, almost any gin you buy is going to be dry. There is some gin that's a bit sweet, which was very popular in the 19th century. Old Tom is the brand of sweet(ish) gin you're likely to see. Almost any brand of gin you've heard of is likely a dry gin -- including Bombay Sapphire. "London" gin was originally made in London, was much less sweet than the most popular gins of the day (which resembled Holland gin, a/k/a genever), and was very heavy on botanicals and herbs (particularly juniper). BTW, although those gins were on the sweet side, we're talking slightly sweet; not at all cloying. There are other styles of dry gins, but most dry gin these days really resembles London gin. I'll bet your gin does too, even though it's of course Tucson dry gin. :-) Anyway, I should probably just say "gin" instead of London gin, but do want to suggest a gin with a decent botanical flavor is what is wanted. Probably WAY too pedantic. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Now THIS is a cocktail I coud sip on all summer long! A refreshing way to beat the heat!
Hi Liz, although we've known about this drink for years, we only recently tried it. It's become one of our favorites. Wonderful summer drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.
that's an interesting recipe for the ginger beer. i've only ever made the stuff that sits around for a while. I made a batch one time that literally blew out the wall of our dining room! left a huge hole ... Love your photos here.
i am surprised you guys say ginger beer is expensive. it's just a regular soft drink price here in australia!
Hi Sherry, the blowout-the-wall kind is great, but that's why you really don't want to shake it up. :-) This has the same flavor of ginger beer (almost) but no bubbles. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Sherry, it's not THAT expensive, but much more so than soft drinks. But it's not a big seller here. We can buy inexpensive ersatz ginger ale which is basically a spicy soft drink -- not fermented at all, so it's not real "ale." Alas. :-) Thanks for the comment.
How refreshing, what a perfect pick me up and cool me down all in one. Ginger beer is amazing and you have created a sublime concoction here with more ginger and gin, bring on Friday night John, we will be making this one :D
I do enjoy a Moscow Mule when it is hot outside. This sounds equally refreshing, and I have all the components. This might be great for the weekend on the deck.
Looks so pretty and refreshing!
there is a company in queensland that is famous for their ginger beer - bundaberg. very very popular! and very delicious. oh yes and the famous tassie brand -cascade, another beauty.
John, thanks for the recipe for ginger beer. Never thought to do this as sometimes it is difficult to find ginger beer. A delicious balanced warming but refreshing drink. A great one to sit on the balcony and watch the sunset with.
Hi Sherry, haven't seen either of those brands! Although within the last 5 years or so there have been many more brands to choose from. Used to be just Goslings. Which is OK, but not that exciting. :-)
Hi Merryn, you'll love this! Really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Anne, bet this will become as regular for you! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Natalia, VERY refreshing. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Bobbi, we're seeing much more ginger beer in stores lately (by which I mean over the last few years). It's good stuff -- really like it. And this drink makes good use of it! Thanks for the comment.
You are the master of cocktails. It looks beautiful! Perfect for the hot season
Hi Holly, it's an extremely refreshing drink! Thanks for the comment.
I had something similar to this a few nights ago and loved it! Can't wait to try making it at home now!
Hi Ashley, this is such a good drink. :-) Enjoy! And thanks for the comment.
Concerned about Audrey Saunders' workplace which was closed due to an epidemic. We love to share the gin mule gin mocktail recipe from the recipe.
Hi Himawan Sant, that's a bummer, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.
this looks refreshing for a summer day :)
Hi Dahn, it's a fantastic drink. We're having another tonight. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Looks so refreshing!
Hi Josiah, it is, :-) Thanks for the comment.
"I guess I'll gin and bear it". Lol!
Hi Frank, :-) Thanks for the comment.
I’m having trouble commenting again!
I’ve made real ginger beer before, it was very effervescent! Too bad I don’t have any right now, this cocktail looks refreshing.
You are singing my song with this lovely drink because I love gin, and I love ginger even more! ;)
Hi Eva, sorry about the commenting difficulty -- I know it's a problem for some. I *think* it's a problem with the Safari browser -- although why Google can't figure this out is beyond me. My impression is the problem is only when trying to comment on phones or tablets, not on a computer. Very frustrating. Anyway, thanks for the comment.
Hi Carolyn, this is an outstanding drink -- definitely worth a try. We had it again this weekend. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I had homemade ginger beer at a restaurant once. It was so good and incredibly spicy in a great way. I can't wait to try this recipe.
Hi Laura, ginger beer is good stuff, isn't it? And the homemade version is terrific in this drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.
How great to make your own ginger beer for this! Love the pretty pastel colour it makes the finished cocktail.
Hi Caroline, the color is subtle but so nice! And the flavor is wonderful. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Sounds like a delicious refreshing way to beat the summer heat.
Hi Dawn, it's our new favorite way to beat the summer heat. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I don't think I've ever seen fresh mint looking so pretty. And yes please to the cocktail! :-) ~Valentina
Hi Valentina, I picked that mint about 20 minutes before I tool the photos. Fresh is good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This is going on my summer to-do list!
Hi Jeff, a worthy project. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I never had thought of using ginger beer with gin, such a great idea
Hi Raymund, it's an amazing combo -- really worth trying. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love ginger beer! This drink sounds like one we will have to try this summer!
Hi Judee, since you like ginger beer, you'll definitely like this. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks so appetizing! Thanks for sharing!
Hi Sonia, the ginger and mint flavors in this are awesome. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks so refreshing and I bet the ginger adds a nice kick to it. Will have to try making this this weekend! Thanks for sharing!
Hi Yi, bet you'll like this. It's a wonderful drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I have plenty of Gin and mint, Prost!
Hi Gerlinde, all you need! Well ginger beer, too, but that's easily obtainable. Thanks fore the comment.
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