When I was a child I didn’t really care about the latest fad. I never touched a tazo and I never collected Coca-Cola bottles. But one thing always got me – Kinder Surprise. Looking back realistically, perhaps I didn’t even like the chocolate that much. What I really wanted was the surprise. Although that’s funny, because if I had found the surprise without its delicious, traditional casing, I probably wouldn’t have been interested in it either.
The genius of the Kinder Egg is the combination of those elements. The two things together – coupled with the expectation of what’s inside the capsule make it irresistible to any child, whether three or sixty years old. No one can be indifferent and resist showing the slightest curiosity when opening a Kinder Egg. It is the perfect blend of gastronomic obsession and accumulating greed.
With cocktails, the Moscow Mule, the traditional version of the Whisky Mule (subject of this post), is very similar. The Moscow Mule is a mix of three elements to which no one paid attention, but which together form one of the most famous cocktails in the world.
Its history begins in the 30s, with a man named John Martin, President of G.F. Heublein & Brothers, a food import and export company. Martin had bought a small Canadian vodka distillery that just may have heard of: Smirnoff. His plan was to popularise the spirit in the USA. The problem was that those were rather hard times for anything related to Russia. The USA was fighting communism and drinking vodka was seen as an undeniably Bolchevik habit – kind of like eating little children, sodomizing people on the street and everything else that Americans thought Russian, homicidal, barbarian communists were doing.
Over a decade later, Martin was frustrated and exhausted. He had commented to his friend Jack Morgan, owner of the Cock ‘n Bull Bar in Los Angeles, about his difficulty in selling the drink. In turn, Jack explained that he was having similar problems with his handmade ginger beer, which he produced so lovingly. A third person who was also in the bar – and who has never been identified – complained that he had hundreds of copper mugs that weren’t easy to sell either.
Jack and Martin, therefore did what every drunk in a bar would do. They put the three things together. This is how they came up with a cocktail that contained vodka, ginger beer and lemon and was served in an elegant copper mug. A huge advertising campaign was organized and included the likes of the celebrities Woody Allen and Monique Van Vooren. The creation was named Moscow Mule, referring to the vodka and the intensity of the ginger flavour that had the kick of a mule. The cocktail was an instant success, and to this day is recognised for its characteristic copper cup.
The Whisky Mule, on the other hand, is the improved version of the cocktail. This time, improved not only because it contains whisky instead of vodka, but because it replaces ginger beer with an incredible lime and cardamom foam, originally created by bartender Marcelo Serrano, and later adapted for the Whisky Mule by another talented bartender. This, in the Dog’s opinion, is one of the most unbelievable emulsions in the world and he isn’t in the habit of categorising and classifying emulsions. It’s like Dave Wondrich once said, “vodka is like the boneless chicken breast of mixology – it’s all about the sauce.” In this case, not only the sauce was improved, the chicken was replaced with bourbon.
Making a Whisky Mule isn’t exactly simple. The problem is not really the cocktail, but the ginger foam. For best results you need a whipping siphon, a not so safe tool and both specific and a little expensive. It is possible however, to make the foam in a blender. So, for each cocktail it needs to be prepared again. Be that as it may, and without further ado, here is the recipe of the improved version of one of the most iconic cocktails of all time: The Whisky Mule:
- 30 ml of Tahiti lemon juice
- 50 ml of bourbon
- 15 ml of sugar syrup
- Ginger foam with cardamom*
- Mint leaf to finish
- Mix the syrup, Bourbon and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker.
- Pour the contents into a copper mug (OK, that’s kind of specific, you can use any mug or even a tumbler, I’ll let you off).
- Top it off with the ginger foam with cardamom.
- Grate nutmeg on top of the foam.
*For the foam:
- Peel 100 grams of fresh ginger.
- In the blender, mix up 100ml of water, 200ml of lemon juice and 100ml of sugar syrup, ginger and 3 cardamom pods on a high setting.
- Strain into another container and then return the liquid to the blender.
- Add a tea spoon of xanthan gum.
- Mix again and allow to cool in a refrigerator.
- If you have a whipping siphon, place the emulsion in the siphon ready to use when you make the cocktail. Shake well before serving.