- I tried Moscow Mule recipes from celebrity chefs Nancy Fuller, Giada De Laurentiis, Geoffrey Zakarian, and Michael Symon.
- My favourite Moscow Mule was from De Laurentiis, and it required some homemade ingredients.
- Fuller’s recipe had tasty homemade ginger syrup but it was overpowered by tonic water.
- Symon’s Moscow Mule contained bourbon and was super easy to make.
- Zakarian’s recipe was pretty unique but I didn’t love the orange-juice component of it.
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The Moscow Mule is a delightful cocktail that’s commonly flavored with mint, lime, and ginger.
What makes this cocktail especially appealing is that it’s typically served in a chilled copper mug, which makes the drink incredibly cold and refreshing.
And pros have been putting their own twist on this cocktail for years. To find the best drink, I tried to make Moscow Mules using recipes from four celebrity chefs: Nancy Fuller, Giada De Laurentiis, Geoffrey Zakarian, and Michael Symon.
Read on to see how each one tasted and how they all stacked up.
Fuller’s classic Moscow Mule has a homemade ginger syrup
Fuller, a “Holiday Baking Championship” judge on Food Network, has a simple, straightforward Moscow Mule recipe.
Although it lacks lime juice, the recipe for a homemade ginger simple syrup caught my eye and I was excited to try Fuller’s twist on this cocktail.
But instead of ginger beer, a common Moscow Mule ingredient, the recipe asks for tonic water, which isn’t a favourite of mine. I hoped the ginger syrup would balance out the tonic water.
Once the simple syrup was made, this drink was a breeze to put together
The only thing that really took time to prepare was the ginger simple syrup, which quickly came together in under 10 minutes.
I let it cool in the fridge for about an hour, then stirred the vodka and syrup together and poured this mixture over ice. I topped this with tonic water, then added fresh mint and a slice of lime to garnish.
Although the syrup took a while to make, it yielded a full squeeze bottle’s worth, so I had enough to make multiple drinks.
I cut the recipe from 10 servings to one and, in doing so, realised I didn’t have a measurement for how much simple syrup to use. I added 1/2 an ounce, which is a pretty standard amount of simple syrup for most cocktail recipes.
As I predicted, the tonic water overpowered the drink
Unfortunately, all I could taste was tonic water, which I don’t like.
If this had ginger beer, I think it would actually be perfect: it had a delicious, sweet-and-spicy ginger syrup, mint, and vodka taste, but the tonic water overpowered the entire drink with a really bitter flavour.
I felt like I could really flex my bartending skills with De Laurentiis’ Moscow Mule recipe
Sure, I could shake up some vodka and simple syrup and call it a day, but with De Laurentiis’ recipe, I got to experiment with making my own mint-infused vodka and homemade ginger simple syrup.
Aside from those two ingredients, this recipe is easy: sparkling water and lemon, lime, and mint for garnish.
The recipe sounded intimidating and required about three days to infuse vodka, but I was confident the results would pay off.
The simple syrup and vodka took time to prepare, but this drink was worth the wait
According to the recipe, I needed to soak fresh mint in vodka for at least three days. I was in a bit of a time crunch and didn’t want my vodka to be too strong, so I actually soaked the mint for just one day and it still turned out great.
Since I made the ginger simple syrup for another Moscow Mule recipe, this was even easier to mix up. I added the simple syrup and vodka to a shaker with ice, poured it into a copper mug also filled with ice, then topped the concoction off with sparkling water.
The garnish consisted of a lime slice, a lemon slice, and a sprig of fresh mint.
This Moscow Mule was very refreshing
It was hard to not drink this cocktail like water. It was cold and refreshing, and the ginger and mint flavours came through equally. I loved all of the garnish, which made the drink look extra fancy.
This recipe called for quite a lot of the ginger simple syrup, which gave the drink plenty of that flavour. I actually didn’t miss the ginger beer that typically comes in Moscow Mules and can sometimes be too spicy for my tastebuds.
The only thing I’d add to this drink is a splash of freshly squeezed lime juice to cut some of the sweetness of the syrup.
Zakarian put his own twist on a Moscow Mule
By swapping lime for cranberry and orange juices, Zakarian has made a holiday drink called a Moscow turkey.
The ingredients for this are pretty unique compared to a traditional Mule â€” and there’s no lime or mint. Another interesting aspect of this recipe is that it calls for soaking dried cranberries in simple syrup for an hour before making the drink.
If you have simple syrup on hand, this drink is quick and easy to make
Since we like to experiment with cocktail-making in my home, I already had simple syrup on hand, which effectively cut some of the prep time for this recipe.
Aside from that, soaking the cranberries for an hour was slightly time-consuming, especially for just a garnish, but at least it was quite hands-off.
Once the cranberries were ready, I just shook the juices, vodka, and simple syrup with ice before pouring it into a copper mug. I topped it with ginger beer and the simple syrup-soaked cranberries.
I could really only taste the orange juice
I was pretty surprised when I took my first sip and only tasted orange juice. I took several more sips to try to decipher any other flavours, but I only got the slightest kick from the ginger beer.
I like orange juice, so this wasn’t bad, but for a cocktail, I think it could’ve been stronger. With such a powerful orange-juice flavour, this drink would be great for brunch.
For my own taste preferences, I’d actually nix the orange juice and add lime juice for a cranberry-lime flavour.
Symon uses bourbon in his recipe for a Kentucky Mule
For a twist on the classic Moscow Mule, Symon swaps vodka for bourbon in his Kentucky Mule recipe.
But I was thrown off that this recipe didn’t have any sweetening agent â€” just bourbon, ice, lime juice, and ginger beer.
I made this drink in about two minutes
This was the easiest recipe of the four, and with only four ingredients I had a cocktail ready to drink in just a couple of minutes. I simply added everything to my copper mug and stirred.
I was glad I didn’t have to fuss with a garnish, although I do love a gorgeous one. That said, the drink was ready in about two minutes.
I don’t have a Collins glass as specified in the recipe, so I just used the classic copper mug.
This drink was strong and spicy
Whew! This drink was certainly strong and extra spicy.
My grocery store only had one brand of ginger beer that prides itself on being very spicy, so that certainly contributed, but the bourbon also tasted strong.
This drink needed a bit more lime juice and some simple syrup to balance the flavours. The ginger beer and lime were refreshing, but this cocktail was a tad too spicy for my taste.
Overall, De Laurentiis has gotten me hooked on mules made with mint vodka and ginger simple syrup
Although De Laurentiis’ recipe did require extra steps and more time to make, the results were worth it.
The drink was refreshing and had the classic flavours of a Moscow Mule. The only thing I’d do differently is add a splash of lime juice.
But the other recipes had great qualities as well. Fuller’s recipe would be delicious if I swapped tonic water for ginger beer. I’d love Zakarian’s Moscow Mule if I replaced the orange juice with lime juice, and Symon’s recipe just needs a bit of sweetener to tame all of that spicy ginger beer.
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