The Gin-Gin Mule
It might seem a relative newcomer to the pantheon of influential cocktails, but it would be dismissive to overlook, so stay with us. Though not as commercially well-known today as its vodka-based predecessor, the Moscow Mule, in terms of milestones in the modern cocktail world, it was a stepping stone for others to follow.
When Audrey Saunders opened Pegu Club, it was after years of honing a craft that only a select few at the time were even beginning to take seriously, and her approach to cocktails was groundbreaking.
She took an uncompromising stance on using fresh ingredients and, in the case of the Gin-Gin Mule, using a homemade ginger beer. A method that was developed in a kitchen to extract more of the fresh ginger flavor, she was able to add more spice and better flavor to the cocktail.
What made this seemingly innocuous move into a big deal, was that she took what bartenders use every night and set to improve it in the kitchen. Her use of the homemade ginger beer and fresh lime juice moved a further step away from the syrupy Rose's lime and sweet sodas of a few short years before (looking back at you, Frozen Margarita!). Very soon, this became commonplace, as any serious mixologist worth their shake(r) would attempt to use homemade mixtures and fresh ingredients in their cocktails whenever possible.
Saunders opened up the playing field for countless spinoffs, like PDT’s Mezcal Mule and the Penicillin of Milk & Honey fame (and arguably the most well-known modern classic). She also paved the way for innovators like Dave Arnold at Booker and Dax to further blur the line between the kitchen and the bar.
1½oz dry gin
¾oz housemade ginger beer
½oz fresh lime juice
½oz simple syrup
6 mint sprigs
Splash of soda water
Place mint leaves in a shaker and gently muddle with the lime juice and syrup. Add the gin and the ginger beer and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into an ice-filled glass and add a splash of soda. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lime wheel.
Nick Bennett is the bar captain at NYC cocktail bar Booker and Dax and Thrillist’s cocktail correspondent. Follow him @TheNickB for cocktail recipes and knowledge you didn’t know you wanted.