The Gin Chronicles Vol. 1: Mule Day

The ginger beer had traveled like a garden gnome, moving from shelf to shelf in the refrigerator by the natural process of shuffling leftover lasagna, bagged salads, bad mushrooms, and that jalapeño jelly that would have been perfect with the cheese and crackers the other night if only I could have found it. Seven moves is the limit, however; after that the peripatetic pilsner has to go.

The wife and I fancy ourselves connoisseurs of the grape, the tannin, and the sulfite headache. Red wine is our drink of choice when an adult beverage is called for, preferably cabs as our brutal American tongues have reduced the phonetically gorgeous cabernet sauvignon. When we feel like a cool drink, however, we normally go for a low-cal, refreshing gin and tonic (click here for our recipe, only 3 points on Weight Watchers!). A few days back as the mercury rose over 90 for the first time this year the mood felt right for a cool one. I opened the door of the fridge and noticed the ginger beer leaning precariously forward from atop a thawed chicken. I’d given Aimee a set of copper mugs as a gift not long ago. How about a Moscow Mule? I asked.

A Moscow Mule is pretty simple to make: several ice cubes in a copper mug, 1 ½ ounces of vodka, the juice of one lime, toss in the lime rind, fill with ginger beer. You don’t have to have a copper mug but if you do your drink will be in a copper mug, so there’s that. More important than the vessel is the ginger beer. Ginger beer is not ginger ale, although that would do in a pinch the way Coca Pepsi can substitute for root beer in a float if your ice cream just has to have a foam bath. You really want to use ginger beer and by ginger beer I mean ginger beer, not ginger beer. If you are confused, well the same thing happened to me.

I made the Moscow Mule, the copper mugs began to sweat, an invitation to drink if there ever was one on a southern day in late spring. We toasted to our never-ending love or to the day being over, one of the two, and sipped. Aimee’s face curdled like goat milk in a lemon bog. “Whatever is wrong with our beverage,” my bride did not say but the real version cannot be reprinted in this family-friendly publication. “It tastes like a poor man’s margarita,” she continued, which is an apt description as long as you accept that a poor man’s anything tastes like cat urine.

“What did you do?” she pressed.

“I don’t know. I put in the lime and the vodka and the ginger beer.” I picked up the mud-brown bottle of ginger beer.

“You used that?” she asked.


“That’s ginger beer.”

“Right,” I replied, still confused.

“Samuel Adams makes beer with ginger in it, not ginger beer.”



From left to right:  Ginger beer, ginger beer, copper mug.  Notice the mug on the Samuel Adams label looks like a copper mug.  Amiright?

We stared at our glasses and as if compelled, by Dionysus himself, took another sip.

“Pretty bad,” Aimee said.

“What do you want to do?”

She shrugged. “No point in wasting it.”

We sat down on the couch to drink our beer flavored with ginger plus mules and watched Manchester by the Sea. Have you seen it? Pretty appropriate pairing.

If you enjoyed this essay please forward it to a friend and share on Facebook.  If you want to keep reading please try my novels:

Departure Day

The Wandering: Departure Day Book II

Ciphers: Departure Day Book III

Eisodus: Departure Day Book IV


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