Less than a week to go before Tales of the Cocktail 2011 kicks off in New Orleans, and boy am I excited. Dan and I haven’t been on a proper vacation in two years—the last time we were in New Orleans—and this year’s TotC promises to be an event of greater magnitude than before. There are a myriad of seminars, parties, tastings, lunches, dinners and other opportunities to drink (and eat) yourself silly. Doesn’t it just sound like heaven?
To get everyone warmed up for the main event, here’s a modern classic that will be served during Ladies’ Choice: Women Behind Bars, the panel featuring some of the brightest female stars behind the stick including this drink’s creator, the awesome Audrey Saunders. The Gin-Gin Mule is a now-legendary staple in bartending repertoires—sort of a gin mojito, jazzed up with spicy ginger beer—that is a perfect summer refresher…especially if you’re facing some NOLA-style humidity.
6 mint sprigs
½ oz lime juice
½ oz simple syrup
1½ oz gin (London dry)
¾ oz ginger beer
Place mint, lime juice and simple syrup in your shaker and muddle gently. Add gin, fill with ice and shake. Strain into a double old-fashioned or Collins glass filled with fresh ice and top with the ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge and a spring of mint, and serve.
Note: If you, like Audrey Saunders, make your own homemade and non-carbonated ginger beer, add the ginger beer with the gin and shake. Once you’ve strained the drink into a glass, top with a splash of chilled soda water and serve.
If you’re a fan of a good gin & tonic, or of our beloved Richmond Gimlet, this drink won’t be much of a stretch for you. The spicy flavor of ginger plays beautifully with the mint and the bubbles make this a long, tall antidote to sweltering weather. Even better, it isn’t supremely boozy so you can enjoy a few, and the ingredients are very easy to come by. My favorite store-bought ginger beer is still Maine Root, but any ginger beer you can get your hands on should do. If you absolutely can’t find any and have to use ginger ale, muddle some fresh ginger into the drink with the lime to help boost the flavor.