One of the best winter cocktails is also one of the simplest. Hot Toddy is a staple cocktail in many people’s arsenal during the cooler months of the year. It’s actually a cocktail that I didn’t like very much until a year or two ago. My main problem with the drink is that it often tastes like watered down whiskey. My answer to this dilemma is to use tea instead of water. It adds extra depth to the flavor profile and makes it more interesting as a drink.
For this variation, I wanted to take a combination of flavors that are very familiar to a lot of people, namely those you would find in a mule. For anyone who’s had a mule in the heat of summer, you know the combination of lime and ginger is spicy and refreshing. So why not take this summer drink to drink and turn it into a delicious winter warmer? And while this cocktail is made with Irish whiskey, you can make it with any number of staple spirits, just like its cold cousin, the mule. For those unfamiliar with the music of Tom Waits, this is where this drink gets its name. As a huge fan myself, his album Mule Variations seemed like a suitable source for a drink name.
The mule cocktail actually falls into a larger beverage category called buck. Buck is a drink that uses either ginger ale or ginger ale, citrus fruits, and a base alcohol. Supposedly, the male gets his name from the addition of a glass of whiskey to the popular Horse’s Neck soft drink, which consists of ginger ale and lemon juice. The addition of whiskey gave the horse a ‘kick’, hence a runoff horse, which was then reduced to a single dollar.
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For this mule, I wanted to use an Irish whiskey and one of my favorites lately is the Slane Irish Whiskey. Its triple barrel finish gives an intricate nose and finish and gives a nice depth that I haven’t seen in many whiskeys at this price point. Its notes of fruit and spices blend perfectly with lime and ginger for a well-balanced and extra drinkable toddy. In these gray winter days, we all need a little something to remind us of the warmer days ahead, and that’s exactly what this drink does for me. Cheers!
Behind the mule
- 5 ounces of ginger tea
- 1 1/2 oz Slane Irish Whiskey
- 3/4 oz lime juice
- 3/4 oz honey syrup (equal parts honey and hot water)
- Lime wheel with cloves for garnish
Brew your tea and remove the tea bag after brewing for 3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Decorate with the lime wheel studded with cloves or a few pieces of sliced ginger. Everything your spicy little heart desires!