After last week’s Dark & Stormy, I’ve been on something of a ginger beer kick. So we played around with some other drinks that use ginger beer to produce a drink that’s pretty spicy and effervescent but also light and crispy. The resulting cocktail is just as perfect for a spring day: the Normandy Mule.Â â€“ Andrew
Illustration by Caitlin KeeganÂ for Oh So Beautiful Paper
The Normandy Mule
2 oz Calvados (or Apple Brandy in a pinch)
4 oz Ginger Beer
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Combine everything over ice, give it a good stir, garnish with lemon and enjoy!
Calvados is an apple eau de vie, a brandy distilled from apple cider made exclusively in Normandy (hence the name). It tastes very much of apples, with plenty of spice and earthiness. It’s great for fall drinks, but I think the ginger beer (especially all those bubbles) and lemon juice lighten it up perfectly for the spring. You could use an American apple eau de vie just as easily, though we’d probably have to come up with another name for that one…
We named this one after the Moscow Mule, another drink that combines vodka with lime juice and ginger beer. The Moscow Mule was invented back in the 1940s and help introduce America to vodka, which might otherwise have remained hidden behind the Iron Curtain. Why didn’t we feature the Moscow Mule this week instead of making our own? Well, we have a simple rule in this house: no vodka! Vodka, by law, must be flavorless and odorless, a neutral spirit that adds nothing to a drink but alcohol. Since cocktails are an important part of classic American cuisine, and not just a way to get smashed, we think it’s important that our spirits have flavors too, and not just booze. So no vodka, and no vodka drinks. Which just means we get to improvise tasty drinks like the Normandy Mule instead.
David Embury, in his classic The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, had this to say on the subject:
I have known people who preferred grain alcohol or vodka, which is the same thing…These people drink primarily for the “kick,” and not for the taste. In my opinion, such people should not drink at all. Unfortunately, however, they are usually the ones who drink the most.
This from a guy who wrote a 400 page book on drinking. Amen.
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper