From Moscow to Texas, this fruity mule is a winner.
Remember how we said we were mesmerized by the basil-infused ice cube in our Fresa Gin Tonic from MAD Houston? We weren’t joking. That one seaweed-colored cube, arguably one of the least-significant aspects of the evening we spent at MAD, was the spark for this week’s cocktail recipe. The Fresa Gin Tonic was a delicious complement to our meal, and we loved the idea of having herbs in a cocktail, so we decided to take the key ingredients–strawberries and basil–and book them a first-class ticket to Russia.
We’re both big fans of the Moscow Mule, even if technically it originated far from Moscow…in a British pub…in Los Angeles. Regardless, it’s a quick, easy cocktail that always feels just a little bit extra with its spice and its shiny copper mug. It was the perfect palate base for adding our ingredients. We loosely based our version off this recipe from The Home Cook’s Kitchen, with a few significant differences. Namely, the aforementioned basil ice cube.
First things first, the ice cube! To make these, we cut basil leaves into thin strips and then muddled them in a shallow bowl. We spread approximately ten basil leaves across an ice cube tray of twelve, then filled the rest with water. It’s truly up to you how little or much you add, entirely dependent on your level of love for basil. For the actual cocktail, you simply add the strawberries to your mug and muddle away. Then, add the basil leaves and muddle those a bit as well to release and combine the flavors. If you want even more juices, you can give the basil a rough chop before you muddle it, but that’s not a requirement by any means. After that, all you do is pour in the lime juice, ginger beer, and vodka, and stir well.
Just like the Fresa Gin Tonic before it, this cocktail exceeded expectations. It’s fruity, but the basil and lime ensure that this drink is not overly sweet. The “fizz” half of us also really loved the fizzy, spicy carbonation of the ginger beer. We personally prefer our drinks stronger than average (no judgment!), so we ended up adding an extra pour of vodka. The ice cubes were a hit, as expected, and the slow release of flavor was perfect for sipping and talking. We will say, our ice cubes were pretty heavy on the basil, so if you’re less of a fan, you can either put less basil in the cubes or skip adding the leaves to the main cocktail altogether. Overall? We can’t wait for this pandemic to be over so we can serve this at a party with all our friends!
What should you know before you make Strawberry Basil Mules?
- Copper mugs are necessary! This drink may have a different flavor profile than a classic mule, but the ginger beer still begs for the temperature control and crisp mouthfeel of the copper. Besides, it’s tradition. If you need some, we found our mugs at Target, but any local Total Wines or liquor store should have them as well. We even spotted a couple giant ones for making a big batch.
- Don’t have a bar set? Don’t worry too much. Having a muddler is nice, but in a pinch the back of a wooden spoon will do just fine. This recipe is also simple enough that a shaker isn’t really necessary as long as you stir well enough, and a shot of vodka is somewhere around a three second pour from a bottle.
- The basil ice cubes will take a few hours, so if you plan to make this cocktail for an event, we suggest making them and putting a couple trays in the freezer the morning of the party.
- Garnish, garnish, garnish. A sliced strawberry, an extra basil leaf, or a wedge of lime are all festive, colorful options!
When should you make Strawberry Basil Mules?
Sweet summertime! You can obviously enjoy this cocktail whenever you please–we made it during the wintertime, as you can see by our photo setup. We also live in South Texas, though, so it’s not like there’s a huge seasonal difference. All of that being said, summer is ideal in our opinion because this is a fruity twist on the classic, and both basil and strawberries thrive during the summertime. You’ll likely get more robust flavors if you serve this cocktail then, when the basil leaves are giant and the strawberries are in-season-juicy. The combo is refreshing that it would pair perfectly with a hot summer pool day!