I remember the first time I had a Moscow mule like it was yesterday...
I had just flown in to Houston, Texas for Thanksgiving vacation circa 2012. My mom, sister, and I went to McCormick & Schmick’s for some “just because we missed you” cocktails lol. I think I ordered a beer (who knows… that part isn’t what I remember about this day), my mom ordered a vodka club soda with lime (always), and my sister ordered a Moscow mule. Her drink came in this fabulous copper mug garnished with a lime and crystallized ginger. Obviously right then I was like “whaaaaaaaaaa are you drinking?! And can I have a sip?!” Thankfully... she shared. I took a sip and then the heavens opened up and all the ginger beer angels started singing. Okay, that didn’t actually happen but the bubbles and fresh ginger flavor made my taste buds go crazy! Clearly, I promptly ordered one, slurped it down like it was my job then ordered another... or 3 more but who’s counting?
Needless to say, I loooove Moscow mules. Why? I'm like 99.999% sure it's because of the ginger beer since I wouldn't consider myself a vodka person. To some people vodka is their jam. I'm like ehh it's okay. It just lacks flavor in my opinion, which is great when you want only your mixers to shine but sometimes I want my liquor to have its moment in the sun. Enter: rosemary ginger bourbon sparklers! They are similar to bourbon mules (aka Moscow mule with bourbon instead of vodka) but we swap limes for lemons and add the most flavorful homemade rosemary ginger simple syrup!
Now this homemade simple syrup is my jam. We boil together water and sugar (it is simple syrup after all) along with chunks of fresh (and peeled) ginger plus a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. Let them boil and release all their goodness then strain to get sweet nectar from the ginger gods. To complete this cocktail, we add bourbon (Maker's Mark... my fave), thinly sliced lemons, lemon juice, rosemary ginger simple syrup, and you guessed it... ginger beer! Acid from the lemons helps to balance out the sweetness from the bourbon and simple syrup.
I'm going to be honest here for second (I mean I'm always honest, you know what I mean)... I originally named these rosemary bourbon mules but I didn't photograph these in mule mugs because the crystal glasses looked way prettier in my photographs...
So yeah... rosemary ginger bourbon sparklers or rosemary bourbon mules... choose your weapon and call it what you like, either way it's delicious!!!!!!!!
rosemary ginger bourbon sparklers
yield: 2 cocktails + lots of extra simple syrup for additional cocktails
total time: 5 minutes to make cocktail (add one hour if making syrup)
4 oz bourbon
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 oz rosemary ginger syrup (see below)
6-8 oz ginger beer, to taste
2 small rosemary sprigs (garnish)
1 lemon, thinly sliced (garnish)
rosemary ginger syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 oz fresh ginger, peeled and sliced (1/3 inch thick)
2 large rosemary sprigs
1. Make the syrup: In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar then bring to a boil. Add in ginger and rosemary and return the mixture to a boil, stirring to fully dissolve sugar. Remove from heat then let the syrup cool completely (30-45 minutes). Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a jar or small bowl. Discard the solids then refrigerate until needed! Syrup can be refrigerated for up to one month in an airtight container.
2. Make the cocktail: In a cocktail shaker (or measuring cup), shake (or mix) together bourbon, rosemary ginger syrup and lemon juice. Fill two rocks glasses or mule mugs with lots of ice or one big ice cube (I love these huge square ice cubes). Place lemon slices in the glass between the ice and wall of the glass. Split contents of the shaker between the two glasses then top each cocktail with ginger beer plus a small rosemary sprig. Enjoy!
I ended up watching Moonlight last night and it was such a beautiful story but also very sad. Overall, it was a wonderful movie! I definitely recommend it. Now I only have two Oscar noms left... I can do it! Speaking of the Oscars, if champagne isn't your thing: 1) who are you?! 2) make this cocktail to enjoy during the Oscars instead of champs! And if the Oscars aren't your thing... just make this cocktail over weekend :)
Happy Friday friends and foodies!
P.S. There are some pretty pin-able photos with text are below. Feel free to do your thing if you love Pinterest.