VODKA MULE KNOWLEDGE
We hope you don’t mind, but we’re going to do something taboo. We’re going to recommend using (eek!) different brands of vodka in your Moscow Mule. While purists cling to Smirnoff, the original spirit, today’s vodka market is huge and offers more variety than the post-prohibition-era when our favorite drink was born. So experiment.
The issue ultimately distills down to this: any vodka that suits your mood (and your pocketbook) is a good base for your Moscow Mule, and offers the potential to create a unique flavor profile. Try them all out, and let us know in the comments below which vodka(s) you like best.
Vodka. The mere name evokes the sound of ice clinking, the hum of background conversation at a classy bar. For Moscow Mule drinkers, it also means the taste of a sophisticated cocktail. But just what makes the perfect Mule vodka? We know some of you may already be connoisseurs, but we’d like all our fans to be on equal footing. So let’s begin.
At its most basic, vodka is simply a fermented starch (most often using grains like corn or wheat, and in some places potato) that is then distilled into a more concentrated liquor. While the drink traces back hundreds of years to either Poland or a region in modern-day Russia (depending on whose history account you read), the Smirnoff brand started in the 1860’s in Russia and made its way to America in the 1930’s.
Like many other alcohols, the last few decades have seen a proliferation of vodka brands appear. With so much variety, consumers are left to wonder what sets premium vodka apart, aside from the price tag and pretty bottle.
Put simply, high-end vodka is made with more TLC. Where a cheaper vodka might be produced using as little as three steps (ferment, distill, dilute), premium brands often go through a much more elaborate procedure. Before bottling, the liquor is distilled multiple times and filtered repeatedly– charcoal is a favorite flavor-enhancing medium – with producers going the extra mile to eliminate the harsh bite of ethanol by adding extra sugar, citric acid, or (in all countries but the U.S.) glycerin. Aside from the longer process, there’s also the use of higher-quality ingredients: heirloom potatoes, locally-sourced wheat and, in some cases, even grapes.