The Seoul Mule; a new take on the traditional Moscow Mule using ginger infused Korean Soju and Yuzu Juice.
WTF Is A Mule?
You guyyyyyyys. I’ve recently fallen in love with mules. No. No. Not the half horse half donkey hybrid. Mules; the ginger beer based cocktail served in a copper mug! Not a Russian invention, the Moscow Mule was actually created in California in the late 1930s. As the legend goes, it was created by the a marketer for the newly purchased Smirnoff Vodka company. A man named John G. Martin was scratching his head for a way to get ‘Muricans to drink the clear Soviet liquour. He had the vodka, his bartender friend had the ginger beer, and allegedly his girlfriend had thousands of copper mugs. Thus the Moscow Mule was born.
But WTF Is A Seoul Mule?
The Seoul Mule is something I thought up partially because I had a whole bunch of soju I couldn’t get rid of.
Soju is a Korean spirit made with rice and other grains. It’s slightly sweet and a bit tart and has a wholly unique taste. Straight up, it can be an acquired taste to Western palates, including mine. However, much like vodka, soju can be mixed with almost anything. For this cocktail I decided to infuse it with ginger to give it an extra spicy kick.
Ginger Infused Soju?
YUP! This is sounds a lot harder and fancier than it actually is. I took the idea from Boulder Locavore and basically used the same process but with soju. Toss half a cup of thinly sliced unpeeled fresh ginger into a mason jar and top it with 2 cups of soju. Seal the jar tight and let it sit for a week. Using a sieve, strain out the solids and store it in a tightly sealed well labelled container. When you’re done, it will have the color of a jar of pee.
Fear not, my fine folks, it does not have the flavor of a jar or pee.
But Isn’t Soju Not as Strong as Vodka?
This is true! Soju is 48 proof while vodka is 80 proof. This means that soju is only 60% as strong as vodka. As we all know a weak drink just sucks. So, to compensate for that, we’ll be using Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer . Using alcoholic ginger beer gives this cocktail the oomph a mule deserves.
WTF Is Yuzu?
A yuzu is a small Japanese citrus fruit (yuja in Korean) that’s about the size of a clementine. In America, they’re fairly rare and, actually, fairly expensive. However, you can buy a bottle of yuzu juice for a more reasonable price and the flavor makes it totally worth it. It tastes tart like a grapefruit but sweet like a mandarin orange and much more aromatic. You can find little bottles like this in Asian markets or on Amazon.
But Aren’t Copper Mule Mugs Toxic?
Yes. According to a Washington Post article:
An advisory bulletin from Iowa’s Alcoholic Beverages Division notes that, in keeping with Food and Drug Administration guidelines, copper should not come into contact with acidic foods with a pH below 6. That includes vinegar, fruit juice, wine and, yes, a traditional Moscow mule, whose pH is “well below 6.0.” the bulletin says.
Symptoms of copper poisoning include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and jaundice, according to the National Institutes of Health. “Sudden (acute) copper poisoning is rare,” NIH says. “However, serious health problems from long-term exposure to copper can occur. Severe poisoning can cause liver failure and death.”
I’m in the camp that believes a Moscow Mule isn’t a Moscow Mule if it’s not in a copper mule mug. So, what is a drinker to do? Simply get one that’s lined on the inside. The mugs I used for this cocktail are nickel-lined and you you can get a set of 4 on Amazon.
Well Then, Can We Drink Yet?
Yes let’s! That last tidbit was sobering and we can do something about that! Bust out your lined mule mugs and fill then 2/3 of the way with ice. Add 2 shots of ginger infused soju. Add a 1 shot of yuzu juice, and then top it with alcoholic ginger beer. Garnish with candied ginger.
That’s a Seoul Mule, Yo! Cheers!