New recipe: Moscow Mule (the gourmet version) 

As part of my Russian cooking class series at Common Ground Food Co-op, I developed this gourmet version of the infamous Moscow Mule cocktail. Traditionally made with vodka and ginger beer, this refreshing drink is my go-to cocktail during the hot summer months. Although there's nothing wrong with the traditional recipe (which doesn't have anything to do with Moscow or Russia), I thought the drink could be cleaner. So I invented my own version.

The "gourmet" version replaces ginger beer with real ginger juice. The unique "zing" of ginger is what makes mule drinks special and using the real thing makes all the difference. Without ginger beer, there is also no sweetener to balance out the lime juice. So I use agave nectar instead -- it's so much better for you than the corn syrup usually used to sweeten ginger beer. But what about the bubbles, you say? No problem, let's use seltzer water instead. 

Now the big question: what kind of vodka should I use? By definition, vodka has no flavor, so it shouldn't matter. However, if you don't want a hangover the next day, you should use the cleanest vodka you can find. My go-to vodka used to be Chopin, which is made with potatoes instead of grains. But recently, I've discovered that I can make a political statement with the vodka I choose. So these days, I'm using a "local" vodka called Social Grace which is made in Edwardsville, Illinois. Available locally at Common Ground Food Co-op, you'll only find this brand in Illinois and Missouri, which makes it kind of "exclusive." Social Grace is also a woman-owned distillery, so now I can be a feminist and a snob at the same time with my vodka choice.

See the full recipe and many possible variations on my website:

More information about my cooking classes and pop-up events can always be found on my website, where you'll also find over 150 recipes from my classes (no ads!). You can also subscribe to my email newsletter or follow me on Instagram or Facebook and like my posts. Bon appétit!