Budget bourbon and the quest for the perfect Kentucky mule

August 15th 2015

I really do like bourbon, straight up, on the rocks, or in a cocktail, it's refined and complex. With those types of characteristics I used to think that unless I spent $30 on a bottle (usually bulliet) it wouldn't be any good.
Well like with many other assumptions i've had....I was wrong. The new season of The Mind of a Chef, is on Netflix and Chef Edward Lee did a bourbon tasting that featured Ancient Age. Ancient is distilled at the same distillery as top shelf Buffalo Trace and is crazy great for half the cost. I love nerdin' out about ways to save money without compromising quality and Chef Lee nailed it....I was skeptical...as I tend to be, but let me tell ya folks...even straight up...it's damn fine! I will never again mix the $30 to $50 a fifth stuff, and maybe not even buy it at all as I have fallen hard for this Kentucky gem. Well with that in mind, I love "Kentucky Mules" which are in the same copper cups as Moscow Mules, but have bourbon instead of Vodka. I found cups the other day and was super excited as a mule is not really a mule without the proper vessel, and now I can have all that "muley" goodness in the comfort of my own home or on the back porch...best spot to drink em'. I made my own ginger simple syrup as the ginger beer I like is expensive and the other stuff is flavorless and overly sweet. I likes em spicy so I used a lot of ginger and gave it a little Southern hospitality by adding some vanilla, I then mixed with sparkling water, squeezed in some lemon and I completed my quest. I think perfection is impossible, but this here is pretty close (pebble ice would make it better).
You will need:
A mule mug or a iced glass, filled with ice cubes.
1 part ginger simple syrup:
1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup water

Delicious ginger syrup Delicious ginger syrup

1 ginger root sliced thin, add more or less depending on how spicy you likey
1 tsp real vanilla extract
Method: In a small pan add sugar, and water, bring to low boil, add ginger, softly simmer for 5 minutes, add vanilla, and remove from heat, steep for at least an hour or overnight, remove pieces of ginger.
1 part Kentucky Bourbon, try Ancient Age, thank me later.
1 citrus wedge, I used lemons, but limes are classic
sparkling water to top it off.
So add your bourbon (1 part for me is 2 oz), cooled ginger syrup, and enough water to fill to the top, squeeze citrus, and give a stir. Drink responsibly or at least get inebriated where you can't cause any harm to others!
This is currently my cocktail du jour, and I don't think it will change for a while. Cheers!