Thanks to its balance of sweet, spicy and tart flavors, the Moscow Mule is a consummate year-round drink; its refreshing, zesty profile makes it a pleasing summer quaff, but its gingery, boozy spice makes it just as pleasant in the winter. However, this version from the luxe Triple Creek Ranch, located in Darby’s Bitterroot Mountain Range of the Montana Rockies, is a decidedly autumnal take on it. “The combination of pear vodka, warm cinnamon and spicy ginger beer is the perfect way to spice up a chilly holiday night in the mountains of Montana,” head bartender Patty Pyles says of the The Kickin’ Mule.
In the Kickin’ Mule, Grey Goose La Poire—a fine French vodka flavored with anjou pear—is mixed with fresh-pressed apple cider, a homemade smoked cinnamon syrup, lemon juice, ginger beer and Bitter Truth pimento dram, a Jamaican rum-based allspice liqueur. “The pear and cinnamon are a classic flavor combination, while the ginger beer gives it that spicy kick, hence the name,” says Pyles. The smoked cinnamon syrup adds another dimension to the drink, but you should feel free to substitute it with regular simple syrup and a dash of cinnamon if desired.
Fever Tree is the brand of ginger beer that Pyles uses for the drink. A well-regarded label for its fresh, spicy take on a naturally fermented ginger beer, the brand is available in most markets. However, it can be substituted with something like Q Ginger Beer or Fentimans. And if you want to go really all out, you can always try your hand at making your own ginger beer for the drink. Whatever you chose, be sure not to use ginger ale by mistake, as its sweeter, less spicy profile will throw off the drink’s balance.
Add the pear vodka, pimento dram, apple cider, cinnamon syrup and lemon juice into a copper mug or Collins glass with ice and gently stir.
Top with ginger beer.
Garnish with apple slice and cinnamon stick.
Serve with straw.
*Smoked cinnamon syrup: Flambé 4 cinnamon sticks with a kitchen torch until lightly charred. Add cinnamon sticks, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water into saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until sugar dissolves. Remove pan from heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks and store syrup in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (Optionally, use 1/2 ounce simple syrup mixed with 1 dash ground cinnamon).