It’s a tricky business, this hedging and prognosticating. What’s in. What’s out. What’s hot. What’s not.
But even without a crystal ball, I can declare with great certainty that when it comes to our drinking scene, the It drink in 2015 will be riffs on the Moscow Mule.
How can it not be? I’ve seen two dozen variations of the Mule in the last six weeks alone.
At its simplest, the Mule consists of vodka, ginger beer and lime juice. This classic has become as popular as a margarita and mojito — and apparently as versatile as a navy blue blazer.
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Swap out vodka for an herbal liqueur, and the ginger and lime smooth out the bitter edges, making it go down easy for the mainstream palate. Substitute a big booze such as whiskey and it’s a refreshing drink, leavened with the carbonated ginger beer.
With the mule’s versatility and popularity, it seems every Seattle bartender wants to create the next riff.
Below are the 10 most interesting or original takes seen at Seattle bars.
Canon features the Washington’s Mule by swapping vodka for apple brandy, a drink for all seasons — light enough to feel like summer, but by using a spirit more associated with fall and winter, it’s just as fitting to sip in January. 928 12th Ave., Seattle (canonseattle.com, no phone).
Barrio does a smoky variation called the Mezcal Mule. 1420 12th Ave., Seattle (206-588-8105 or barriorestaurant.com).
Witness offers a less smoky and more seasonal take by infusing mezcal with cloves, dubbed the Mezcalvary. 410 Broadway E., Seattle (206-329-0248 or witnessbar.com).
Damn the Weather adds an earthy, vegetal note to the classic by using a Japanese spirit, shochu, for its Shochu Mule. 116 First Ave. S., Seattle (damntheweather.com, no phone).
Liberty features the Sendai Mule with Japanese Nikka Coffey Grain Whiskey to give the drink some tropical fruit and vanilla notes. 517 15th Ave. E., Seattle (206-323-9898 or libertybars.com).
Monsoon plays it differently than most bars. Instead of swapping out vodka, it swaps out ginger beer for currant-taragon shrub and soda for the sour Saigon Mule, which pairs with its Vietnamese cuisine. 615 19th Ave. E., Seattle (206-325-2111 or monsoonrestaurants.com).
Vittles adds a fourth ingredient, pomegranate molasses, for its Vittles Mule. 2330 Second Ave., Seattle (206-448-3348 or vittlesseattle.com).
Cafe Barjot does a variation, the Malmo Mule, with the Scandinavian spirit aquavit that’s so bone-dry it puckers my lips. 711 Bellevue Ave. E., Seattle (206-457-5424 or barjotseattle.com).
Saint John’s used to devote almost an entire page of its menu to Mule variations. Its most interesting take, the Czech Mate, features the bitter Czech Republic liqueur Becherovka Carlsbad. 917 Pike St., Seattle (206-245-1390 or saintjohnsseattle.com).
Smith features the Masala Mule with chai-infused vodka. It tastes like a spiked iced tea that you might get from a bar at an India buffet — and its pretty hard to resist. 332 15th Ave. E., Seattle (206-709-1900 or smithseattle.com).