Basil and Blueberry Moscow Mule
March 9, 2021
There is something about the combination of spice, herbs, and fruit that just works so well together, especially in cocktails. Raw produce can make for the most crisp and refreshing flavor. And that little kick of spice and liquor makes it cozy. It’s that perfect match-up that this Basil and Blueberry Moscow Mule captures so well.
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Ginger beer is one of my favorite mixers for cocktails, so naturally, I am a huge fan of the entire mule family of drinks. For this version, I decided to use up some leaves from our thriving basil plant for a bit of an herbal flavor, balanced with the sweet and tart combination of blueberries.
Mixology is one of those areas where you can truly experiment and try plenty of new flavors together. If you don’t love the idea of blueberry and basil, swap one of them out: strawberry basil or blueberry mint both sound delicious. Or switch up the liquor: try bourbon for a Kentucky Mule or dark rum for a take on a Dark N Stormy.
What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for these Basil and Blueberry Moscow Mules at your grocery store. You can also order online using Amazon Fresh for grocery delivery.
- Produce: Blueberries, Basil
- Pantry: Sugar cubes, Ginger beer
- From the Bar: Vodka (local or nationally available)
- Equipment: Copper mule mugs, Muddler, Bar spoon
Let’s Make a Basil & Blueberry Moscow Mule
One of the fun traditions of any type of Moscow Mule is using the copper mug. There are a few reasons to do this, but the main one is because of the temperature. Copper conducts heat well, so it keeps the drink cold.
Some people say that it also enhances the flavor or carbonation, but I have to admit that I don’t really notice a difference there. My favorite reason to use the copper mug is because of the look and color. It just feels extra fancy!
If you don’t have copper mugs for these, a standard double old fashioned or rocks glass will also work. You can chill the glass by letting it sit filled with ice water for about 5-10 minutes before making the drinks.
A simple drink like this is mixed in the glass, which means you don’t need a fancy cocktail shaker or strainer. Instead, you’ll just need a spoon and a muddler. If you don’t have a true muddler, you can use the back of any utensil with a wide base, like a wooden spoon.
To get started with the flavors in this mule, we will be muddling the fresh berries and basil in the bottom of the mug. This is the technique used to make a smash cocktail as well, and is a good way to release the flavorful juices and oils of the produce.
Add those two ingredients along with a sugar cube and a little bit of water into each mug. Then mash everything, breaking down the skins of the berries and releasing the oils from the basil leaves.
Next, fill the mug almost all the way to the top with crushed ice. If you’ve got one of those fancy refrigerators, you may have easy access to crushed ice. Otherwise, it’s time to do some more smashing!
You can crush ice by placing the cubes in a canvas bag and then whacking them with a mallet. Or you can use a crushed ice mold instead. The benefits to crushed ice are that it cools the drink quicker by melting faster. This also means that it dilutes the drink quicker as well. Since we’re not shaking to get dilution, the crushed ice helps.
However you get there, fill each mug with the crushed ice leaving about a half-inch at the top. This will be plenty of space for adding the rest of the liquid, since it will fill in all of the empty space between ice pieces, and then it will create a nice surface for the garnish.
The liquor in this cocktail is vodka, which is where the Moscow part of the name comes from, since vodka has its origins in Eastern Europe. The best vodkas are essentially flavorless, which allows all the other ingredients in this drink to shine. I always like to use a local vodka from my favorite nearby distillery, but you can use whatever one you like best.
The last ingredient you’ll add in is the ginger beer. This soft drink doesn’t contain alcohol, but it’s not quite the same as the sweeter ginger ale. If you like the bite and flavor, ginger beer does a better job in this drink. However, feel free to try it with ginger ale if you’d like a less intense flavor.
Once you add in both of those, give the drink a stir to bring up the berry and basil flavor from the bottom. Then use additional blueberries and a nice looking sprig of basil to garnish.
A bright and fruity twist on the classic vodka cocktail, this Moscow Mule variation contains fresh blueberries and basil!
How to Serve Moscow Mules
Since these are mixed directly in their mugs, you should make each one to serve and serve them immediately. I don’t recommend making them ahead or in a large batch, but it’s okay because they come together quickly. You can also try a non-alcoholic version by replacing the vodka with any combination of non-alcoholic vodka, soda water, ginger beer or even ginger ale.
The combination of cozy and refreshing flavors makes this cocktail a wonderful choice any time of the year and for any occasion. Serve it with breakfast, alongside a blueberry French toast casserole for something sweet. Or if your prefer a more savory brunch, try “everything bagel” stuffed French toast.
Or enjoy this beverage with dessert! Play up the blueberries with an apple and blueberry crumble cake, or the ginger with a plum buckle with ginger-almond streusel. Or for something completely different, try serving a blueberry Moscow mule with cinnamon roll cupcakes.
Use Up Leftover Ingredients
Blueberry Basil Moscow Mule
- 1 Tbsp Blueberries about 8-12 whole berries, plus more for garnish
- 2-3 Large Basil Leaves plus whole sprigs for garnish if desired
- 1 Sugar Cube
- 1 tsp Water
- 2 oz Vodka
- 4 oz Ginger Beer
- Crushed Ice
- In the bottom of a copper mule mug*, muddle the fresh blueberries and basil along with the sugar cube and water, until the berries have all been smashed.
- Add crushed ice into the mug within a half-inch from the top. Then add in the vodka and ginger beer. Stir until combined.
- Garnish with additional fresh berries and a sprig of basil and serve immediately.
- *Note: If you don't have a copper mug, that's okay. Copper conducts heat well, so it keeps the drink cold, but a standard glass that has been chilled will also work nicely.
- Make to order: Since these are mixed directly in their mugs, you should make each to serve and serve them immediately. I don't recommend making them ahead or in a large batch.
- For a non-alcoholic version: replace the vodka with any combination of non-alcoholic vodka, soda water, or more ginger beer for a stronger ginger flavor.