Lions wide receiver and all around "Boss Man" Golden Tate III, whose numeric can be proudly displayed on the back of his jersey, has a penchant for being a man who knows how to be cool. He's a cat, you see, because he's a Lion, and because cats are cool. Cool cat. Yeah. I can dig it.
On Valentine's Day, Golden Tate made a reaffirmation of his coolness by posting a picture of himself and his fiancée Elise Pollard to Instagram.
In what is usually a day saved from the calendar for me to stare at the wall and concoct ways to punish my brain, Golden Tate's little "gram" brought me several ounces of joy. No, it's not just the White Men Can't Jump sweatshirt (but that's pretty awesome too if you ask me). You see, dear friends, you might notice those wonderfully bright copper mugs in the hands of Tate and soon-to-be Mrs. Tate. They're fashionable, but they're fashionable for a singular purpose. Yes, my friends who may not be in the know for proper cocktails, those are Moscow Mules in their respective receptacles.
"But Chris, what's a Moscow Mule?" Thank you for asking, lizard in my brain.
The Moscow Mule is the greatest mixed drink invented, and I will reaffirm this position under Congressional oath, as will my compatriot Ryan Mathews, editor here at Pride Of Detroit. It is an official IBA cocktail, and finds its roots in the introduction of vodka to America.
Back in 1941, wartime bedfellows saw the United States cool its attitude towards the USSR, and vodka began to flow stateside. Smirnoff, which had relocated to France, had been trying to introduce vodka in America for a couple years by then, but made the breakthrough when the liquor was paired with lime juice and Cock'n Bull ginger beer, a spicy soft drink from the eponymous Hollywood restaurant. Featured in the prominent copper mugs used as conversation starters, the drink made waves, particularly out in southern California. However, when the war against Germany ended and the Cold War began, vodka (and the Mule) met ignominy. While Smirnoff would rebound in the 1960s, it would take the Moscow Mule longer to find popularity again.
The Mule is once again popular today. If you've never had one, here's the reason why: it's simple to make, cool, refreshing, and has a bite of citrus and spiciness that you can't find in many other drinks. The copper mugs continue to sell the drink, because people see that mug and wonder what kind of drink gets served in such a unique mug.
In fact, if you go to Ford Field, you can find the Moscow Mule offered as a staple cocktail. Although it's too pricey for me to snag every time, they make their own version with one shot of Tito's Handmade Vodka, a dash of lime juice and fill the cup with ice and Fever Tree ginger beer (someone told me once this is technically a "Texas Mule" because of Tito's Austin roots but whatever). Fever Tree is perhaps the most available ginger beer out there of high quality and spice, the latter being the key, for a ginger ale or a softer ginger beer like Reed's simply won't have the bite to hold this drink up. Some restaurants or bars like to add a sprig of mint or a dash of St. Germain (or another elderflower liqueur).
I make mine personally with Cock'n Bull ginger beer because of the extra spice and personal taste, but I continue to tinker with my own recipe in search of making the perfect concoction one day. I cannot reveal my own measurements or ingredients just yet, but I do add more vodka (usually SKYY) than what's usually called for, and shuffle around with the copper mug in my right hand all night long. After about two or three Mules I'm stuffed back into my chair, singing "The Internationale" in terrible Russian to my beleaguered cat and writing about football for this website.