Pairing cocktails with food can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be.
A Moscow Mule is a fantastic cocktail to pair thanks to its leading ingredient: ginger. A staple of cooking, this allows for the food and drink to marry across the spectrum of flavor. Combine that with the shot of lime in the drink and there is a surprising array of options available to the Mule drinker.
Ultimately the key is to balance the strength of flavor in the protein, with the seasoning of the dish. Dishes that take take the two to the limit – like a lamb biryani – end up assaulting your taste-buds when combined with a Mule.
That being said, everyone’s preferences are different, and in your culinary travels you might find a truly unique pairing with a Mule. For now? Well here are some options to set you on your way to cocktail + cuisine heaven.
Seafood: Whereas some of the other options here shine by bringing strong flavors to the table, fish excels for the opposite reason: it’s a nice, light, neutral protein. Light fishes seasoned with citrus is a great way to compliment a mule. One rule of thumb is to lean towards relatively simply preparations: options with rich, creamy sauces end up providing an unwelcome contrast to a Mule.
Best of all, it doesn’t even need to be a fancy preparation. One surprisingly delicious option is a delightfully deep fried order of fish and chips.
– Fish and Chips
– Blackened Catfish
– BBQ Shrimp Kebabs
Curry: This pairing may seem like a battle of strong flavors, but the key here is that ginger is a ubiquitous ingredient in many curries, even if you can’t immediately pick it out. The key here is to stick to lighter curries in terms of the protein used: fish, chicken, vegetable. Stronger meats like beef and lamb are going to provide too much gamey, competing flavors for a Mule.
– Butter Chicken
– Onion Baji
– Shrimp Masala
Mexican: Few things go with a well-made, ice-cold Moscow Mule than a really good taco. The combination of a nice, fatty protein (we prefer pork al pastor), acidic pickled veg and a good stripe of house-made hot sauce is hard to beat, but when chased with that bright pop of ginger beer and lime….well that’s next level.
– Tacos (stick to fattier proteins)
– Shrimp Ceviche
– Pollo a la Plancha
Cheese & Charcuterie: This may seem more synonymous with a wine tasting, but the key here is in the selection of cheeses and meats. A Mule is a drink with kick, so you’re going to want to mirror that in your choices. Goat cheese, for one, is an absolutely fantastic compliment to the spiciness of a Mule. Ditto for farm cheddar’s aged 10+ years, and even a golden-fried piece of salty Greek Halloumi.
In terms of meats, think salty, fatty, or better yet both. A nice spicy chorizo will make a Mule seem positively refreshing. Melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto is a can’t miss with its next-level saltiness.
– Cheeses: Goat, Cheddar (aged), Halloumi, Burrata
– Meats: Chorizo, Proscuitto, Iberico ham, Bresaola