As summer’s juicy, sweet fruits begin to fade out of season and pumpkins and apples abound in the produce markets, the comforting aroma of quintessential autumn spices permeates the air in many places.
At the Lake Oconee Bistro, these spices add festivity to a cocktail on the bar’s fall menu that is a customer favorite, according to Bar Manager Michelle Falanga. “Mules are always popular on cocktail lists, whether it’s because folks find the spicy kick of ginger beer refreshing, or simply because it comes in a shiny copper mug,” Michelle said.
“What makes Lake Oconee Bistro’s Kentucky Spiced Mule so special is the addition of a simple syrup I cook and infuse with traditional mulling spices,” she added. “Not only does the sugar from this spiced syrup cut down the kick of the ginger beer, but those festively fragrant and tasty mulling spices really take this cocktail in an entirely different direction.”
The Kentucky Spiced Mule was introduced to the Bistro’s cocktail list last year, but guests loved it so much that they continued to order it in the spring and summer even though it was no longer on the printed menu, so she continued to make the spiced syrup all year long, Michelle said.
The Kentucky Mule is an American twist on the well-known Moscow Mule, which combines vodka, ginger beer and a squeeze of fresh lime juice in a copper mug. “In the Kentucky Mule, you simply ditch the lime juice and substitute the vodka for… you guessed it – bourbon!” Michelle explained. “Personally, I love it because anything with mulling spices reminds me of the holidays at home. Also, I’ve never come across a cocktail with bourbon that I did not enjoy,” she added with a laugh.
Although it is served in the signature copper mug at Lake Oconee Bistro, Michelle said Kentucky Spiced Mule can easily be made at home in any rocks glass.
Lake Oconee Bistro’s Kentucky Spiced Bourbon
2 ounces Kentucky bourbon
¼ ounce simple spice syrup
1 can ginger beer
Place ice in a mug or rock glass, add bourbon and simple syrup, top with ginger beer. Stir with a cinnamon stick to combine; garnish with the cinnamon stick; serve and enjoy.
Michelle‘s Mulling Spices Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup granulated white sugar
3-4 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
1 Tbs. cloves
2 cardamon pods, crushed
Zest of one orange
Combine in a saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring. After mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and set aside until cooled. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bottle. Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Photos and video by Jordan Meaker, appeared in the September/October issue of Lakelife.