A little while back I read an article about some very passionate cocktail enthusiasts, or cocktail purists I should say, that thought it was absolute blasphemy to make anything but a traditional Moscow Mule. I was slightly afraid they would find my recipes and tear me apart for veering off the path, but then I realized.. life is way too short to be stuck with the same flavors over and over again! So bring it on because this tasty tropical version of a Mule is well worth the backlash!
I typically like to take my time with liquor infusions, but since I decided to use a habanero I knew that just half of one of those bad boys would give me all the potency and spice I needed in a very short amount of time. It gives the Mule a nice kick (pardon the dad-joke pun) of heat which makes a bold compliment to the sweet and tropical tasting fresh mango puree. Top it all off with some crisp and bubbly ginger beer for an all around refreshing take on this classic.
Oh and to really make the purists mad I skipped the traditional fancy copper mug and made these “Mason Jar Mules” instead!
Habanero Infused Vodka:
1/2 of a habanero pepper
1 cup vodka
Ingredients for Habanero Mango Mules:
1 ripe mango, peeled and pit removed
Juice from 2 limes
Ginger beer (about 3-4 oz per drink – 16 oz total)
Fresh mint and/or lime slices for garnish
Optional (but totally worth doing):
2 tsp Habanero Mango Spice Rub
1/2 tsp honey
To rim the cups, pour the spice rub out onto a shallow dish or plate. Coat the edges of the glasses in honey and then dip or press into the spice rub until completely coated. Set aside until ready to use.
Add pepper half to a canning jar or other glass sealing container. Add vodka and then muddle the pepper with a muddler or wooden spoon. This will help release some of that great flavor and heat that the habanero has to offer! Seal it up, give it a few shakes, and place in a safe place to infuse for 30 minutes to an hour.
If you’re doing a slow infusion which can take anywhere from 24 hours to a week depending on how hot you like it, I recommend storing the jar in a cool, dry, and dark place and you don’t need to muddle that pepper half at all. Since we’re speeding things up for this infusion I put mine in full sun in the windowsill and it had plenty of spicy flavor after a mere 30 minutes. Remove pepper half once you have your desired flavor.
Next you’ll cut the mango up into small chunks and add them to a food processor with the lime juice. Puree until completely smooth and then pour into a cocktail shaker.
Add habanero infused vodka and shake for 10 to 15 seconds. Distribute evenly into ice filled glasses, top with ginger beer, garnish, and serve!