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Cheers! A cocktail for Thanksgiving (or anytime)

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Ingredients for McClary's Mule, a suggested cocktail for Thanksgiving.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Tammy Coxen with Tammy's Tastings mixing the McClary's Mule, using a Michigan company's drinking vinegar.

“Many people seem to be worried about what to serve their guests on Thanksgiving,” said Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings.

She says she’s got a real crowd-pleaser called McClary’s Mule.

“This is just a riff on the classic Moscow Mule,” Coxen explained. The classic drink uses vodka, ginger beer, and lime.

Coxen uses a recipe suggested by a Michigan company, McClary Bros. Drinking Vinegar. Often known as shrub, drinking vinegar is a long-used way to preserve fruit with apple vinegar. In this case, Coxen is using a cranberry drinking vinegar and pairing it with bourbon.

Coxen explained McClary Bros. was founded by a woman, Jess McClary, who started out as a baker. She wanted to expand her business and started experimenting with drinking vinegar (shrub) products. She eventually came up with a whole line of flavors that have become very popular.

Jess McClary actually competed on the ABC TV show Shark Tank. She didn't win the competition, but got enough publicity that she was able to increase production and distribution into 27 states.

McClary's Mule

1-1/2 oz Water Hill bourbon (or bourbon of choice)

3/4 oz  McClary Bros. cranberry drinking vinegar

4 oz ginger beer

Shake bourbon (or vodka) and drinking vinegar with ice, strain over ice into a stainless steel-lined copper mug (or a glass). Top with ginger beer.

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
The McClary's Mule served in a stainless steel, copper clad mug.

Moscow Mules (and McClary’s Mule) are usually served in a copper mug. In the audio above, Coxen tells the interesting story of John Martin who was trying to sell vodka to an American audience not familiar with the alcohol, and Jack Morgan who was trying to sell ginger beer and not having much luck. They launched a bar-to-bar national campaign that helped launch Smirnoff in the U.S.

Here's another account of the history of the Moscow Mule.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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