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From fragrant bowls of clove-studded oranges and decorative cinnamon brooms to grated nutmeg-topped glasses of Eggnog, it’s definitely the season for, well, seasonings. You might think of ginger beer as a summertime refresher, but it can also be the root (get it?) to flavorful holiday cocktails. These three recipes pack a potent punch.
“I wanted to do a simple variation on a Moscow Mule that featured one of the ingredients common in the Levant,” says Michael Nemcik, the beverage director at Jaffa Palms and West Third in Los Angeles, referring to the Eastern Mediterranean region that encompasses Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. He makes a house-made grenadine eschewing the rosewater, which he says doesn’t play well in the drink. Instead, Nemcik uses a smaller amount of sugar to retain the tart flavor of the pomegranate juice. It’s all balanced out by the sweeter, more ginger-forward profile of Fever-Tree ginger beer.
Inspired by the comforting flavors in chai, this mule was created to pair with the roller coaster ride that is fall in Virginia—“warming, comforting, autumnal spices, but also zesty ginger beer and refreshing flavors,” says Nikki Drake, the bar director at 2941 Restaurant in Washington, D.C. “You can drink it during one of the surprise fall heat waves as easily as on a chilly evening.” It’s actually on the zero-proof section of the cocktail menu at 2941, but a splash of vodka makes it more spirited.
This cocktail at the luxe Triple Creek Ranch, located in Darby’s Bitterroot Mountain Range, in the Montana Rockies, is a decidedly seasonal take on the traditional Moscow Mule. “The combination of pear vodka, warm cinnamon and spicy ginger beer is the perfect way to spice up a chilly holiday night in the mountains of Montana,” says head bartender Patty Pyles. “The pear and cinnamon are a classic flavor combination, while the ginger beer gives it that spicy kick, hence the name.” The smoked cinnamon syrup adds another dimension to the drink, but feel free to substitute it with regular simple syrup and a dash of cinnamon.