We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mark's Moscow Mule Cocktail and the Wild Birds of my Winter

by Linda

"My heart is like a singing bird." ~ Christina Rossetti

   The Moscow Mule is a cocktail that I didn't learn about until Oprah and her best friend, Gayle, visited Yosemite National Park a few years ago, and Oprah made drinks for all of her camp neighbors of drinking age. To check out the video of their very funny attempt at creating cocktail hour in the out-of-doors, click here. I especially love it when Oprah juices the limes with her teeth.

   Today, the last day of January in 2015, it was exactly the kind of January day that I am very familiar with having lived in California almost all my life. While the East Coast is dealing with storms of epic proportions, it was 75 degrees here today, and the sun shone brightly. I remember many such days in January or February, when a string of a few warm days will lull you into thinking that spring is here. You dream of planting a few pots of herbs, and bask in the warm evening air. I know all too well that in a few days, it will be back to winter again. Hopefully we will have more rain soon—but on this perfect day, it was time to enjoy the company of the wild birds that Mark and I feed, and to savor a special cocktail in the late afternoon with my new presents the Michelle, Jay and Maddie gave me for Christmas this past December.

Six robins and a definitely outsized and outnumbered finch enjoy the bird bath in our backyard.
   On Christmas Day, I opened a package from the Owens family and found a gleaming hammered-copper pitcher and four matching copper mugs with brass handles. Michelle had remembered me mentioning that I would like to have the traditional mugs that are used in the making of this cocktail that has become a favorite of mine since Mark had a great recipe, and I vowed I would put them to use in the near future.

   Like Oprah, I am not much of a camper. I think I was traumatized early on by some truly dreadful camping trips that our family took that involved rain (wet sleeping bags), hiking with feet numbed from the extreme cold, mosquito bites and very long stretches between showers. Simply put—it's not my thing. I have tried camping again off and on during my adult life—the last time being when I was forced to go on a miserable trip with my herb school class a few years ago, and suffice it to say, I would much rather be at home or take day trips. Little Miss Homebody can often be found in a state of bliss, stalking the wild birds of her very own backyard. Mark and I are able to attract a nice variety with different feeders and feed. Today's bonanza was a veritable flock of American robins and cedar wax wings along with the everyday population of finches and chickadees.

   So this afternoon in celebration of our amazing weather, we decided to make Moscow Mules and while Mark made drinks, I kicked my feet up and placed my camera donned with a telephoto lens in my lap. We sipped while the birds sipped—pure joy.

Mark's Moscow Mule

   Mark was a bartender in his twenties at a busy bar in Newport Beach, California called the Bouzy Rouge, which is now defunct. From Mark's stories of the place, it was the hipster hangout in the late 80s and early 90s. I asked him one day to make me a cocktail of his choosing, because I am usually the cocktail maker of the family. He surprised me by making Moscow Mules, which I had been wanting to try since seeing Oprah make them for all of the campers during her visit to Yosemite. The cocktail was an instant hit with me, and we were finally glad to be able to find an all natural ginger beer which we prefer to use. Unfortunately, the best tasting alcoholic ginger beers usually have nasty additives.

A copper pitcher and mugs are traditional for this cocktail:
1 pitcher
2 mugs

1 working jar full of ice cubes
2 ounces of fresh lime juice
5 ounces of good quality vodka
3 Fever-Tree Ginger Beer (6.8 ounces each)
Fresh lime wedges

Combine ice cubes, lime juice, vodka and ginger beer into your pitcher. Stir vigoursly and divide the mixture in two two copper mugs (do not strain out the ice cubes). Squeeze a lime wedge into each mug and then drop it in. Enjoy!

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