This week I bring you, Inaugural Drinking, Part II: Democrats. It's time for confetti, dancing, traffic jams and donkeys with blue bows. And, maybe some donkeys with moonshine. In honor of another four years, let’s re-imagine the Moscow Mule. Instead of commie vodka, use all-American moonshine (aka, clear, unaged whiskey), which has experienced a sudden surge of trendy attention lately. The District’s better booze purveyors (start with Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, or the peerless Sherry’s in Woodley Park) will all have a small selection. If you can, get American Spirit Whiskey: smooth, 80 proof, and highly mixable. If you can’t – ask the store manager for guidance.
Before the party starts, prep your ginger syrup. [If you want to cheat, visit an Asian supermarket – google “H Mart” – and get any brand of Honey Ginger Crystals. Dissolve a packet in moonshine, top with soda, spritz with lime. Then brag about it. After all, what is more American than sourcing our stuff from China?]
The next morning, mix some of that ginger syrup (assuming you didn’t cheat) with hot water to relieve the hangover. You’ve got 1,461 days of world-saving work ahead of you….
The DC Donkey
- 1.5 parts ginger syrup (recipe below)
- 1 part moonshine (again, I prefer American Spirit Whiskey)
- 3 parts soda water, or to taste
- Lime wedges
- Jalapeño peppers, sliced length-wise
Fill a tall glass half-full with ice. Pour in the ginger syrup and moonshine, and give a brisk stir. Top with soda water and squeeze in a wedge of lime. Garnish with the somewhat-used lime wedge and a slice of jalapeno pepper.
Experiment with the moonshine-syrup ratio, depending 1) on the exact proof of your moonshine, and 2) at what rate you wish to pace yourself.
- 3 cups water
- 1 lb fresh ginger root
- 2 jalapeño peppers with seeds, cut in half
- 2 tablespoons peppercorns (any color)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
Wash the ginger, and scrape most of the skin off with a spoon – no need to be perfect, though – then chop into small pieces.
Place the water, ginger, jalapeño peppers, peppercorns and salt in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Make sure the kitchen has good ventilation (open windows, turn on the fan), and do not breathe in the steam – it’s more spice than your lungs can handle.
After 15 minutes, fish out the jalapeño slices (but save them!), and continue boiling uncovered for another 45 minutes.
Add the brown sugar, and stir gently while boiling for another 15 minutes.
Turn the heat off, return jalapeño slices to the mixture, cover, and allow to fully cool.
Once cool, strain into a pitcher and store in the refrigerator until ready to use (It should keep for up to two weeks). Depending on humidity and strength of boil, you should have about 2.5 cups of liquid.