Though you can serve a Moscow Mule without its signature copper mug, you certainly can't serve it without its primary ingredients: vodka and ginger beer. To simplify things, we decided to sample three different ginger liquors that require only a spritz of lime and some ice to make a potent variation on the Moscow Mule.
Yazi Ginger Flavored Vodka, $29.95
Produced by Oregon's Hood River Distillers—makers of Pendleton Whiskey and Broker's London Dry Gin—Yazi is packaged in a triangular bottle emblazoned with a dragon. Hood River says the liquor contains four species of ginger, lemon, orange, cayenne and red pepper, but the nose has a distinctly medicinal character. The palate is full of ginger heat, with a burn that tickles the back of your throat.
Crater Lake Sweet Ginger Vodka, $21.95
Despite the cutesy gingerman smiling from the bottle, this 70-proof vodka from Bendistillery hits your nose with a burst of freshly crushed ginger. The company says it uses fresh whole-root ginger crystallized with natural cane sugar, and you can see bits of sediment in the bottle. The taste is insanely spicy, like German schnapps, and burns all the way down.
Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur, $26.95
Though made in France, this liqueur incorporates Vietnamese ginger, Tahitian vanilla beans and Tunisian ginseng. With wafts of acetone and almond extract on the nose, this blend of eau de vie, VSOP and XO Grande Champagne cognacs smells a bit like sushi ginger. On the palate, the viscous tipple has strong vanilla and honey flavors with a pleasant ginger bite. Though the sweetest of the three, it was the panel's favorite.