Even the hottest summer days can’t stop this Northern Michigan cocktail from cooling you down. Dive in to learn the history and recipe behind this delicious Miner’s Mule featuring local whiskey.
During the mid-1800s, Michigan’s Keweenaw County was the largest producer of copper in the nation. While area mines have long since closed, evidence of this prosperous era can still be found in the opulent copper roof that adorns the Houghton County Courthouse, the intricate sandstone façade of the Calumet fire station, and even in the many souvenir shops that sell all things copper—like this mule mug (pictured above) we picked up a few years back.
Copper is beloved in the kitchen not only for its good looks, but because it is a great conduit of heat, quickly making hot things hotter and cold things even colder. That’s why, as summer temperatures rise, many of us dust off our copper mugs and start pouring Moscow Mules. First popularized by Smirnoff, the drink is historically made with vodka, but we’re fans of the whiskey riff that’s currently being served at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.
The rustic resort recently transferred ownership for the first time since the property was built in 1934, and Julie Blackstone, the new director of food and beverage, pours the ginger beer classic with Copper Queen Whiskey from Iron Fish Distillery.
Iron Fish owners Richard and Sarah Anderson are originally from the Upper Peninsula. During a trip home, they learned that vintage bottles of whiskey had been found in the basement of a one-time saloon. The Andersons not only jumped at the chance to resurrect the 1914 recipe, but also to give back to “Copper Country” along the way. Iron Fish now makes charitable contributions to support another architectural gem from yesteryear—the stunning Calumet Theatre.
How to Make the Miner’s Mule
- 1 1⁄2 ounces Iron Fish Copper Queen Whiskey
- 1⁄4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 4 ounces ginger beer
- 1 lime wedge for garnish
Add ice cubes to a copper mule mug. Pour the whiskey and lime juice into the mug, adding the ginger beer on top. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.
Find this article and more in the June 2021 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine; or subscribe and get Traverse delivered to your door each month.