When I got a bottle of the Crystal Head Vodka in the distinctive skull-shaped bottle, I knew it would be perfect for a Halloween cocktail shoot. Since it was released, I’ve seen some tequilas in painted Day of the Dead-style calavera bottles. But they look dowdy next to this perfectly clear gleaming skull.
The Moscow Mule is the only vodka cocktail I drink regularly. It’s like a gingery mojito and it’s super simple to make, since there’s absolutely no muddling involved.
The story goes that the Moscow Mule was created back in 1941 for a promotion by the Smirnoff Company to help market their new vodka. The recipe was released along with special copper-colored mugs.
Holding the cold, sweaty mug in your hand adds to the refreshing experience of the drink. But to see the bloody effect I created by swapping the simple syrup in the recipe for the pomegranate syrup known as grenadine,Â you’ll want to make this cocktail in a clear glass.
By the way, that’s not a stain on the front of the cranium, that’s a signature from actor, bluesman and entrepreneur Dan Akroyd who owns the brand! (Off topic, but if you’ve never seen Akroyd in ’80s movies The Blues Brothers or Trading Places — which has a great Halloween story line — go check them out on Netflix.)
Bloody Moscow Mule
2 tablespoons natural grenadine, like Stirrings
1-1/2 ounces vodka
3 ounces ginger beer
¼ ounce fresh lime juice
1 sprig fresh mint
1 slice lime
Pour the grenadine into the bottom of your cocktail glass. Fill the glass three-quarters with ice, add vodka and lime juice. Stir gently to combine. Top with ginger beer and stir. Garnish with mint sprig and lime slice.
Makes 1 cocktail