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Mansion Mule from Circa 1886.

The “Mansion Mule” is a specialty cocktail developed by John Martindale, beverage director of Circa 1886. Martindale’s Mule is a riff on the Moscow Mule and features Bulleit Rye, a house-made basil-lime cordial using herbs grown on the grounds of the Wentworth Mansion and Circa 1886’s homemade ginger beer.

The Moscow Mule had its genesis in the early 1940s. Vodka, at that time, had no cachet with the drinking trade; so the prevailing story goes like this: John Martin of Heublin Inc. bought the rights to Smirnoff Vodka for $14K. Sales were stagnant and in a conversation with Jack Morgan, owner of the Cock ‘n’ Bull Pub on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, Martin suggested mixing it with some of Morgan’s ginger beer. They called this drink the Moscow Mule based on its homeland and the “kick” of ginger from the home-brewed beer.

At Circa 1886, Martindale’s Mansion Mule riff on the classic vodka cocktail joins a trend of Moscow Mule mash-ups nationwide. As Tan Vinh reported in The Seattle Times, “the it drink in 2015 will be riffs on the Moscow Mule.”

Those who are looking for a “warming drink” for the chillier Charleston winter will find the rye and ginger (another classic cocktail marriage) flavor notes provide just the right depth to this bracing cocktail that is tempered by the basil-lime cordial and leavened by the addition of the fizz of ginger beer. Says Martindale, “Bourbon and Mule lovers alike often order this drink.”


The Mansion Mule is served at Circa 1886. It is a part of their new winter cocktail menu developed by Martindale and his team.

“I love this more substantial play on a classic Mule for the fall and winter. The whiskey lends more weight and the basil cordial an herbaceous sweetness. Both balance the kick from the fresh ginger beer. It has a warmth to it good for cold nights.” — Trey McCutcheon, Charleston, FIG bartender