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The Presidential Origins Of The Missouri Mule Cocktail

Missouri mule with garnish
Missouri mule with garnish - skigrrrl/Instagram

Every famous cocktail has an origin story, but few involve former United States presidents. If you've heard of a Moscow mule or a Kentucky mule, throw away everything you know about them -- because the Missouri mule, named after former president Harry Truman, is nothing like the others.

Harry Truman was president from 1945 until 1953. World War II had just ended, and the Cold War was just getting started -- the beginning of two decades of tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. In addition to focusing on the U.S., Truman also made a number of overseas visits during his presidency. Truman's liquor of choice was bourbon -- there were even rumors that he would take a shot of bourbon in the morning to keep himself sharp. While visiting London sometime during his presidency, Truman stayed at the Savoy Hotel, a famous spot with a bar manned by Joe Gilmore. Gilmore, a well-known mixologist at the time, whipped up a cocktail that, more than 75 years later, remains tied to the former president.

Read more: 10 Of The Healthiest Beers You Can Drink

The Missouri Mule Was Customized For Harry Truman

Harry Truman smiling at his desk
Harry Truman smiling at his desk - Getty Images/Getty Images

When you think of a mule, you most likely think of liquor mixed with ginger beer. The mule most of us know today is referred to as such due to the kick the ginger beer's flavor gives, representing the animal's actions. But in the case of Truman's cocktail, the mule was chosen as an homage to the democratic party, of which Truman was part (it also made for some nice alliteration). Truman also hails from Missouri, which once produced more mules than any other state -- in 1995, Missouri made the mule its state animal.

Joe Gilmore's Missouri mule doesn't include any ginger beer. The bartender built the drink as a special order for Truman during his visit, so the liquor of choice is bourbon. But on top of that, it's made with applejack (apple brandy is also acceptable), Cointreau, and Campari. The bourbon and applejack call for equal one-ounce parts, while the Campari and Cointreau complement with a half-ounce each. The cocktail is poured over ice and stirred, not shaken. The recipe also calls for an optional orange peel garnish.

Harry Truman Wasn't The Only President With A Cocktail

Mint julep cocktails
Mint julep cocktails - Clarkandcompany/Getty Images

While presidential-inspired cocktails aren't too common, the Missouri mule is one of a handful of alcoholic beverages named after a former president. The Republican party named a cocktail after 25th President William McKinley -- the McKinley Delight -- made from whiskey, vermouth, cherry brandy, and absinthe. Theodore Roosevelt was known for preferring rye whiskey over bourbon in his mint julep; that variation is now called Teddy's mint julep.

Other cocktails have been named for presidents but don't necessarily have specific ties to that president. The Lincoln Club Cooler was named after Abraham Lincoln, but no specific evidence exists that Lincoln enjoyed the rum-based drink. Other presidents had cocktails associated with but not named after them, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, who preferred a dirty martini, or John F. Kennedy, who was known to choose a basic bottle of Heineken.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.