It’s finally fall and you know what that means: everyone’s blood type is suddenly pumpkin spice. I’m sorry, but let’s get a little more original, people. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not going to say I’ve never ordered a pumpkin spice frappuccino….but c’mon; the pumpkin spice craze is a bit repetitive. There are so many other flavors and traditions that deserve to be celebrated in fall. That’s where this Coladka Mule comes in.

Don’t know what Coladka is? Shame on you. Coladka was founded by two legendary vets of the Raleigh bar and restaurant industry, Drew Schenck and Kevin Barrett (yours truly). It’s been dubbed the first “all-natural cola-flavored vodka,” which I think is pretty cool because it’s basically combining two ingredients (vodka and cola) into one, so you can’t screw up the flavor ratio between the two. Lots of geniuses in the Raleigh bar scene, if I do say so myself.

This drink is tasty as hell year-round, but hits especially different in fall. It’s a good ol’ buck, which means it’s a drink made with ginger ale or ginger beer, citrus juice, and one of several base liquors (or in this case, Coladka). There’s something refreshing yet *cozy* about a cold buck cocktail out of a copper mug—it can almost make you forget how stupid your Halloween costume looks.

A little history on the mule: it wasn’t originated in Moscow at all (and believe it or not, the Russians never really tried to take credit for it). The mule was invented in 1941 in Manhattan, but rose to fame on the West Coast before making it back east again. There’s a couple of theories as to how the mule came about (things aren’t always clear when there’s vodka involved, as we know).

Theory number one. For a long time this was the story: two booze executives in New York (John Martin of G.F. Heublein Brothers and Jack Morgan, a ginger beer manufacturer and Hollywood-based restaurateur), were shooting the breeze with Rudolph Kunett, the head of Heublein’s vodka business, at Morgan’s Chatham Hotel in New York. They had an “aha” moment, and tried mixing together ginger beer, vodka and a squeeze of lemon, and the first Moscow mule was born. But then…

Theory number two: In 2007, a man named Wes Price who had been a head bartender at the Chatham Hotel told the Wall Street Journal that he merely was trying to use up the inventory in the basement and mixed some overstocked ingredients together that became the first Moscow mule. Actor Broderick Crawford loved it, and the rest was history.

Which theory do I believe? I don’t really care; I just make ‘em and drink ‘em.

There’s a ton of different mule varieties, from the Berlin mule made with Jägermeister to the Bohemian mule made with absinthe. However, fellow reader, I am bestowing upon you what I firmly believe to be the best and tastiest mule. Alas, here is your Coladka mule recipe:

Coladka Mule

  1. 1.5 oz Coladka Cola Flavored Vodka
  2. 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • Add ingredients to a shaker filled with ice
  • Shake vigorously
  • Strain into a glass with fresh ice
  • Top with ginger beer
  • Garnish with a lime wedge