Mixology 101: The Bucks

by Andrew Connor, Columnist

20120130-189709-ginger-beerPeople* often ask me, “Hey Andrew, you tall drink of water, what is your favorite thing of all time to mix with alcohol?” Well, hypothetical question askers, there isn’t always just one thing I like to put in my drinks. Yes, I like to try just about everything; so boiling it all down to a favorite ingredient is nigh impossible.

But it’s only nigh impossible, not entirely, so the answer to that question is ginger beer.  Ginger beer is in fact my favorite thing to put into drinks.  This would make me a fan of “the bucks,” not the basketball team, but the class of drinks.  A buck, as it turns out, is a term for drinks that utilize ginger beer or ginger ale.  Ginger beer is a lot like Ginger ale, but it’s a little spicier than it is sweet.

Bucks are also often referred to as mules, and either term is a bit outdated which is why you don’t really hear it anymore.  However, I drive an old car and I’m a Neil Young fan, so I like old things, and I feel it is my duty to bring back the term.  Anyways, here are three bucks that you can try to make for yourselves:


The Moscow Mule


This is probably the buck you’ve all heard of.  Allegedly it was created to help sell Smirnoff vodka to Americans in the late 30s, early 40s.  Regardless of its history, it’s simple to make and very refreshing.


2 oz Vodka

1 oz Lime Juice

5 oz Ginger Beer

Lime to Garnish


The Dark N’ Stormy


This is an easy one as you only really need two ingredients: Dark rum and ginger beer.  The drink originated in Bermuda, so it is suggested you use Gosling’s Dark Rum, but if you cannot find it, any Jamaican dark rum will do.  I cannot emphasize this enough: do not use spiced rum or white rum; they are completely different from dark rum.

2 oz Dark Rum

6 oz Ginger Beer

Lime to Garnish


The Ginger Rodgers


This drink is derivative of the London Buck, but adds a few new elements; specifically ginger syrup and mint leaves.  Ginger syrup is the same as simple syrup but infuses fresh ginger into the mix.  You can make it yourself in a saucepan or you can find it in stores as well.  This drink is different from the other two in that it uses ginger ale and not ginger beer.


6 to 8 Mint Leaves

1/2 oz Ginger syrup

2 oz Gin

1 oz Lemon Juice

5 oz Ginger Ale

Mint Sprigs to Garnish


You will muddle the mint leaves with ginger syrup.  Then add ice and pour in the gin and lemon juice; mix the combination up a bit with a bar spoon.  Add the ginger ale and garnish with mint sprigs.


*Most of these people are hypothetical and for the sake of this introduction


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