Back when we were kids and watching Bill Nye the Science Guy on TV, little did we know that some of those science experiments that we played about with would end up being useful when it comes to making drinks! Seeing some of the results felt like magic (especially when you are a kid!) but now that we are grown, we know it really was just the proper application of science! When we saw a cocktail that slowly changed colors as the ice melted at one of our local cocktail bars, we knew that we were going to have to spend a little time behind our bar figuring out how we could capture a little bit of that magic! The result is our Galaxy Magic Mule, a classic Moscow Mule with a little bit of magic ice to bring a showy flair!
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When you talk to great chefs and bartenders, you might hear a common theme about how we not only eat (or drink in our case) with our taste buds, but we also eat with our eyes! We were out with friends a few weeks ago and stopped in at one of the great local cocktail bars here in Omaha that are always trying to make something new and exciting. This particular evening, Mrs. Nom ordered a cocktail that came with a blue ice cube that as it melted slowly changed the drink to a beautiful deep purple.
Everyone in our party was fascinated by the color changing cocktail, which not only looked awesome, but tasted delicious. Seeing this sort of excited reaction from our friends (who are not nearly as big of cocktail nerds as we are!) tickled something in our blogger brains which said “MAKE THIS!!!” The next day we started doing a little research about color changing cocktails and discovered a whole trend of bartenders who were playing with the ingredient that was key to their success, the Butterfly Pea Flower!
Interested in buying some Butterfly Pea Flower Tea to make this at home? Click below!
The Butterfly Pea Flower is found all across equatorial Asia, where it was used in traditional medicine and as a natural food coloring. Prized for its deep blue color that it is able to impart to food, butterfly pea flower has one other very unique characteristic, it is a natural litmus strip! For those of you that might have dozed off in science class, a litmus strip is a chemically treated strip of paper that is used to determine the pH (acid or base) of a solution. In the case of the butterfly pea flower, when it is exposed to acidic liquids like citrus juice or carbonated water, it will turn purple. This reaction is the key to the magic, as the reaction changes creating a colorful swirl of colors that looks like you are peering far into a galaxy (speaking of Galaxy drinks, check out this awesome lemonade from our friends at The Flavor Bender!)
To make the Galaxy Magic Mule, we started out by brewing some Butterfly Pea Flower tea. This tea when brewed is a deep dark indigo color with a very mild (almost flavorless) tea flavor. We wanted to slow the chemical reaction down (when you add acid the reaction is really fast) so we froze the tea into cubes, which slows the reaction down significantly as it only reacts once the ice starts to melt, resulting in the gorgeous gradient between blue and purple as the reaction starts to take place.
Since the primary ingredients of a Moscow Mule (lime, vodka and ginger beer) are all acidic to a various degree, when we added the ingredients to the ice filled mugs, the color starts to change, creating a dramatic color changing cocktail! Normally we would serve a Moscow Mule in the traditional copper Moscow Mule mug, but a spectacular cocktail like this deserves to be shown off, so we used some of our glass double wall mugs from JoyJolt to serve these Galaxy Magic Mules!
These mugs from JoyJolt are perfect for Mules or Coffee!
- 2 oz Vodka
- 1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime
- 4-6 oz Ginger Beer
- Crushed ice
- Crushed "Magic Blue Ice"
- 8 flowers of Butterfly Pea Flower Tea
- 2 cups hot water
- Partially fill the mug with crushed clear ice
- Top with crushed Magic Blue Ice
- Add lime juice
- Add vodka
- Add Ginger Beer
- Top with additional Magic Blue Ice.
- Add hot water to the Butterfly Pea Flower Tea
- Allow to steep for 3-4 minutes.
- Strain out flowers.
- Pour into ice cube trays and freeze
- Crush ice and serve!