Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to Ketel One's Master of the Mule competition held at one of my favorite rooftop patios, Happiest Hour. The event was hosted by an industry legend, Carl Nolet Jr., who is an 11th generation Nolet, the family of distillers behind the Ketel One Vodka brand.
Before the competition began, Nolet gave an amazing speech about his upbringing and what it was like to be an 11th generation member of the insanely successful Nolet family. He told us that he was certainly not given a free ride just because of his last name. He had to start from the ground up and earn his place in the company. Nolet told a story about polishing copper at the distillery. He polished for so long that his hands turned completely green. It was then that he learned his first lesson, if you don't know what to do, then ASK someone. His manager told him that all he needed to do was wear gloves, and problem solved. He would have known that, had he only asked. This story is the pinnacle point in his career, never been too smart to simply ask.
Nolet told us he came to the states to grow the brand with just over $25,000 to his name. That money was for him to grow the brand, and for him to live. He told us that his success in the states directly stems from Ketel One's relationship with bartenders. That brought this event full circle, seeing as this event was all about highlighting the skills of some of the best bartenders in Texas.
Six bartenders from all over Texas - 2 Dallas, 2 Houston 2 Austin - competed to be crowned Master of the Mule. Bartenders were asked to incorporate their heritage into their Mule creation. Each bartender told us a story of their upbringing and how they crafted their cocktail.
Two prizes were ultimately awarded: Master of the Mule based on the 3 judges' choice and People's Choice. When each of us entered the party, we were given a token to vote for our favorite mule.
Each bartender had their time to shine, and competed one by one!
We were also able to sample several different full-size Mules from the bar! There was a spicy mule called a "Texas Mule with a Kick" that was made with pineapple juice and chili salt, and my personal favorite (and not just because my name is Sarah, ok maybe it is) Sarah's Unicorn Mule. Sarah's Unicorn Mule had Ketel One Oranje, blood orange nectar and topped with Fever Tree Ginger Beer.
Here is the Texas Mule with a Kick -
And Sarah's Unicorn Mule-
This was a fantastic event that celebrated one of my favorite vodka brands, Ketel One! Congrats to all of the bartenders who competed and showcased their talents this past Wednesday!
Do you prefer sweet or spicy mule?
What is your favorite place to get a Ketel One Mule in Dallas?
Thank you to Ketel One for sponsoring this post.
All thoughts and opinions are my own.
A huge thank you to all of the brands that make Dallas Love List possible!