One evening at the Chatham Hotel (no longer extant) in New York City, the trio wondered what would happen if they mixed a two-ounce shot of Smirnoff vodka with Morgan’s ginger beer and a squeeze of lime.
Four or five drinks later, the new cocktail was christened the Moscow Mule. Why?
Vodka is associated with Russia;† Moscow is the capital. “Buck” and “mule” are antiquated names for a family of mixed drinks that incorporate ginger ale or ginger beer and citrus juice (more about them).
Why The Copper Mug?
To aid vodka sales, Martin and Morgan promoted the new cocktail at the Cock and Bull restaurant. To amp up the marketing, it was served in a copper mug engraved with two mules kicking up their heels.
Many of the stars had their own mugs engraved with their names, hanging over the bar. Martin and Morgan knew how to use star power to sell a drink!
THE ORIGINAL MOSCOW MULE RECIPE
Ingredients Per Drink
2 shots Smirnoff vodka
Juice from 1/2 fresh lime
Ginger beer to taste
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a rocks glass.
You’ll find modern variations that turn the Moscow Mule into a tall drink, add cranberry juice, orange bitters, substitute lemon juice for the lime juice, and so forth.
But that night at the Chatham Hotel, the three inventors used only vodka, lime juice, ginger beer and ice. Follow suit for an authentic Moscow Mule.
You don’t need copper mugs, but you can buy them on Amazon.com, with or without an engraved kicking mule.
While you’re enjoying your drink, check out the history of vodka.
*Source: Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Industry Review Support Tables 2011.
†Vodka actually originated in Poland. The history of vodka.