Why In The World Is It Called A Moscow Mule, Anyway?

September 25, 2015

A Moscow mule, also known as a Vodka buck, is a cocktail made with a high quality vodka, a spicy ginger beer, and lime juice, garnished with a slice or wedge of lime. It is usually served in a copper mug. The cocktail became popular during the vodka craze in the United States during the 1950s. The cocktail name refers to the popular perception of vodka as a Russian product.

The cocktail was invented in 1941 by John G. Martin of G.F. Heublein Brothers, Inc., an East Coast spirits and food distributor, and "Jack" Morgan, President of Cock 'n' Bull Products (which produced ginger beer) and proprietor of the Cock 'n' Bull restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles popular with celebrities.

Taking a leap of faith, John G. Martin had bought the U.S. rights to the French Smirnoff brand in 1939. He unfortunately found that he couldn’t move the stuff. No one was drinking vodka.

One somber afternoon, Martin was lamenting his inability to sell his booze at the L.A. bar Cock 'n' Bull with the owner, Jack Morgan. Morgan had a similar problem, but with ginger beer. There was another hard-up businessman present who had an abundance of copper mugs he couldn't move either.

With a few drinks under their belt, a little bit of ingenuity and a bartender on hand, they put their problems together and came up with the Moscow Mule -- a vodka and ginger beer cocktail served in copper mugs. They marketed the cocktail like crazy and lo and behold, it took off. From then on, vodka was accepted in the American cocktail scene.

The Moscow mule is almost always served in a copper mug. The popularity of this way to serve the drink was due to Martin, who went around the country to sell Smirnoff vodka and popularize the Moscow mule. Martin asked bartenders to pose with a speciality copper mug and a bottle of Smirnoff vodka and photographed a polaroid picture of them. He took two photos, leaving one with the bartender for display. The other photo would be put into a collection and would be used as proof to the next bar of the popularity of the Moscow mule. The popularity of serving the Moscow Mule in a copper mug has carried through to present day, primarily due to tradition and aesthetic reasons.

In 2014, Moscow mule became popular amongst the party crowd once again.

Check out our unique Moscow Mule Mugs, they both can be personalized for a unique gift.

 




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