History of the Moscow Mule and the Copper Mug

by Richard Peristere

A frosted copper mug, a mound of crushed ice, ginger beer, the perfect blend of vodka and lime juice...essential ingredients for the perfect summer cocktail. But why the copper mug? What even is ginger beer? We'll dive deep into the complexities of this uniquely American beverage. Check out the different styles of copper mugs along the way, from the original to now.

cocktail, moscow mule, drink

The Moscow Mule is from Russia...right??

Despite the name Moscow Mule, this cocktail recipe is uniquely American. What? How? Around the turn of the century, Sophie Berezinski was working at her father's copper factory in Moscow. Sophie designed the original copper mug but ran into a major sales problem. No one is Russia wanted the mugs! Sophie, like many others, embarked on the immigrant journey and left her home in Russia. Before she left Russia, her father put over 2000 copper mugs on the ship and the story begins.

Original Moscow Mule Mug

2000 Copper Mugs, now what?

2000 copper mugs and a dream. After Sophie made the initial trip to New York, she eventually married her husband and moved to Los Angeles. Her now husband grew tired of seeing all these copper mugs line their apartment and thus Sophie went off to sell her wares. In an unbelievable stroke of luck, Sophie runs into John Martin. John Martin happened to own Smirnoff Vodka. At the time, Americans generally preferred hard liquor but John Martin wanted to bring a clear spirit stateside.

vodka, smirnoff, spirit

The Cock n Bull Pub

Sophie again by a stroke of luck meets another man, Jack Morgan. jack Morgan had been running the Cock N Bull bar in Hollywood and had been crafting ginger beer in the bar. The problem was nobody wanted to drink ginger beer. They preferred Ginger Ale. They decided to combine copper mugs, ginger beer, Smirnoff vodka and lime juice. Thus the Moscow Mule was born.

moscow, mule, vodka

What exactly is Ginger Beer? Where else is it used?

To be precise Ginger Beer is a sweetened and carbonated, usually non-alcoholic beverage. Historically it was produced by the natural fermentation of prepared ginger spice, yeast and sugar. What makes a Ginger Beer truly special is the sweetness paired alongside a plethora of cocktail recipes. Ginger Beer is obviously famous for its pairing with the Moscow Mule. but ginger beer is also used in a Dark and Stormy or a Pimm's Cup. The goal is to balance the harshness of a spirit with the cool refreshing flavor of ginger beer.

beer, beer bottle, ginger beard beer

Does the Copper Mug Make a Difference

While we now know the History of the Mug itself. Do the copper mugs make the Moscow Mule taste any better? The Copper Mug itself acts as a conductor of heat so its perfect to keep the drink cold. The Mugs wide mouth also allows for the scents and aromas to permeate the air. Also the frost on the edges looks amazing.

The Name Moscow Mule

Where the name "Moscow Mule" comes from is a little more nebulous. Some say "Moscow" is due to the origin of vodka. While the "Mule" portion is due to the strong nature of the cocktail. Other says the Moscow Mule name originates from the American ground swell of support of Russia following WW2 victory. Regardless of the true origins, the Moscow Mule had become a staple American Cocktail made by bartenders across the globe.

copper, mug, moscow

Moscow Mule Recipe

The Moscow Mule, the name of which capitalized on post WW2 fervor for our Russian allies, is a delightful Vodka drink mixed with some lime juice and ginger beer. 

Ingredients :

  • .75 Ounces of Fresh Lime Juice (Squeeze Fresh Limes)

  • 2 Ounces of Vodka

  • Ginger Beer

Directions :

  • Fill the copper mug to the brim with ice cubes

  • Pour in Vodka and lime juice

  • Add Ginger Beer then stir

  • Add Lime Wedge as Garnish

Need the Perfect Moscow Mule Mugs?

Here at AFewCocktails we sell the perfect copper mug for your Moscow Mule Cocktail. Check it out. Our Moscow Mule Mug


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