The Iconic Moscow Mule Mug – Are Copper Mugs Really Better?

Are Copper Mugs Really Better?
What really drives the enjoyment of a great cocktail or beverage? Is it just the alcohol or your favorite mixer? Doubt it. A great beverage should make an impact. It should change your mood, heighten your senses, and trigger happy thoughts. Drinking also happens to be a team sport for most of us. After all, haven’t we all heard “never drink alone?” Enjoying a cocktail is about bringing friends, colleagues, and even strangers together to share experiences and good fun. In fact, nearly every famous drink has a story all its own. The Martini, Cosmopolitan, and Margarita just to name a few.

While none of these cocktails are traditionally served in a copper mug, the legendary Moscow Mule certainly is. The Moscow mule is a classic cocktail made with vodka, ginger beer, lime juice all carried in a stylish and functional copper mug. The recipe is simple yet refreshing. What truly sets this cocktail apart aren’t its ingredients but its traditional vessel, the unmistakable copper mug.

There are hundreds of stories on where the infamous copper mug filled with ginger beer and vodka came from. No one seems to have a great grasp on the truth, yet a summary of the more popular stories like this:

A gentleman who owns a company that makes ginger beer finds himself next to a man who owns a company that makes vodka. The two men have much in common and tell each other tales and war stories. Before long they have created a unique recipe using their products while including a nice garnish of a lime. The bar they are in happens to have a copper mug for testing and the Moscow mule is born. After that, the marketing geniuses get it into the hands of movie stars, socialites, and rock stars. The rest is history.

Benefits of Copper Moscow Mule Mugs

The Moscow mule first hit the scene in the 1940’s in the iconic copper mug. Clearly the copper mug has a style and look all its own, but does it really make a better cocktail? You have to be careful who you ask that. Some die hard “mulers” (a word we made up for fans of the Moscow mule) will consider that question to justify a dirty look at the least. Traditions are important and after 70 years of Moscow mules in copper mugs it’s a hard one to ignore. Even so, it is important to understand the truth about he necessity of copper with your cocktails.


Copper mugs are incredible at conducting both heat and cold. Why? Because science, that’s why. Copper is a highly conductive metal hence its use in electrical systems. Cold drinks in copper mugs have been used for hundreds of years for this attribute. After pouring an icy concoction into your copper mug, you will notice a nearly instantaneous chill that permeates the mug. In addition the handles of a Moscow mule mug are more than a design aesthetic, they are to keep your hand away from the mug to keep you from passing heat to your icy beverage. So, the Moscow mule recipe is certainly going to find its way into a copper mug, but we believe that any drink worth keeping cold should use a copper mug. Remember, it is science!

Better Taste in a Copper Mug

Taste benefits are all over the map. Just imagine someone from new york arguing with someone from LA on the best tasting pizza. The benefits of the copper Moscow mule mug on taste are subjective at best. We do know that there are experts that maintain the vodka slowly oxidizes the walls of the copper mug which helps boost the aroma and enhance the taste. Chilled copper can also increase the potency of the carbonation in ginger beer, soda water, etc.  This bonus fizziness is welcomed by most when compared to a red solo cup. The lime juice used in the Moscow mule recipe also interacts with the copper reducing the acidity and increasing the tanginess. This magical alchemy of ingredients held in copper mug proves to be one of the most magical experiences available in a cocktail.

The Overall Experience

For those who appreciate the classic style of a copper mug, the most certain reason to use that copper mug is the presentation. We all know the unmistakable look of a wine glass, shot glass, and martini glass. The holder of the beverage can be as important as the drink itself. The Moscow mule served in a copper mug is easily the most distinctive cocktail at most restaurants, bars, and kitchens. The popularity of the Moscow mule began to spread when photos of people in Manhatten and Hollywood started to circulate showing people drinking from the iconic copper mug. The Moscow mule made famous initially not by the enjoyment of the recipe, but the eye-catching look of its container.

So Are Copper Mugs Really Better?

If you still are on the fence at this point I guess we may need to just come out and say it. Yes. Copper mugs are both subjectively and objectively (science!) the best choice for your favorite Moscow mule. Additionally, the copper mug may be one of, if not the best choice for any chilled beverage. You need not appreciate all the benefits, but chances are you can find one reason or another to make your next drink in a copper Moscow mule mug.

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