8 Interesting Things You May Not Know About the Moscow Mule

Interesting History of the Moscow Mule

You have probably heard about it by now. The Moscow Mule. The drink synonymous with simple refreshing taste. It is the all season cocktail that everyone from the discriminating cocktail connoisseur to the first time drinker can appreciate. The combination of flavors between the ginger and lime are interesting enough to leave you wanting more, yet not so potent it would scare off the occasional cocktail sipper. If by chance that unique flavor doesn’t pull you in, the iconic copper mug should do the trick.

Most copper mugs are imposters. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But, authentic Moscow Mule mugs are more than just the color of copper. Real Moscow Mule mugs are made of pure copper to give a distinct taste to the drinker. Many of the mugs passing themselves off as the real deal end up with linings, coverings, or some other cut-rate manufacturing process.

There is more to the Moscow Mule than the copper mug of course. Here are 8 different things you may not have known about worlds most refreshing copper mug carried cocktail!

  1. The original Moscow Mules were imported from Russia 75 years ago. The recipe calls for vodka after all and who knows vodka better than them?
  2. Vodka and Ginger Beer were matched together not because of the taste but because neither sold very well by themselves. The copper mug has been around for thousands of years. But, the copper mug became the Moscow Mule when two common ingredients were combined. Two ingredients that no one cared for at the time. John G. Martin, a spirits distributor, and Jack Morgan, the owner of the Cock N Bull bar in Los Angeles created the now famous cocktail because of the slow adoption of the then unknown Smirnoff vodka and Cock N Bull branded ginger beer. They needed a plan and the Moscow Mule was born.
  3. Smirnoff Vodka is the brand that almost didn’t make it.  Before the Moscow Mule hit it big, Smirnoff was just a small business like any other struggling to survive. It wasn’t until it became the prime ingredient in a copper mug that the company became a household name.
  4. The notorious copper mugs were headed for the landfill before the Mule hit it big. A Russian immigrant had 2,000 copper mugs that desperately needed to be sold. She went bar to bar trying to find a taker and thought she would have to just trash them until the Cock N’ Bull decided that a copper mug was perfect for their new signature drink.
  5. Hollywood made the Mule a success. Just like today, famous musicians, actors, and socialites can have a profound impact on trends. The Cock N Bull had their Moscow mule mugs engraved for their A-list guests so they could grab them from behind the bar when they made an appearance. When people saw them holding that mug, they wanted one just like it.
  6. The Moscow Mule had (and should still have) a snappy jingle. No audio or video of this footage could be found. Luckily, we do know the lyrics which tell a story that is only limited by your imagination. The jingle had the dance Killer Joe Piro cutting a rug to a song by Skitch Henderson and Carmen McRae (pictured below) that went something like this, “Stand stubborn, stop, sudden, look cool. Turn it on, take it off, the Smirnoff Mule!”
  7. The Smirnoff Ad Published in Ebony, September 1965 – Vol 20, No. 11
    Smirnoff Mule Ad

    American jazz singer/actress Carmen McRae and pianist/composer Skitch Henderson (CC BY-NC 2.0 by classic_film)

  8. The Story of the Moscow Mule told by the Man who Created It. Watch John G. Martin tell the story of how he was able to get the Moscow Mule to catch on.