The Moscow Mule has one of the most intricate and interesting histories offered by any cocktail. The Moscow Mule cocktail recipe, and the iconic copper cups they’re served in, are legend.
The story of this cocktail begins with the Berezinski family and the Moscow Copper Company.
Daughter Sophie took an interest in the company and designed her own (gorgeous) copper cup. When things got tough in Russia in the 20s, though, she took 2,000 of the cups and went to America, hoping to sell them and jumpstart her new life.
Her plan was slightly altered by finding love in New York City, where she married and settled down.
In 1939, her husband laid down an ultimatum: find something to do with all these cups, or he was throwing them out. Sophie went out to Hollywood, where in 1941 she created the very first Moscow Mule at the Cock n’ Bull Pub.
Three people were involved: Sophie, John Martin, who had just bought a dying vodka distillery–Smirnoff–and was having a terrible time getting his stock to move, and Jack Morgan, who owned the pub–and a brand of ginger beer he was having trouble moving.
With Sophie’s gorgeous cups, Martin’s vodka, and Morgan’s ginger beer, the iconic cocktail was made. It took a few tries, and some fails, before they got the perfect flavor and temperature, but once they landed on the final recipe, they knew they had a winner.
Not only did the drink taste and smell amazing, but the copper cups kept it just the right temperature.
They took pictures and promoted the drink all over America, and particularly among Hollywood A-listers. It remained a highly popular drink until the Cold War, when hard feelings towards Russia tanked sales.
Thankfully, the drink was revived after a few years, and today it’s one of the world’s most popular drinks. In fact, you can even drink an “authentic” one, since Sophie’s descendants and the Moscow Copper Company still sell the original mug design online.
How To Make It
- 2 oz premium vodka
- 1/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- 6 oz quality ginger beer
- Lime and mint for garnish
- Chill your copper mug in advance
- Fill the copper mug with ice and pour in the vodka
- Squeeze or pour in the lime juice
- Top with ginger beer and garnish with lime and/or mint
Tips for a Perfect Moscow Mule
We recommend a top-shelf vodka. Always freshly squeeze your lime juice and choose a ginger beer that’s made with real ginger (not ginger flavoring) and no corn syrup. Craft ginger beer is the way to go here.
There are some variations, which we’ll go over, but we recommend you at least try the original recipe developed by Sophia, Jack, and John first.
For variations, you can’t beat the Kicking Mule, which muddles in a couple of slices of jalapeño.
There’s also the Kentucky Mule, made with Kentucky bourbon instead of vodka!
There’s a reason this cocktail is a world-favorite. If you’ve never tried one, tonight’s the night!
What are the main ingredients in a Moscow Mule?
A Moscow Mule is made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. It’s also typically garnished with mint and lime.
Why does a Moscow Mule have to be in a copper cup?
Copper mugs are the cup of choice for a Moscow Mule because Copper conducts temperature, keeping your drink nice and cold. Some say it also enhances the flavor, and it looks great!
What alcohol is in a Moscow Mule?
A Moscow Mule is typically made with vodka. There are variations that substitute in other spirits, however, like the Kentucky Mule that uses bourbon instead.
What is the difference between a Moscow Mule and a Russian mule?
A Russian mule is typically made with gin, while the Moscow Mule is made with vodka. Gin gives the drink a more botanical taste.
Do you chill copper mugs for Moscow Mules?
Yes, you can chill copper mugs to make sure your drink is extra cold. The good thing about copper is that it takes on the temperature of the drink, so even if you don’t chill it beforehand it will help keep your mule nice and cold!
Are ginger beer and ginger ale the same thing?
No! Ginger beer is usually made with fresh ginger, while ginger ale is sweetened with a ginger syrup. That means that ginger beer has a stronger, zingy ginger flavor compared to ginger ale. For a Moscow mule, you should always use ginger beer.