Moscow mule

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Moscow Mule
IBA Official Cocktail
Moscow Mule.jpg
Moscow mule as served at the Velvet Tango Room, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Type Mixed drink
Primary alcohol by volume
Served On the rocks; poured over ice
Standard drinkware copper mug
IBA specified ingredients*
Preparation Combine vodka and ginger beer in a highball glass filled with ice. Add lime juice. Stir gently and garnish with a lime slice and sprig of mint on the brim of the copper mug.

A Moscow Mule, also known as a Vodka buck, is a mule 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 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 based in Hartford, Connecticut, 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.[1][2][3][4]

George Sinclair (2007) quotes from an article run in the New York Herald Tribune:

The mule was born in Manhattan but "stalled" on the West Coast for the duration. The birthplace of "Little Moscow" was in New York's Chatham Hotel. That was back in 1941 when the first carload of Jack Morgan's Cock 'n' Bull ginger beer was railing over the plains to give New Yorkers a happy surprise…

The Violette Family helped. Three friends were in the Chatham bar, one John A. Morgan, known as Jack, president of Cock 'n' Bull Products and owner of the Hollywood Cock 'n' Bull Restaurant; one was John G. Martin, president of G.F. Heublein Brothers Inc. of Hartford, Conn., and the third was Rudolph Kunett, president of the Pierre Smirnoff, Heublein's vodka division. As Jack Morgan tells it, "We three were quaffing a slug, nibbling an hors d'oeuvre and shoving toward inventive genius". Martin and Kunett had their minds on their vodka and wondered what would happen if a two-ounce shot joined with Morgan's ginger beer and the squeeze of a lemon. Ice was ordered, lemons procured, mugs ushered in and the concoction put together. Cups were raised, the men counted five and down went the first taste. It was good. It lifted the spirit to adventure. Four or five days later the mixture was christened the Moscow Mule...[5]

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 specialty 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 that Martin visited of the popularity of the Moscow mule.[6] The popularity of serving the Moscow Mule in a copper mug has carried through to present day, primarily due to tradition and aesthetic reasons[7]

According to an article in 1942's Insider Hollywood, the Moscow Mule was most popular in Los Angeles.[4] The Nevada State Journal (12 October 1943) reinforced the mule's popularity in reporting: "Already the Mule is climbing up into the exclusive handful of most-popular mixed drinks". It became known as a favorite drink of Reno casino owner William F. Harrah. In his 1964 book Beat the Dealer, Edward O. Thorp did not name the Tahoe casino where he thought he had been poorly treated as a card counter. He said "I went to the bar and had a Moscow Mule", which was a subtle hint that the location was Harrah's Tahoe, due to Harrah's then well-known proclivity for the drink. In the last five years the Moscow mule being famous in Europe too, but from the beginning was prepared and served with ginger ale instead ginger beer. Now the original recipe is known to the most, thanks to many cocktails bar that develop this culture around this drink, one of the most important is the flagship store of Russian Standard Vodka, settled in Milan and called Davai Milano. This unique vodka bar increase the popularity of the Moscow mule preparing the original one and many others twist on classic, all made with the old jamaica ginger beer, according to the first recipe from the 40s.

Moscow mule

See also[edit]


  • Grimes, William (2001). Straight Up or On the Rocks: The Story of the American Cocktail. New York: North Point Press. ISBN 0-86547-601-2. 


  1. ^ Harvey, Steve (August 21, 1987). "Cock 'n' Bull Story Has a Sad Ending : Famous Sunset Strip Restaurant to Close Its Doors After 50 Years". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ Goode, JJ; from Dave Wondrich (November 2005). "Moscow Mule". Epicurious. Retrieved 9 August 2012. J.J. Goode explains the history behind this early vodka cocktail. 
  3. ^ Stoll, Deborah (September 3, 2009). "The Moscow Mule: A Cocktail That's Still Kicking". LA Weekly. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Gwynn, Eith (27 December 1942). Insider Hollywood. There is a new drink that is a craze in the movie colony now. It is called 'Moscow Mule'.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Sinclair, George (January 2007). "Moscow Mule". Thinking Bartender. Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "What's the Story Behind the Moscow Mule and that Copper Mug?". Paykoc Imports. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "Moscow Mule Mugs - Are Copper Mugs Really Better?". Retrieved 2015-04-09. 

External links[edit]