Moscow mule

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Moscow mule
IBA Official Cocktail
Moscow Mule at Rye, San Francisco.jpg
Moscow mule as served at Rye, San Francisco, California, United States
Type Mixed drink
Primary alcohol by volume
Served On the rocks; poured over ice
Standard garnish

Lime slice

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. Garnish.
* Moscow mule recipe at International Bartenders Association

A Moscow mule is a cocktail made with vodka, spicy ginger beer, and lime juice, garnished with a slice or wedge of lime. It is a type of buck and therefore sometimes known as a vodka buck. The Moscow mule is usually served in a copper mug.


The cocktail was invented in 1941 by John G. Martin of G.F. Heublein Brothers, Inc., an American East Coast spirits and food distributor based in Hartford, Connecticut, Sophie Berezinski[1][2][3] of the Moscow Copper Co.[4] and "Jack" Morgan, President of Cock 'n' Bull Products (which produced ginger beer) and proprietor of the Cock and Bull restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, which was popular with celebrities.[5][6][7][8]

George Sinclair's 2007 article on the origin of the drink quotes the New York Herald Tribune from 1948:

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...[9]

This story was well known for years, however in 2007 a new version of the invention of the Moscow mule cocktail was published, one that seemed to be realistic since it takes bar-tending skills to mix these balanced flavors together. In this version the cocktail's inventor was Wes Price, Morgan's head bartender and the drink was born out of a need to clear the bar's cellar that was packed with unsalable goods such as Smirnoff Vodka and ginger beer.

Eric Felten quotes Wes Price in an article that was published in 2007 in The Wall Street Journal:

"I just wanted to clean out the basement," Price would say of creating the Moscow mule. "I was trying to get rid of a lot of dead stock." The first one he mixed he served to the actor Broderick Crawford. "It caught on like wildfire," Price bragged."[10]

The Moscow mule is almost always served in a copper mug. The popularity of this drinking vessel is attributable 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 used as proof to the next bar Martin visited of the popularity of the Moscow mule.[11] The copper mug remains, to this day, a popular serving vessel for the Moscow mule.

According to a 1942 Insider Hollywood article, the Moscow mule was most popular in Los Angeles, where it originated.[8] 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 book Beat the Dealer (1964), Edward O. Thorp did not name the Tahoe casino where he thought he had been poorly treated as a card counter. Instead, he wrote, "I went to the bar and had a Moscow mule", subtly hinting that the location was Harrah's Tahoe, due to Harrah's then well-known proclivity for the drink.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]


  • In the radio play Adventures of Philip Marlow: Young Man's Fancy


  • In the book One Night in Vegas, Fletcher Ford is drinking a Moscow mule out of a traditional copper mug and uses it to seduce character Talia Perizkova.


  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season 7 episode 7, "Once More into the Breach", Ezri Dax orders a Moscow mule from Quark after he offered her advice on the feelings she was grappling with for the husband of her previous host.
  • In the Better Call Saul season 2 episode, "Bali H'ai", Schweikart, a founding partner of Kim Wexler's opposing firm, treats her to an upscale lunch to recruit her, orders a Moscow mule in a copper mug, and offers her one, too. She declines both the mid-day drink, which she calls "vintage", and the job offer, but tacitly acknowledges Schweikart's message that the freedom to drink during a working lunch symbolizes the firm's larger offer of freedom to "spread her wings", in a firm unlike HHM's restrictive, unsupportive environment. Later that evening, Kim orders herself a Moscow mule at a bar, and then calls Jimmy to help her fleece a philanderer who is hitting on her.[12]
  • In the first episode of Ash vs Evil Dead (2015), Ash walks into a bar, spots a girl sitting alone and says: "Send me down a Moscow mule and two of whatever the lady is having."
  • The Real Housewives of New York City (Season 8, episode 4) Bethenny Frankel served Moscow mules with her Skinnygirl Vodka at her birthday party in Bridgehampton.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The history behind the Moscow Mule & the copper cup". WGNO. Jacki Jing. 20 July 2016. 
  2. ^ "The Story of the Original Moscow Mule Mug and Its Timely Comeback". Tales of the Cocktail. Jodi Cash. 26 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "From Los Angeles, With Love". Molotov Cocktail. Mathew D. Retrieved 9 May 2017. 
  4. ^ "The Origin of the Moscow Mule & Copper Mug". Moscow Copper Co. Retrieved 9 May 2017. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ Stoll, Deborah (September 3, 2009). "The Moscow Mule: A Cocktail That's Still Kicking". LA Weekly. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Sinclair, George (January 2007). "Moscow Mule". Thinking Bartender. Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  10. ^ Felten, Eric (2007-06-09). "A Cock(tail) 'n' Bull Story". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2016-10-29. 
  11. ^ "What's the Story Behind the Moscow Mule and that Copper Mug?". Paykoc Imports. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  12. ^ Bowman, Donna (March 21, 2016). "Better Call Saul: Bali H'ai". The A.V. Club. 

External links[edit]