In March, we celebrate the creation of the Moscow Mule cocktail. It has convoluted beginnings depending on which source you consult. But, in short, the drink was born out of necessity. In the 1940s, vodka was quite popular in Russia, but not the United States.
An enterprising distiller had purchased the rights to Smirnoff in the late ’30s, but Americans were still in love with whiskey and beer. A friend, and bar owner, had a similar problem after creating his own ginger beer. It was sitting in the basement of the bar. Add an enterprising bartender, with a girlfriend who’d inherited a copper company, to a huge brainstorming session surely fueled with cocktails, and the marriage of vodka with ginger beer served in a copper mug was born.
One thing we know for sure. Science is behind the copper mug in the equation. A chilled drink served in a copper mug will stay cool because the copper is chilled by the ice. While you’re trying to sort out the history, enjoy some of these Moscow Mule classics.
The Original Moscow Mule
How could we celebrate the Mule by not starting with the original? This version features Smirnoff Vodka with the irresistible kick of ginger.
1.5 ounces Smirnoff No. 21
4 ounces ginger beer
As desired squeeze of lime
Combine vodka and ginger beer in a copper mug, over ice, with a squeeze of lime on top.
The Lodge by STK (NYC)
1.5 ounces Belvedere Unfiltered Vodka
1 ounce Chartreuse
1/2 ounce lime juice
Lime wheel float
Combine vodka, Chartreuse and lime juice in an ice-filled mule mug. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with the lime wheel and a sprig of fresh mint.
One X and Only
Rooftop at Exchange Place (Jersey City)
2 ounces Ketel One Vodka
0.75 ounce strawberry syrup
3 ounces ginger beer
0.25 ounces lime juice
Fresh mint leaf for garnish
Combine ingredients in an ice-filled copper mug and garnish with a mint leaf.
Ginger Snap Cookie Mule
The Skylark (NYC)
1.5 ounces Tito’s Vodka
0.75 ounces ginger liquor
0.75 ounces Feretti Biscotti
0.75 ounces lime juice
Combine ingredients in a shaker and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled copper mug. Garnish with a ginger snap cookie and lime wheel.
Pear Moscow Mule
This Mule has a pear twist along with the warming effects of cinnamon and fresh rosemary. Courtesy of USA Pears. Find the recipe for the cocktail, and simple syrup, here.
No matter how, or where, you celebrate the discovery of the Moscow Mule, remember to enjoy responsibly!