A Minute with the Mighty Moscow Mule

Ginger Rush: A Minute with the Mighty Moscow Mule

The Moscow Mule is a famous cocktail primarily made of vodka, ginger beer, and lemon juice, and it has a complex and controversial history that includes various theories and stories.

The name "Moscow Mule" is not derived from an image of a mule on the copper mug. Instead, the cocktail's name has a different origin. The term "Mule" comes from its use of ginger beer, which is often called a "mule" due to its strong and spicy flavor, similar to a mule's kick.

The "Moscow" part of the name has several theories: one is that it serves as a tribute to vodka, the main ingredient in the cocktail, which is also a traditional Russian spirit. Another theory suggests that the name was intended to add allure to the cocktail.

History and Origin

The Moscow Mule was invented in the early 1940s. There are several different accounts of its origin, the most famous involving Sophie Berezinski, John Martin, and Jack Morgan. Sophie brought 2,000 copper mugs from Russia, Martin was a distributor of Smirnoff vodka, and Morgan owned the Cock’n Bull pub, which had an excess of ginger beer, leading to their collaboration in creating the Moscow Mule.

A Minute with the Mighty Moscow Mule

A 1948 report in the New York Herald Tribune, according to an article by George Sinclair, stated that the Moscow Mule was created in 1941 at the Chatham Hotel in New York by Morgan, Martin, and Rudolph Kunett, president of the Heublein vodka division. This account confirmed that the cocktail was composed of vodka, ginger beer, and lemon.

In 2007, Wes Price, the head bartender at the Cock’n Bull, claimed he created the Moscow Mule to clear out unsold inventory, including vodka and ginger beer.

Trend and Popularity

The popularity of this drink is closely tied to the use of Smirnoff vodka, as John G. Martin played a key role in promoting Smirnoff vodka and the Moscow Mule across the United States. He used a marketing strategy that included using copper mugs and Polaroid photos, encouraging bartenders to take pictures holding a copper mug and a bottle of Smirnoff vodka to promote the drink.

Flavor and Presentation

The classic Moscow Mule recipe is a mix of vodka, fresh lime juice, and ginger beer, traditionally served in a copper mug. This serving style, along with the cocktail's unique taste, contributed to its widespread recognition.

Although there are various historical sources, the specific record of when this cocktail first appeared in a recipe book or similar publication is unclear; however, the buzz created by the cocktail and its close relationship with Smirnoff vodka suggest that the Moscow Mule may have gained attention in a perfect commercial campaign.

The history of the Moscow Mule is woven with stories and marketing campaigns, from Sophie Berezinski's copper mugs to Wes Price's resourcefulness and Martin's marketing genius. The Moscow Mule presents a unique business model of creativity, innovation, and serendipity.

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