Vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, the Moscow Mule is one of the simplest cocktails out there and remains a favorite across the United States. When made properly, it’s served in a copper mug, which takes on the cold temperature of the liquid. It’s easy-to-make cocktail that has enough citrus and bite to create its own following.
Like many great cocktails, there is a debate over its origin. Some say Los Angeles, others say New York, no one is really sure, but the evidence seems to lean to La La Land these days–we tend to agree with the evidence. What’s really important to remember is that it gained popularity in Los Angeles due to a clever marketing scheme.
Back in 1939, John Martin, President of the Heublein drinks company, bought himself Smirnoff. Try as he might, however, he couldn’t sell the Vodka, the spirit just wasn’t in fashion in those days. However, as the story goes, he got together with his buddy John “Jack” Morgan, president of Cock ‘n’ Bull Products and owner of the Hollywood Cock ‘n’ Bull Restaurant, who was struggling to sell his ginger beer and together the created the Moscow Mule.
While often necessity is the mother of invention, it doesn’t seem like that story happens to be true. Rather, invention’s other mother, “the desire to tidy up,” is responsible for the drinks creation. According to Eric Felten’s 2007 article in The Wall Street Journal, Wes Price, a bartender at jack’s Cock ‘n’ Bull restaurant, created the drink, because he “just wanted to clean out the basement.”
- 2 oz. vodka
- 1/2 oz. lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 6 oz. ginger beer
Squeeze lime juice into a copper Moscow Mule mug (or a Collins glass) and drop in the squeezed rind. Add two or three ice cubes, then pour in the vodka and fill with cold ginger beer. Serve with a stirring rod.