Moscow Mule

The Moscow Mule is a very simple cocktail that’s extremely refreshing and has a fun back story. Three friends were sitting in a bar in New York, Chatham Hotel bar to be exact. One of these gentlemen was John A. Morgan (“Jack”), president of Cock ‘n’ Bull Products, which produced ginger beer. The second gentleman was John G. Martin, the president of Heublein Brothers, Inc., an American producer and distributor of alcoholic beverages. The last gentleman was the president of Pierre Smirnoff, Rudolph Kunett.


Martin and Kunett were curious what would happen if they mixed two ounces of their vodka with some of Jack Morgan’s ginger beer and a squeeze of lime. Eager to test this cocktail idea out, they ordered mugs, ice, and limes and mixed up what would later be known as a Moscow Mule. They tasted the drink, tweaked the recipe, and four or five later they had their finished product.1


One of the most unique aspects of the Moscow Mule has nothing to do with its ingredients, but actually what it is served in. The Moscow Mule is most commonly found in a copper mug, and drinking one in anything else is “like eating Asian food without chopsticks; it’s not an authentic experience!”2 It’s said that the copper mug became associated with the Moscow Mule because as John Martin was traveling from bar to bar, teaching the bartenders how to make Moscow Mules with their Smirnoff vodka, he would take pictures of the bartenders holding a copper mug and a bottle of Smirnoff vodka. He would then take these pictures to the next bars to prove its popularity.3




  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 4 oz Ginger beer
  • 1/2 oz Fresh lime juice (about half a lime)
  • 1 Lime for garnish
  • Copper mug


Start by filling your copper mug with ice. The copper mugs used in these images were gifts, but these are similar and fairly inexpensive. Next, go ahead and juice half of your lime. Pour the vodka and lime juice over the ice, and follow those with the ginger beer. Cut a wedge of lime and toss it on top as a garnish. Enjoy!


For a fun twist on this great drink, try substituting the ginger beer for Blenheim Hot Ginger Ale. Blenheim and I share our home state, South Carolina, and they make some great hot ginger ale. If you haven’t tried hot ginger ale before, do yourself a favor and find a way to get some!



  1. Moscow Mule by George Sinclair (archived)
  2. What’s The Story Behind The Moscow Mule And That Copper Mug? by Paykoc Imports
  3. Moscow Mule by Wikipedia
  4. All images courtesy of my beautiful wife, Candace Clarkson.

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