The Moscow Mule: The History And Resurrgence Of The Drink And The Copper Mug}

Submitted by: JT Smiles

This is the story of the Moscow Mule drink and mug, the rise in popularity, and a few recipes of the refreshing drink. If you mix spicy ginger beer, lime juice, vodka and garnish it with a slice or wedge of lime you have the refresing Moscow Mule, also known as a Vodka Buck. And you may take my word for it… it is refreshing and very GOOD!

The recipe became popular in the 1940’s as Hollywood celebrities took a liking to this locally invented drink and, of course, what Hollywood likes will most likely become a popular favorite across the country. Which is exactly what happened. And the Smirnoff company was particularly pleased as the marketing of the original Moscow Mule featured their vodka as a main ingredient. Then by the 1960’s, like many fads, the drink fell out of favor.

However, if you have been to a pub or a bar lately it’s likely you have seen one or more types of the beautiful copper mugs that is The traditional drinkware of the refreshing Moscow Mule. The copper, metal glasses are shiny and large often adorned with a handle of some sort as the glass gets frosty and chilled. Following the mention on a popular TV show, there if every indication the drink is back and may be here to stay.

The inventors of the concoction, John A. Morgan (Cock-n-Bull Restaurant), Rudolph Kunett (Smirnoff President),and John G. Martin(Heublein, a spirits and food distributor) knew they were onto something special. The men at the Cock ‘n’ Bull restaurant in Hollywood, Martin specifically, ordered engraved mugs made of copper with a mule logo and the drink and glass became forever linked.

What is copper mug made from?

Many of today’s mugs are copper-plated outside and lacquered. The inside might have a nickel, tin or a stainless steel lining. However, Moscow mule mugs can be made from 100% copper are available, but be prepared open your wallet! Several styles of the mugs are hammered to give it a brazen and worn luster. The mugs are pretty and bar owners today often have to take special precautions,like holding I.D.s, just to make sure the beautiful mugs are returned to the bar at the end of the evening.

Here are some popular recipes of variations of the Moscow Mule.


2 Ounces Vodka

2 Ounces Ginger Bee

Fill copper mug with ice. Add vodka and ginger beer. Mix and top with splash of lime juice. Garnish with a lemon in the drink.

Smirnoff Moscow Mule recipe

45 ml Smirnoff vodka

15 ml ginger syrup lime cordial

15 ml lime juice

Bob’s Moscow mule Recipe

2 oz vodka

8 oz ginger ale

Using a chilled cooper mug, fill with ice. Pour ingredients over ice. Garnish with sprig of fresh mint.

Mezcal Mule/Mexican Mule this drink is made by replacing vodka with Tequila and adding lime juice and ginger beer, over ice.

Oprahs Moscow Mule: Prepared in a traditional copper mug with the following ingredients: Smirnoff vodka (1 1/4 oz), ginger beer (3 oz.), sugar syrup (1 tsp), lime juice (1/4 oz), mint (1 sprig) and lime (1 slice). To prepare the drink, pour vodka over some ice and add sugar syrup followed by lime juice. Then top this up with ginger beer. After stirring, serve it garnished with lime slice and mint sprig.

Don’t feel like you have an alcoholic drink in the mug! Go ahead and just put in ginger beer, lemon juice, your favorite soda or even Milk. The kids can have a great time joning you in you home bar as they get their favorite juice from the mug that Mom and Dad are drinking from. These cups are simply fun…that is all there is to it!

About the Author: JTSmiles simply enjoys social bartending and wants to help others share in their passion for establishing their own home or business bar. He offers a wide array of bar supplies at


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