The ever-popular Moscow mule (2024)

Though it’s over 75 years old, the Moscow mule is one of the nation’s most popular co*cktails. In 2017, it was the most Googled drink in the United States, surpassing even the beloved margarita.

A great Moscow mule combines smooth vodka with ice-cold, spicy ginger beer and lime – in a signaturecopper mug. Ginger beer doesn’t taste the same without the copper mug, which highlights the sweet-and-spicy taste of the beverage. Learn more about your favorite drink with some of the most interesting tidbits about its past and present.

The power of threes

Back in the 1940s, when the co*cktail was invented, bars were trying like crazy to get Americans to drink vodka. (Hint: they didn’t like it much!) No one more than John G. Martin, the owner of Smirnoff.

Martin teamed up with Jack Morgan, the owner of a Los Angeles British pub called co*ck n’ Bull. Morgan had too much ginger beer he couldn’t sell.

Sophie Berezinski came to California with 2,000 copper mugs she’d designed in her father’s Soviet Union copper shop. She couldn’t find anyone interested in purchasing her wares – until she came upon a vodka magnate and a British pub owner trying to make their new drink more recognizable.

The trio paired their three unwanted items into something everybody couldn't get enough of: the iconic Moscow mule.

Why the copper mug?

The ever-popular Moscow mule (1)Now Moscow mules, and particularly the iconic copper mugs they’re served in, are anything but unwanted. Not only are drinkers expecting the smooth taste of ginger beer, they’re also expecting to receive their drinks in copper mugs.Mugs come in glossy or brushed finishes, and they can be embossed or engraved. Many bars sell branded copper mugs to guests who can’t get enough of this well-loved drink.

While copper mugs do make mule drinkers look cool, they also serve a purpose. Copper interacts with ginger beer to create more bubbles. That's the reason the drink tastes different in a copper mug versus a glass or plastic one. Copper also keeps the drink cool.

Irish, Kentucky and Mexican – the mule goes international

While the classic Moscow mule gets its name from its Russian vodka, you can make a mule with different spirits for a fun twist. Here are a few of our favorites:

1. Swap vodka for Irish whiskey and you'll have yourself an Irish mule
2. Instead of vodka, use bourbon and garnish with mint for a Kentucky mule
3. Add jalapeño pepper slices and replace the vodka with tequila for a spicy Mexican mule

The ever-popular Moscow mule (2)Now, raise a proper copper mug and drink up!

The ever-popular Moscow mule (2024)


What is the story behind the Moscow Mule? ›

The Moscow Mule was born in Los Angeles during the 1940s and took root as part of a marketing campaign by a fledgling vodka company. Yet despite these modest beginnings, the drink has survived, even flourished—with even the most trendsetting bartenders embracing the dead simple formula.

Why is the Moscow Mule in a copper mug? ›

Moscow mule purists know that tradition isn't the only reason the drink is served in a copper mug: The cold metal insulates the temperature of the chilled ginger beer, keeping the co*cktail cool and refreshing. Some experts say that the mug enhances the individual flavors of the ginger beer, vodka, and lime.

What is a Moscow Mule usually made of? ›

This classic Moscow mule recipe uses vodka, ginger beer, ice, and lime to create a refreshing co*cktail that has nothing to do with Moscow or mules, but after a few sips of this vodka-based concoction, no one will care!

What was mixed with vodka in 1946 to make a Moscow Mule 2 word s? ›

Legend has it that the two men met at New York City's Chatham Bar and hit on the idea of mixing Martin's vodka with Morgan's ginger beer and adding a squeeze of lime (perhaps inspired by the Cuba Libre) to create the Moscow Mule.

What is the new name for the Moscow Mule? ›

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, some American and Canadian bars began to refer to the drink as a "Kyiv mule" – referring to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv – in protest of the invasion.

What is the meaning of Moscow Mule? ›

: a co*cktail made of vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice and usually served in a copper mug.

Can you drink Moscow Mule without a copper mug? ›

You can go through co*cktail history or chat with a purist and they will tell you that a copper cup is necessary for a proper Moscow Mule taste and experience. Along with American tradition, a copper mug is vital to fully enhance the aroma and taste of a Moscow Mule co*cktail.

Is a Moscow Mule healthy? ›

A study published in the January/February issue of the Journal of Environmental Health found that copper leaches into the drink made of ginger beer, lime juice, and vodka. In a little under half an hour, the copper levels rise higher than the safety standard set for drinking water.

Is drinking from a copper cup healthy? ›

Drinking from copper cups can also improve your digestive health. Copper has been found to kill bacteria that cause inflammation in the gut, possibly improving ulcers, indigestion, and infections.

Do you shake or stir Moscow Mule? ›

Should a Moscow Mule Be Shaken? A Moscow Mule may be shaken, but only before adding the ginger beer. Once you've added carbonation, shaking the drink will negatively affect the drink, and you'll have to start again. That's why you should invest the right bartender tools, and you can stir the drink instead.

Why is Moscow Mule so good? ›

A great Moscow mule combines smooth vodka with ice-cold, spicy ginger beer and lime – in a signature copper mug. Ginger beer doesn't taste the same without the copper mug, which highlights the sweet-and-spicy taste of the beverage.

What is a vodka and ginger ale called? ›

The Moscow Mule is a classic combination of vodka, ginger beer, and lime.

What does a Moscow Mule say about you? ›

Moscow Mule

If you're a mule drinker, you must be a Harry Styles fan. You pride yourself on your loyal qualities—which is a good thing. Unfortunately, mules symbolize stubbornness, and you've heard the saying: you are what you drink.

What ginger beer is best for a Moscow Mule? ›

The best ginger beer for Moscow mules is Fever-Tree brand ginger beer. Mara said, “It tastes the most like a Moscow mule,” and I wholeheartedly agreed. Fever-Tree's ginger beer has the most clear and pronounced fresh ginger flavor, thanks to a blend of three gingers from Nigeria, Cochin and the Ivory Coast.

Is a Moscow Mule easy on the stomach? ›

Benefits of Drinking Moscow Mules

Ginger Beer: Ginger beer obviously has ginger, which has anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and digestive properties. Ginger can help relieve pain, nausea, indigestion, and bloating.

What is the history of the Smirnoff Moscow Mule? ›

History of the drink

The Moscow Mule is widely regarded as the original Mule co*cktail, having been created in the 1940s as a promotional tool for the newly introduced Smirnoff vodka. The co*cktail was born out of a collaboration between John G. Martin, the president of G.F. Heublein Brothers, Inc.

Is the Moscow Mule from Russia? ›

It's likely that you've heard about it by now – that the Moscow Mule is a drink that originated in Russia. But in fact it is actually American. It should have been probably the called the American or Californian Mule as the drink was invented in the 1940's in Hollywood California.

How did they come up with the name mule? ›

mule), both from Latin mulus (fem. mula) "a mule," from Proto-Italic *musklo-, which is probably (along with Greek myklos "pack-mule," Albanian mushk "mule) a loan-word from a language of Asia Minor. Properly, the offspring of a he-ass and a mare; that of a she-ass and a stallion is technically a hinny.

Where did the Dark N Stormy originate? ›

It's an unproven legend, but the drink's connection to the joys and dangers of seafaring is well-established. Bermuda, where the Dark 'n' Stormy was invented, is known as the shipwreck capital of the world, with 300 identified vessels lying ruined at the bottom of the surrounding North Atlantic Ocean.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Roderick King

Last Updated:

Views: 6410

Rating: 4 / 5 (71 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Roderick King

Birthday: 1997-10-09

Address: 3782 Madge Knoll, East Dudley, MA 63913

Phone: +2521695290067

Job: Customer Sales Coordinator

Hobby: Gunsmithing, Embroidery, Parkour, Kitesurfing, Rock climbing, Sand art, Beekeeping

Introduction: My name is Roderick King, I am a cute, splendid, excited, perfect, gentle, funny, vivacious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.