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The Moscow Mule Cocktail

What Is The Moscow Mule

The Moscow Mule was vodka’s breakout cocktail. Professional bartenders may not have liked making these ginger-based cocktails due to short supplies of great ginger beer, but the recipe is so easy and drink very refreshing. If you need a cocktail with a bit of kick, a mule is where it’s at.

History Of The Moscow Mule And How It Became A Cocktail

In the age of the new martinis like the Cosmopolitan and Green Appletini, it’s hard to imagine a time when vodka cocktails didn’t enjoy the popularity they do today. Yet these delectable drinks weren’t really popular until the late 1940s and 1950s. The Moscow Mule, a cocktail created for a Smirnoff promotion, helped fuel this change in drinks culture.

In 1941, John Martin, president of Heublein and Jack Morgan, owner of the Cock’n’Bull bar in Hollywood, met in a bar in Los Angeles. Together they mixed Morgan’s ginger beer with Smirnoff and lime and christened it the Moscow Mule. They ordered specially engraved copper mugs and Martin set off to market the cocktail in bars around the country.

He bought one of the first Polaroid cameras and asked barmen to pose with a copper mug and a bottle of Smirnoff. Then he would leave one copy of the photo at the bar and take a second copy to the bar next door to show them that their competitors were selling the Moscow Mule.

Between 1947 and 1950 Smirnoff case columns more than tripled and nearly doubled in 1951. It was the start of a long period of success. Smirnoff promoted a variety of cocktails, which all used the mixability of Smirnoff cocktails.

The Moscow Mule Cocktail Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz. Smirnoff vodka
  • 3 oz. ginger beer (Organic Ginger Beer Works Best)
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup or (Cane Syrup)
  • ¼ oz. lime juice
  • 1 sprig mint
  • 1 slice lime

How to Make and Serve as a Cocktail

This spicy cocktail is best served in a glass to keep the contents cold for as long as possible. Traditionally though, you will be serving a mule in a copper mug… just like in those early promotional days.


  1. Fill a copper mug with ice
  2. Pour your preferred vodka over the ice
  3. Add a dash of simple syrup, and that fresh squeezed lime juice.
  4. Top with ginger beer and stir.
  5. Garnish with mint sprig and lime slice.

If you were short on vodka, and wanted a little extra character to pair with your fine ginger beer… why not try Gin? The Gin-Gin Mule is a tasty alternative to it’s Russian brother, and also can be served in those fancy copper mugs.

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