What are Moscow Mule Mugs?
If you’ve ever heard of them, you’ve probably found yourself asking one question: what is a Moscow Mule mug (click to read our full guide and review)? These mugs are made of copper, can usually hold around 16 ounces of liquid, and are specifically made to hold the classic American cocktail, the Moscow Mule Since its creation in the 1940s, these unique copper mugs have become synonymous with this classic American cocktail. While one of the major benefits of these trendy cups is that they exude vintage style and are simply fun to use, they also serve two other purposes.
The Moscow Mule is a tangy, refreshing cocktail that is best served icy cold. A Moscow Mule copper mug is perfect for this since the metal instantly chills once the beverage is poured into it, retaining the cold of the drink without the need for excessive ice, which would only water it down. The top of the cup quickly becomes frosty, imparting a perfect chill on the lips.
In addition to the great insulating properties of these copper mugs, another major benefit is that many people believe that it just makes the cocktail taste better. Experts swear that the copper reacts to the individual ingredients of a Moscow Mule: the vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, enhancing their flavor. The aroma and taste of the vodka is enhanced, the ginger beer is even fizzier, and the tangy citrus notes of the lime juice are elevated, allowing this classic cocktail to reach its full potential.
Why Is It Called a Moscow Mule?
The Moscow Mule is a refreshing American cocktail with a bit of a tangy, ginger kick. It’s classically prepared by mixing vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, and a little bit of ice and pouring it into a copper mug. The birth of the Moscow Mule dates back to the early 1940s and, while there are several stories involving its creation, the most popular story attributes this cocktail to two men, Jack Morgan and John Martin. According to this story, the Moscow Mule was invented in Hollywood’s Cock’n Bull Pub and Restaurant.
Jack Morgan was the owner of this famous pub at the time and he partnered with John Martin of Heublein Brothers, Inc. Morgan was having difficulty selling his line of ginger beer and Martin, who had recently purchased the Smirnoff Distillery, was having a similar problem marketing vodka. Together, they invented a cocktail that they hoped would solve both of their problems.
It was at this Sunset Strip pub that they created a new cocktail by mixing one part vodka with two parts ginger beer and then adding some ice and lime juice to round out the drink. They named this new cocktail the Moscow Mule. The word Moscow was used because back in the 1940s, vodka was thought of as a Russian product. The word mule was added to the name because of the gingery kick that the drink had due to the ginger beer.
What Is The Original Moscow Mule Mug?
As great as the refreshing new cocktail that the two friends created, they wanted to boost its appeal somehow. As fate would have it, a Russian immigrant named Sophie Berezinski walked into the bar and offered Morgan and Martin a great solution. Sophie had come to the United States with her husband, Max. Her father owned a Russian copper company called the Moscow Copper Company. She had created the original copper mug but was having trouble selling them.
With a stockpile of cups cluttering their apartment, Sophie set out to find a buyer for all of these mugs, shopping them all around Hollywood. She came into the Cock’n Bull and met Morgan and Martin, who embraced the idea of serving their new cocktail creation in these unique copper mugs. While experimenting with their new drink and the copper mugs, they came to realize that not only did the metal cup keep the drink perfectly chilled, but it actually accentuated the flavors.
With the recipe and presentation in place, they were ready to unveil the Moscow Mule to the world. To further reinforce the name of the new cocktail, they had an image of a kicking mule stamped on each copper mug. In another marketing effort, Morgan gave some of his celebrity patrons copper mugs with their names engraved on them and Martin took photographs of these celebrities enjoying the beverage for various posters and advertisements.
Big names like Woody Allen, Julie Newmar, Dolores Hawkins, “Killer” Joe Piro, and others helped boost the reputation of their creation, turning it into a new, classic American cocktail. Within a few years, bars in Hollywood and New York had embraced the Moscow Mule and this refreshing beverage, complete with its unique copper mug, had cemented itself into the history books of American cocktail culture.
What Are The Greatest Copper Mugs?
When you are looking for the perfect Moscow Mule copper mug, you’ll have one decision to make. There are presently two styles of these mugs available. The first option is the true classic, a traditional solid copper mug that is made from 100% pure copper. The second choice is a copper mug that is lined with some sort of metal alloy such as stainless steel or nickel. There are pros and cons to both choices, so before suggesting the best mug in each class, let’s discuss the differences between these two styles.
Pure copper Moscow Mule mugs are made from 100% pure copper and are the gold standard for anyone looking to enjoy an authentic Moscow Mule. These mugs keep the cocktail colder and impart a nice frosty feel to the lips. Additionally, experts state that the mingling flavors of the cocktail ate enhanced by the copper so that the vodka is more flavorful, the lime is brighter, and the ginger beer has more fizz. Because of this die-hard fans of this classic American cocktail won’t drink it out of anything but a pure copper mug.
The downside is that some people worry about drinking from a copper vessel. The thought is that miniscule amounts of the mineral might leech into the drink, causing you to possible ingest trace amounts of copper. The retort to this concern is often that, if someone is only drinking this cocktail occasionally, the slight chance of ingesting some copper doesn’t pose much of a health risk at all. And some people even claim that it can be beneficial to your health.
To accommodate people who are hesitant to use an all-copper mug, many manufacturers offer cups that are lined with nickel or stainless steel. These are hard metals so there’s no chance of any of the alloy leeching into the beverage. Another benefit is that since copper is a soft metal and is prone to tarnishing, the metallic lining will protect the mug allowing it to be used regularly for years.
The drawback to these lined Moscow Mule mugs is that they simply aren’t made of pure copper. The metal is quite insulating but not as effective as copper. Also enthusiasts state that the cocktail doesn’t reach its full potential because it’s not being enhanced by the copper walls of the mug. The mug you choose is ultimately a personal preference but there at some great Moscow Mule mugs out there regardless of which style you choose.
One of the best pure copper mugs is made by Morken Barware. For under $30, you can purchase two ½ lb, 22-gauge copper mugs. Hefty and made with exquisite craftsmanship, these Moscow Mule mugs are hammered for a distinct appearance, feature an oversized handle, and are made from 100% pure copper.
If you’re looking for one of the best Moscow Mule mugs with a stainless steel lining currently on the market today, you can’t go wrong with the Craft Cocktails Handmade Copper Moscow Mule Mugs. This set of four handcrafter copper cups are available for around $35 and feature a durable stainless steel lining, comfortable grip, and a beautiful highly-polished copper surface. It’s the perfect cup to keep your next cocktail nice and cold.
Can You Get Moscow Mule Mugs Engraved?
Maybe you’re looking for something a little more special than a basic copper mug. If so, why not follow in the traditional of the original Moscow Mule mugs offered by Cock’n Bull pub and have your new cups engraved? There are several great online sellers that offer high-quality copper cups with detailed engravings. For a price ranging from $10 to $45, you can purchase a personalized copper mug in a variety of styles like feathered, polished, or hammered finishes from companies like Cathy’s Concepts or Old Dutch. These great mugs are perfect additions to any household bar or cocktail station.