Where Did the Moscow Mule Originate?


If you’ve ever wondered where the Moscow Mule originated from, then you’ve come to the right place. Made from vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, this famously refreshing cocktail has actually been around for over 70 years. And while you might not have guessed it, the Moscow Mule has a history that is as unique as the distinctive copper mugs that it’s traditionally served in.

The Moscow Mule was invented at the Cock’n Bull Restaurant and Pub on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip sometime around 1941. Two men partnered up to create a marketable cocktail from some of the most unmarketable products at the time and, thanks to a fantastic combination of simple ingredients and some great marketing, they ended up with a new classic American cocktail on their hands.

How was the Moscow Mule Invented?

The Moscow Mule is the refreshing American cocktail that comes served in a copper mug and offers a bit of a tangy, ginger kick. While there are several legends involving how and where it was created, the commonly held belief is that it was the joint creation of two men: Jack Morgan and John Martin. According to cocktail lore, the Moscow Mule was invented on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip in 1941.

Jack Morgan was the owner of the famous Cock’n Bull Restaurant and Pub and was struggling with selling one of the most unpopular items in his inventory, his ginger beer. John Martin was a friend of Morgan’s and frequented his pub regularly. Martin was an executive with Heublein Brothers, Inc. and had recently purchased the Smirnoff Distillery. Like Morgan, he was faced with trying to market another product that wasn’t too popular at the time, vodka.

The men decided to work together to solve their problems and began experimenting, creating cocktails using both vodka and ginger beer. One night, they hit the jackpot, coming up with a drink made from 1 part vodka, 2 parts ginger beer, a little lime juice, and some ice. The cocktail was refreshing, citrusy, and benefited from the tangy taste of the ginger beer. With a little marketing genius and a twist of fate in shape of a Russian immigrant selling copper mugs, the Moscow Mule – click to see our top review list.

Why is the Moscow Mule Served in a Copper Mug?

Why is Moscow Mule Served in a Copper Mug?Morgan and Martin still needed something extra to boost the allure of their new cocktail. Luckily, a Russian immigrant named Sophie Berezinski came into the bar at just the right time, offering them the perfect solution. Mrs. Berezinski had immigrated to the United States from Russia in early 1941. Her father owned the Moscow Copper Company, a Russia-based copper company. While she worked there, she has designed a copper mug with a large handle and now that she was in America, she wanted to try and sell them.

With over 2,000 mugs crowding their apartment, her husband Max urged her to find someone to take the cups off their hands. Determined, Sophie walked the streets of Hollywood in search of a buyer, going door-to-door to every bar and restaurant she could find. She came into the Cock’n Bull at just the right time and met with Jack Morgan and John Martin, who embraced the idea of serving their new cocktail creation in her distinctive copper mugs.

While crafting their new creation and pouring it into the copper cup, the men realized that it was perfect for their cocktail. Not only did the metal keep the drink perfectly chilled, eliminating the need to use too much ice, but it actually seemed to accentuate the flavors. They noted that their cocktail actually tasted better in Sophie’s copper mugs. With both the recipe and mug in place, the Moscow Mule was unveiled to the world.

Morgan and Martin were genius promoters and put an impressive marketing plan into action. The Cock’n Bull frequently had celebrity guests and he made sure to give them copper mugs with their names engraved on it. And Martin used a Polaroid and the promotional power he had with Smirnoff to distribute photos and posters of bartenders and celebrities all over Hollywood holding their cocktail in its stylish copper mug. Before long, the copper mug became synonymous with the Moscow Mule and a classic American cocktail was born.

Why Do They Call it a Moscow Mule?

The Moscow Mule earned the first part of its name because vodka, which wasn’t a very popular drink in America at the time, was thought of as a Russian alcohol product. The “mule” came from the ginger beer’s tangy kick, as in “kicks like a mule.” To further cement this name and etch it into the consumer consciousness, Morgan used a clever marketing ploy, stamping the copper Moscow Mule mugs at the Cock’n Bull with an image of a kicking donkey.

How Do You Make a Moscow Mule with Mint?

There are several variations of the Moscow Mule that you can make but the classic recipe calls for 1 part vodka to two parts ginger beer. Then, simply add the juice of 1 lime and pour it over ice, preferably into a copper mug. But if you want to enjoy a little hint of mint in your mule, there are two ways to go. The first, more traditional way, to make a Moscow Mule with mint is to make your cocktail as described about and then add a mint sprig as garnish.

This will impart a little bit of mint into your drink. The second, and more flavorful, way of adding mint to your Moscow Mule is to take a spring of mint and place it in the bottom of your glass. Add the juice of one lime and muddle the mint with the lime juice, releasing the flavor of the mint. Then simply add one part vodka, two parts ginger beer, and some ice and you’re ready to enjoy an incredibly refreshing cocktail.