I remember the first time I had a Moscow mule – or at least a resemblance of it – I was about 22 and it came in a ‘copper bottle’ – like a beer, but not. I remember thinking to myself “mmmm, I could drink 10 of these new drinks“….so I did. I don’t really remember much else from that night. You know, because 10.
As it turns out, it wasn’t nearly as ‘new’ as my early 20 something self thought and in fact, this tasty cocktail celebrated its 75th birthday just last year making it more than classic enough for us!
Like all classic cockatils, this drink has a great story and it’s origins sound a little something like a riddle “3 men walk into a bar, the one has vodka that no one is drinking, the other ginger beer that no one is buying and the last, copper mugs up to wazoo. What do they invent?” The answer, in case you missed it (awks for you) is the Moscow Mule. The bar is however nowhere close to Moscow, but rather the Cock ‘n’ Bull in LA, where owner Jack Morgan is listening to John G. Martin complain about the difficulty he’s having in moving his newly acquired Vodka supply. Back then Americans joked that Vodka was Russian for ‘Horrible’ (good one guys) and no one would drink the stuff, similarly, the American palette preferred a sweeter ginger ale over a spicy ginger beer leaving Mr Morgan with a similar problem. No one knows what the copper mug guy was doing there, probably just having a mid morning non-vodka based drink!
So where did the name come from? Well, the best guesses around the internet (Ive read them all so you don’t have to) is that the ‘Moscow’ referred to the origins of the Vodka, while the ‘Mule’ referred the the spicy kick of the ginger beer. I guess the ‘Moscow Spicy Kick’ just didn’t have the same ring to it!
The recipe is pretty simple: A squeeze of lime, with vodka and ginger beer to taste. Strength and sweetness is of course personal. As with all things, you want to use quality ingredients, so go for a quality vodka and ginger beer as well as fresh limes.
We decided to kick it up a notch by using a little fresh ginger bashed up with a wedge of lime in a pestle and mortar – sure you could do this with a muddling stick, but I wish you all the luck crushing ginger with a muddler.
Transfer this little flavor bomb over to your stirring glass (packed with ice of course) then pour in your vodka and ginger beer- generally 2 parts vodka to 4/6 parts ginger beer. Stir it up and strain into your ice cold copper mug. Garnish with a slice of lime, a sprig of mint and serve immediately!
Are the copper mugs essential? Well, probably as essential as a lapel flower really, you could wear a suit without it, but why would you? : )
There is a however a little science to the copper mug. Not only does it keep your drink super cold – copper absorbs the coldness from the ice very quickly – but the chemical reaction caused by the lime and ginger beer hitting the copper makes both flavors more pronounced. Add science to your ingredient list!!
So, if you’re looking for a drink that you can have 10 of…might I suggest the Moscow Mule.
And of course, stay fancy!