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Last night I celebrated the upcoming nuptials of two good friends, Kate and Michelle. Knowing my passion for cocktails, it seemed obvious that the best contribution I could make to their party was to mix up boozy libation. After much consideration we decided on the Moscow Mule. On the surface, a Moscow Mule doesn’t quite say love and romance. One might expect to find a Champagne cocktail or something with a romantic name like The Honeymoon Cocktail for an engagement party. But I was looking for something that would please the party crowd, was refreshing (it was a warm day), but had an interesting, even surprising flavor. This drink delivered all of that. The tart lime and the spicy ginger beer make for a pretty tasty party drink!
The Moscow Mule has an interesting history. Vodka has not always enjoyed the popularity that it does today. In the late 1930s, most Americans had no clue what to do with this spirit that was mostly consumed by Eastern Europeans. But then the stars aligned and the Moscow Mule was created and the vodka soon after made its way into mainstream consumption. In 1939 John Martin purchased the struggling Pierre Smirnoff Vodka company which had been started 5 years earlier when the enterprising Ralph Kunett secured the rights to produce the family vodka recipe of Vladimir Smirnov. As the story goes, a bit after this purchase John Martin was hanging out at the Cock and Bull Tavern in Los Angeles with friend and owner Jack Morgan and the two were trying to figure how to make use of Morgan’s newly produced ginger beer. Add to that discussion, the fact that Martin just acquired a vodka company. The two took the formula for a Mamie Taylor, and replaced the scotch with vodka and voila—the Moscow Mule was born and America’s preference for vodka would soon follow.
The drink is traditionally served in a signature copper mug; Jack Morgan’s girlfriend owned a business that made copper products. The Moscow Mule was a win-win for all involved. While the mug add to the experience (I even had one keen party-goer call me out not having the proper glassware), it’s perfectly acceptable to use another type of glass—the drink still tastes pretty damn good!
Moscow Mule (from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails)
2 oz vodka
Juice of half a lime
Ginger beer (the spicier the better)
Squeeze lime into glass and drop half into glass. Add vodka and ice. Top with ginger beer.
To a deliciously refreshing vodka drink and to a lifetime of happiness for my friends Kate and Michelle–Cheers!