The Moscow Mule is popping up on menus all over these days, and the delicious cocktail is easy to spot from afar. That’s because a true Moscow Mule is always served up in a copper mug. But how did the tradition start?
To get the answer, you need to go back to 1941 when a group of men were having a drink at the Chatham Bar in Manhattan. One of these men was the owner of a prominent Hollywood restaurant named Jack Morgan. Another was John G. Martin, the president of a spirits distributor. The third, Rudolph Kunett, was the man in charge of the vodka division of Morgan’s company.
The story goes that the men were curious what would happen if they mixed ginger beer, vodka and lemon together to make a cocktail, and obviously, the drink that they produced was delicious.
A copper mug was not present at the birth of the drink we now know as the Moscow Mule, but it would soon become forever associated with it. Not long after the drink’s invention, Martin began to tour the United States, visiting bars to sell Smirnoff vodka and share the recipe.
As a way of branding the cocktail and promote the vodka, he would bring a copper mug along and ask bartenders to pose with it and a bottle of Smirnoff. One of the pictures would be given to the bartender to hang in the bar and another was put in Martin’s personal collection.
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