DOTW: Moscow Mule

Posted by Anita on 10.20.06 6:09 AM

moscow mule (c)2006 CTCWanting a little refreshment before dinner, I gave Cameron a list of four or five ginger-beer-based cocktails, and asked him to pick one that sounded appealing. I’m glad I left the decision up to him, because I almost certainly would have chosen one of the drinks that marries a brown liquor with this spicy soda. Which would have been a shame, because the Moscow Mule is a lovely cocktail, a spicy-tart variation on a gin and tonic, but without the bitter aftertaste.

Usually, the drinks dreamed up by PR flacks are gawdawful messes. But the story of the Moscow Mule shows that — just like a million monkeys banging away on a million Smith-Coronas might eventually produce Shakespeare — sometimes these misbegotten concoctions turn out just fine.

A quick Google on “Moscow Mule” turns up a few variations on the story of the drink’s genesis, but most sources agree that representatives of Smirnoff vodka and Cock n’ Bull ginger beer put their heads together and came up with a way to market their slow-moving beverages. Someone designed a cute copper mug to serve it in, and they quickly made their way into mixological history.

As you might expect, much depends on the quality of your ginger beer, so steer clear of the Canada Dry and seek out something with a bit of bite, and not too much sweetness. Locally, our new friends down at City Beer sell Cock n’ Bull’s modern incarnation, and BevMo stocks a surprisingly wide selection of ginger brews.

Moscow Mule
2 ounces vodka
3 ounces good, spicy ginger beer
1 ounce fresh lime juice

Combine ingredients in an ice-filled old-fashioned glass (or, more traditionally, a copper mug). Garnish with a lime wedge.

Drink of the Week, drinks, recipes



Comment by George Sinclair

As the Moscow Mule came around in the 1940′s; it might be good to mention that the similar drink that came before the MM was called Mamie Taylor: Scotch Whisky, Fresh Lime Juice, Ginger Beer.

The Mamie Taylor dates back to 1900, and was popular for 40 years before the Moscow Mule came along.

Posted on 12.06.06 at 2:26PM

Comment by Anita

Hi George,

Thanks for the history lesson. I didn’t know about the Mamie Taylor, but I’m not at all surprised to hear that a liquor rep appropriated a popular drink and then tweaked it to work with their own brand. I do think a Mule with whiskey would be tasty.

Cameron had a drink with tequila and ginger last night at Range, which made him think of trying a Tijuana Mule. :)

Thanks for visiting MWD — I’m a fan of Webtender Wiki, so it’s fun to see you here.

Posted on 12.06.06 at 2:47PM

Comment by Walt

Huh. I’ve been doing this with Reed’s ginger beers for years, I didn’t even know it had a name.

Posted on 07.08.08 at 3:56PM

Comment by Cookie

Please, please help me find a real Moscow Mule in SF or thereabouts. I thoroughly enjoyed one at Jake’s Seafood in Portland recently. The bartender made it with some sort of globby ginger that he spooned out of a large plastic container. The drink was amazing.

Posted on 07.09.08 at 2:24PM

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