Moscow Mule

A Moscow Mule is a cocktail made with vodka, ginger beer, lime. The name refers to the popular perception of vodka as a Russian product and the intense flavor "kick" of ginger beer. When serving a Moscow Mule in the traditional copper mug, which typically holds 12 fl. oz., reduce all ingredients by 50%.


The Moscow Mule kicked off the vodka craze in the United States during the 1950s, when gin was the preferred "white" (clear) liquor. The cocktail was invented in 1941 by John G. Martin of G.F. Heublein Brothers, Inc., an East Coast spirits and food distributor, and John "Jack" Morgan, President of Cock 'n' Bull Products which produced ginger beer and proprietor of the Cock 'n' Bull Tavern, a bar on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles popular with celebrities. George Sinclair (2007) quotes from an article run in the New York Herald Tribune:

The mule was born in Manhattan but "stalled" on the West Coast for the duration. The birthplace of "Little Moscow" was in New York's Chatham Hotel. That was back in 1941 when the first carload of Jack Morgan's Cock 'n' Bull ginger beer was railing over the plains to give New Yorkers a happy surprise...

Three friends were in the Chatham bar, one John A. Morgan, known as Jack, president of Cock 'n' Bull Products and owner of the Hollywood Cock 'n' Bull Restaurant; one was John G. Martin, president of G.F. Heublein Brothers Inc. of Hartford, Conn., and the third was Rudolph Kunett, president of the Pierre Smirnoff, Heublein's vodka division. As Jack Morgan tells it, "We three were quaffing a slug, nibbling an hors d'oeuvre and shoving toward inventive genius". Martin and Kunett had their minds on their vodka and wondered what would happen if a two-ounce shot joined with Morgan's ginger beer and the squeeze of a lime. Ice was ordered, limes procured, mugs ushered in and the concoction put together. Cups were raised, the men counted five and down went the first taste. It was good. It lifted the spirit to adventure. Four or five later the mixture was christened the Moscow Mule...

As suggested above and evidenced by an article run in Insider Hollywood the Moscow Mule was most popular in Los Angeles: "There is a new drink that is a craze in the movie colony now. It is called 'Moscow Mule'" (Gwynn, 27 December 1942).

The Nevada State Journal reinforced the Mule's popularity in reporting: "Already the Mule is climbing up into the exclusive handful of most-popular mixed drinks" (12 October 1943).

Legend has it that the Moscow Mule was served in a copper mug as part of its marketing. John G. Martin then launched a Moscow Mule marketing campaign targeting American bars, a strategy that played a major role in shifting the liquor market from gin to vodka.


  • Mule's Kick, served over crushed ice in a copper (or other metal) mug, with no fruit.
  • Three Legged Mule, with Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Manuka Mule, served with 42 Below Manuka Honey vodka, adding a warm and spicy taste
  • George Special, served with slice of orange instead of lime


  • Grimes, William (2001). Straight Up or On the Rocks: The Story of the American Cocktail. New York: North Point Press. ISBN 0-86547-601-2.

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