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‘Moscow Mule,’ or ‘Vodka Buck,’

I bought two beautiful copper hammered mugs as a 7th wedding anniversary gift for my husband this month.  Most cocktails require specific glassware for their drinks – the highball for Gin And Tonic, the martini glass for a Cosmopolitan, but the copper mug is a must for the Moscow Mule.

If I understand the legend correctly in the early 1940’s, John Martin was the president of G.F Heublein & Brothers, an American East Coast food and spirits importer, famous for introducing A.1. steak sauce to America.  Sometime in the 1930’s Martin purchased a small vodka distillery called Smirnoff, in an effort to market the next cocktail craze.

Back then most people in America had never heard of Vodka let alone tasted it. The story goes that whilst visiting his friend (Jack Morgan) owner of the Cock ‘n’ Bull pub on sunset strip in Hollywood Jack complained to Martin that he had cases of ginger beer he was unable to sell.  A third person who legend has never named lamented that she had copper mugs that she didn’t want.  The make or break question was could all three benefit from combining their losses?


Vodka’s breakout cocktail in America

A great brainstorm in the history of cocktail making took place and the vodka and ginger beer were mixed with a dash of lime juice and served in copper mugs, imprinted with a kicking mule.

Advertised as the Smirnoff Mule magazine adverts and posters across America showed Woody Allen, Monique Van Vooren, Julie Newmar, and Dolores Hawkins enjoying the drink.  Martin combined three seemingly hopeless endeavours into one of the most popular drinks of the 1950’s in one of the most successful marketing campaigns in cocktail history.

But as popular as it was, the original Moscow Mule is rarely seen outside of vintage magazine adverts today.

The Moscow Mule is fizzy and tangy and a little bit sweet all at the same time. Perfectly smooth and refreshing for a summer barbecue or garden party.

Any big fan of Oprah Winfrey knows The Moscow Mule is one of her favourite drinks and her cocktail of choice at the OWN reception at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour.  Oprah first discovered the Moscow Mule at the Soho House in Los Angeles.

Create the perfect Moscow Mule this summer with SurreyK’s step by step guide.


‘Fizzy and Tangy’


1/2 oz lime juice

2oz Vodka

4-6oz ginger beer

ice cubes

1 lime wedge


1950’s favourite

Preparation Method:

  1. Add ice cubes to a Moscow Mule mug. (Copper helps to keep drink cool)
  2. Add the Vodka and lime juice.
  3. Top with premium ginger beer and mix with a stirring rod.
  4. Garnish with a fresh lime wedge.