The classic Moscow Mule recipe is a vodka-based cocktail with the unusual addition of a ginger beer topped with a wedge of lime. Vodka was still relatively unknown outside Russia and Central Europe in the years following World War II. Heublein president John Martin had recently purchased the Smirnoff name and recipe for his American company, and he was out to promote his new product. As the story goes, Martin stopped off for dinner and drinks at the Cock ’n’ Bull on Sunset Strip, where his friend, owner Jack Morgan, was struggling to sell his homemade ginger beer. Add to the mix another friend who had inherited a large collection of copper mugs—and shake with a massive dose of publicity and a wedge of lime—and you have the Moscow Mule. In one of the most successful marketing ploys in tippling history, Martin combined three seemingly hopeless endeavors into one of the most popular cocktails of the 1950s and early 1960s. He even got stars like Woody Allen to promote his concoction. But as popular as it was, the Moscow Mule has now entered the “endangered species list” and is rarely seen outside of vintage ads in old issues of Playboy magazine.
Mobile Mule: Substitute 2 ounces light rum for the the vodka.