How to Make a Proper Moscow Mule

Like no-see-ums at the beach or bachelorette parties in Nashville, Moscow Mules are everywhere. From the trendiest of cocktail bars to the lowliest of dive bars, this iconic cocktail is found in some form on countless cocktail menus across the country (and the world).

The thirst-quenching, spicy, and somewhat tart drink was invented in 1941 by John G. Martin, a spirits distributor for G.F. Heublein Brothers, “Jack” Morgan, President of Cock ‘n’ Bull Products, and a third man, president of Heublein’s vodka division (which was named Pierre Smirnoff), Rudolph Kunett. Morgan was also the proprietor of the Cock and Bull restaurant on Sunset Boulevard, where the drink thrived among their celebrity clientele. The three were drinking one night when they decided to see what would happen when they mixed the vodka at hand, Smirnoff, with Morgan’s Cock ‘n’ Bull ginger beer. A dash of lemon and voila, we have what the world over would come to know as a Moscow Mule (or a vodka buck, if you want to refer to it by its other name).

While the drink was not created in Russia, the name comes from the vodka’s country of origin (Smirnoff was first produced in Moscow in the 1830s).

how to make a moscow mule no watermark

Moscow Mule’s are always served in a copper mug. Why? Because it keeps the mixture colder longer than glass. Copper also engages in a chemical reaction with the acid from the lime, giving the drink a distinctive taste.

This popular concoction is relatively simple to make. We asked one of our favorite bartenders at Portland’s Tasty n Sons, David Halpern, to show you exactly how to do it. Check out the video guide above; if you need the exact recipe, you can find that below!

David Halpern of Tasty n Sons's | how to make a moscow mule

Moscow Mule

  • 2 oz vodka (here are some of the best vodkas for Moscow Mules)
  • .5 oz fresh lime juice
  • Ginger beer to top (these are our favorite ginger beers)
  • Lime to garnish

Method: Add vodka and lime juice to copper mug. Top with ginger beer. Stir gently Garnish with lime. Cheers!

Once you’ve mastered the Moscow Mule, you can begin to substitute other base liquors in for all manner of other mules. A Kentucky Mule, for example, is a Moscow Mule that uses bourbon.


Article originally published November 15, 2016.

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