Moscow Mule Recipe – History of the Copper Shot from Little Moscow

The Moscow mule recipe is the treasure map for making a classic American cocktail with no connections to Moscow, Russia, or even mules. Even so, this is one of those easy, sweet cocktails to make at home that will get people talking.

If vodka cocktails are your thing, follow this guide for the complete story of this curious cocktail and a tasty recipe for you to try this evening.

The History of the Moscow Mule

Before discussing Moscow mule ingredients and how to put one together, where does this strange Russian-Not Russian cocktail come from?

The “Mule,” as it was known, originated in Manhattan before crossing the country and becoming huge on the West Coast. It was invented at the Chatham Hotel in New York in 1941, amid World War Two, by three friends.

Like all great cocktails, the Moscow mule only became a thing when Jack Morgan of Cock ‘n’ Bull ginger beer wondered what would happen if he added ginger beer and a squeeze of lemon to a vodka.

In other words, it was a lightning bolt of inspiration rather than a coordinated campaign.

Why is it Called a Moscow Mule?

The Moscow Mule gains its name from the location of the Chatham Hotel. The hotel was located in an area known as “Little Moscow” due to its high proportion of Russian immigrants.

Even today, an estimated 600,000 Russian-speaking immigrants live in New York City, with 1.6 million in the greater metropolitan area.

The mule part of the name comes from its ingredients. Made with vodka and ginger beer, the former provides the alcohol, and the latter gives a “kick like a mule.”

Why is a Moscow Mule Always in a Copper Cup?

To answer why the best Moscow mule recipe is always served in a copper cup requires looking at how it was marketed. Initially conceived by three people, one was John G. Martin, the president of G. F. Heublein Brothers Inc.

So, why is the Moscow mule famous?

The answer is that Martin traversed the United States selling Smirnoff vodka and popularizing these cocktails.

Whenever he visited a bar, he would ask bartenders to pose with a copper mug and a bottle of Smirnoff. He would then take two Polaroids, one for the bartender to display and the other as proof that Martin had visited.

And, so, even today, the right way to drink this most popular of cocktails is still with a copper cup.

How Strong is a Moscow Mule Recipe?

Despite containing premium vodka, the Moscow mule is a surprisingly light-touch cocktail. The ginger beer dilutes the effects of the alcohol, making these cocktails about as strong as a glass of wine.

In other words, unless you’re a never-drinker, you should be able to slam four or five of these before you begin feeling the effects of the alcohol. Remember that, unlike the White Russian cocktail, this is a calorie-sparse cocktail, so you shouldn’t worry about your waistline.

Note that you can increase the strength of Moscow mule ingredients by reducing the ratio of ginger beer.

Moscow Mule Variations

Aside from fruity cocktails, the Moscow mule falls under an alcohol category known as a “buck.”

Bucks are nothing more than a cocktail with ginger ale/beer, citrus juice, and a range of base liquors. This category actually arose due to the popularity of the Moscow mule.

With that in mind, if your weed-cocktail pairings aren’t coming off, here are a selection of mule variations to try:

·                Aussie Mule – Bundaberg Rum

·                Glasgow Mule – Scotch whisky

·                Irish Mule – Irish whiskey

·                Mexican Mule – Tequila

·                Mississippi Mule – Cathead Honeysuckle vodka

You can see how these variations work. Anything that can be a variation of the Moscow mule if you substitute vodka with your local poison.

Note that there are other ways to change this drink, including switching out ginger beer for ginger syrup. You can also create a Moscow Mole using Mountain Dew instead of ginger beer.

As you can see, you’ve got endless choices when thinking about what you can bring together with your ideal marijuana strain.

Best Weed Pairings for a Moscow Mule

Cocktails and weed go together like ham and cheese or donuts and coffee. When picking a cannabis pairing, ensure that you match the unique flavor profiles of your cocktail.

In this case of a Moscow mule recipe, here are some marijuana pairings to try:

·                Super Lemon Haze

·                Super Silver Haze

·                Lemon Skunk

·                Jack Herer

·                Green Crack

Generally, an uplifting, energizing Sativa pairs well with a Moscow mule or any kind of “mule” drink due to the kick of the ginger beer. Heavy Indica strains could get you all bent out of shape.

How to Make the Perfect Moscow Mule Cocktail

Making the perfect Moscow mule begins with choosing your recipe. As an older summer cocktail to try, this has received countless variations.

So, we’re sticking with the tried-and-true original Moscow mule recipe for this guide.

Here’s the John G. Martin version for you, which is one of the best cocktail recipes in history:

·                Prep Time – Five minutes

·                Cook Time – 0 minutes

·                Total Time – Five minutes

·                Serves – One person

·                Calories – 182 kcal


·                50 ml of Smirnoff 21-proof vodka

·                120 ml of Ginger beer

·                17 ml of Lime juice

·                One dash of bitters

·                One wedge of lime

·                Ice


1.             Begin this Moscow mule recipe by filling a highball glass/copper cup with ice.

2.             Measure out 50 ml of vodka. You can also use vodka on a budget because your ginger beer will overpower everything else anyway.

3.             Add your ginger beer, lime juice, and a dash of bitters to the glass.

4.             Stir the mixture until everything has been combined.

5.             Slice a wedge of lime to garnish.


·                The ABV level of this Moscow mule recipe is 11%.

·                The ginger beer will make or break the quality of this flavor, so invest in a premium brand like small British manufacturer Fever-Tree.

·                Reduce your ginger beer and spirits ratios to increase/decrease its strength.

·                Switch out the lime garnish for a sprig of fresh mint.

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JJ Smoak

Brooklyn native, accent-having, travel lover, wordsmith and bud enthusiast. Versed from the streets of NYC, mixed with some world influence, writer/editor and medical user extraordinaire, JJ is here to tell you like it is and guide you to the finest. Brooklyn's favorite feminine stoner, your neighborhood contributor, wrapping leaves like a bandage and bringing you along for the ride.

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