In the Summer of 1948 at the Chatham Hotel in New York City history was about to be made. Three men were enjoying drinks a light finger foods at a table in the back left corner of the restaurant. The first was a man named Jack Morgan. Jack ran a bar called the Cock’n’Bull on the Hollywood strip, and brewed their own ginger beer. The other two men worked for a large vodka distributor by the name of Smirnoff. In Jack’s own words:
“We three were quaffing a slug, nibbling an hors d’oeuvre and shoving toward inventive genius” – Jack Morgan
Their inventive genius would ultimately settle on an idea. Two ounces of Vodka, a cup of ginger beer, and a lemon. Each man filled a glass and on the count of one…two…three they took their first sips, ushering in the era of the Moscow Mule.
And thus ends the history of the Moscow Mule, except, it’s all rubbish.
Jack’s bartender at the Cock’n’Bull tells a history of the Moscow Mule being invented in 1941, as a means of unloading stock nobody was buying.
I just wanted to clean out the basement, I was trying to get rid of a lot of dead stock. – Wes Price (Bartender @ the Cock’n’Bull)
I’ll bet you can guess what two ingredients were overstocked. Ginger beer met Smirnoff, nuclear cocktail fusion happened, and the drink quickly caught on with the celebrities that frequented the Cock’n’Bull in LA. Jack Morgan and his Smirnoff buddies would go on to take the drink to the next level, by ordering special copper mugs with a mule imprinted on them, for maximum refreshment.
I think this story really serves as a great metaphor for the Moscow Mule itself. It truly is the Hollywood of cocktails.
“A copper cup? Really?”
You think to yourself.
“Couldn’t I enjoy this fine in a regular cup? Isn’t that a little bit pretentious to think you deserve a cup that no other cocktail calls for?”
Just like a celebrity, it’s a little bit over the top, but it’s just so damn charismatic that you quickly forget all that and get lost in their eyes. The way the cup feels so cold in your hand, and the spiciness of the ginger beer plays with the citrus. It’s just so damned unbelievably refreshing, it can get away with whatever it wants. It makes you realize that just like people, some drinks just shine brighter than others.
So let’s have a little fun with a few spinoffs, sequels if you will, on the Moscow Mule.