Moscow Mule Cocktail

By Robert Hess

Dating from the 1940's, the Moscow Mule was probably one of the first drinks to be created in America which specifically used vodka as an ingredient.

Recipe

Ingredients

2 oz Vodka

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

top with ginger beer

Instructions

Add vodka and lime juice to a copper mug or cocktail glass filled with ice.

Top with ginger beer.

Comments
Flinkman 21 Jan 2008
9:24 am

Great timing, just yesterday I made one and then I added it to drink databse at my cocktail webpage. Great job, as usual!

Robert Hess 21 Jan 2008
9:26 am

If you’d like your own copper “moscow mule” mug, they can usually be easily found relatively inexpensively on eBay. The mug you see me using in this video is one of the original ones. On the front is simply engraved a kicking mule with “Moscow Mule” engraved around it.

They should cost around $10 to $20 apiece. Avoid going crazy on any bid, just let it go and wait for the next one to come around.

beachbum berry 21 Jan 2008
6:54 pm

Way, way back in 1981, I had lunch at the Cock ‘N’ Bull.  Great looking bar, but to my everlasting regret I didn’t order a Moscow Mule in situ!  Thanks to you, now I can make up for lost time….

TheQ 22 Jan 2008
3:54 am

Question:
I’ve heard tales that using the copper mug gives it a different taste than a glass (some sort of chemical reaction withe the copper).
Is this true or just a sales pitch to get the bars to buy the mugs with Shmirnoff and Cock & Bull or just a seperate old wives tale?

TheQ out

Robert Hess 22 Jan 2008
7:17 am

I’ve never really done a taste comparison in and out of the copper mug. I could expect that there might be ‘some’ flavor difference, but I can’t expect it to be much, and frankly I’m not sure if “your drink won’t have that copper flavor without the authentic mug!” would be such a great sales tool.

-Robert

Martin Doudoroff 22 Jan 2008
4:35 pm

Isn’t acid + copper a dubious combination?

Robert Hess 22 Jan 2008
4:48 pm

Not being a health expert of any sort, I can’t make any sort of intelligent comments regarding copper and it’s health effects/value. I did find the following article however which does discuss this:
http://www.copper.org/health/papers/cu_health_uk/cu_health_uk.html

It doesn’t however have any details if the combination of copper+acid changes the landscape at all.

-Robert

Colin Kimball 22 Jan 2008
8:34 pm

With a bit of quick research it seems that the only main reaction would be a bit of cleaning of the copper from the reaction with the lemon juice. That being said you would not want to leave it over night and take a drink in the morning. Another reaction occurs that would not be as tasty.

Bruce 23 Jan 2008
11:13 am

Hey Robert,
Where did you find the great citrus juicer used in the Moscow Mule segment?

Robert Hess 23 Jan 2008
3:21 pm

That is an “Ebaloy” juicer that I picked up on eBay, I see them up there somewhat regularly.

Here is a link to check:
http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?satitle=ebaloy

Although there aren’t any at the current time.

-Robert

Thomas 25 Jan 2008
9:36 am

“Ebaloy” sounds like a made-for-eBay product.  :) 

I was actually thinking about the interaction between the citric acid from your lime and the aluminum of the juicer.  I assume that you’ve had no problems, but I wonder about it.

Robert Hess 25 Jan 2008
10:22 am

I’ve never noticed any problems with an acid/aluminum interaction, but then I also don’t keep the juice in the juicer for long.

Greg Baxter 28 Jan 2008
1:19 am

I am glad to see this drink coming back my dad before he passed away should me this drink and I look for ginger beer
ever where and it is hard to fined here in AZ I always buy 6 bottles when ever i fined ginger beer

Adam 14 Feb 2008
11:53 am

Ginger Beer VS. Ginger Ale:

If I substituted ginger beer with ginger ale, would I be making a drink that could be considered a “poor man’s” Moscow Mule? I only ask this question since most mainstream bars seldom, if ever, carry true ginger beer as opposed to it’s non-alcoholic cousin, ginger ale.
Sometimes you have to play improv behind the bar.  }:^(

Robert Hess 14 Feb 2008
12:10 pm

Adam,

Ginger beer and ginger ale are similar, but ginger beer is spicier, and so a Moscow Mule made with ginger ale won’t quite have the same character. Perhaps you could call it a Moscow Pony? :->

Note that Ginger Beer is also non-alcoholic…

Jim 18 Feb 2008
12:04 pm

Robert,
Have you used the Wear Ever juicer, is it a comparable alternative to the Ebaloy? The Wear Ever juicer seems to be more commonly available on ebay and has been resurrected as a modern enameled version which would eliminate any acid/aluminum interaction. Google “Vintage Manual Juicer”  to see the modern version (I have no affiliation with this product).

Robert Hess 18 Feb 2008
5:08 pm

Jim,

Yes, I have an antique Wear Ever Juicer, with juice spout underneath, as well as a “modern” Wear Ever juicer with side pour. I prefer the design of the side-pour since it doesn’t require having a properly sized glass or something to catch the juice below, but for some reason the “modern” version doesn’t work as good as the antique. The removeable (and teflon coated) fruit-grill (or whatever you want to call it) seems to often slip off its track a bit and then jam up in the mechanism. Could just be that my juicer has a slight misalignment in it somewhere.

One thing I really like about both of them, is that this style of juicer does a decent job of also getting some of the oils out of the peel, more than the Ebaloy does.

I’m still keeping my eyes out for the “perfect” juicer :-> Something that does as good of job as getting the oils out of the skin as the “mexican” juice does, but not as messy.

-Robert

Pamela 14 Mar 2008
8:34 pm

Ginger beer is so hard to find, can you suggest where I can order it and what’s an adverage price I can expect to pay?

Robert Hess 18 Mar 2008
1:52 pm

If you live in the US, then you “should” be able to find ginger beer available in your area “somewhere”, although maybe not super common. I sometimes have to go to two or three different grocery stores beore I can find it.

Search on Amazon.com for “ginger beer” and you’ll find “Cock N’ Bull” (the ginger beer that the Moscow Mule was developed with) available in a case of 24 for about $30.

The “Reeds” brand is fairly popular, and they have a “store locator” on their site (http://www.reedsgingerbrew.com/locator.html). Plus they also offer online ordering.

Dinah Sanders (MetaGrrrl) 25 May 2008
11:27 am

Pamela, I’d suggest also trying health food stores for ginger beer. One of the most reliable places to find a good variety here in San Francisco for example is Rainbow Grocery. They even have chilled bottles up by the checkout, which has restored my mood after many an epic shopping trip.

If you want to get very spicy, also check out Prince Neville’s ginger brew. That stuff is intense and best suited for tiki drinks, but you could cut it with ginger ale if it’s too hard on you. Great flavors though! It comes in a plastic bottle like Odwalla or Naked juices and has a fairly short shelf life. Look for it in the grocery cooler.

Brian Shapleigh 6 Jun 2008
10:38 am

Hey Robert -
    Good job on the video!  i’ve been a huge mule fan for some time.  i tried getting an original mug, but they’ve been too pricey, and have looked quite beat up.  anyway, i went with some larger mugs.  Copper is a definite must!  As is fresh juice.  i’m intrigued by the ebaloy and will definitely hunt one down.  i tend to use 1oz of juice and 4 oz of GB when portioning out for a large amount of the mule.  The spice of the Ginger beer really makes this drink.  I live in the greater Washington, D.C. area, and general stores like Safeway, Giant and Shoppers all have Ginger Beer.  multiple brands as well.  although i’d love to get some cock•, I can get Jamaica Ginger beer in 2 liter bottles easily.  Keep ‘em coming!

b.s.

Roy Wagner 10 Jun 2008
1:25 pm

Thanks for the video.  I just happened to have a bottle of “Reed’s Ginger Beer” in the frig (been there for years waiting for the proper occasion). Seeing that copper mug reminded me of one we had like that; once being used as a pencil/pen holder.  I looked around and found it on our “we’ve got to get rid of this junk” table.

So I made the drink. The combination of the ginger beer , vodka and copper mug tasted kind of peppery.  I tasted the ginger beer alone and it wasn’t so peppery.

AND though my mug looks the “same”, it has “Vodka Boatman” stamped on it with a picture of a Russian with a tall hat dancing on it.

Enjoy!  (I know I did.)

Roy Wagner 10 Jun 2008
1:42 pm

After doing an Internet search, which I should have done first, I found several variations on the “Vodka Boatman” all being named the “VOLGA Boatman”; one being:

Volga Boatman

2 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Kirschwasser
1 oz. Orange Juice
Maraschino Cherry

Combine vodka, kirschwasser and orange juice in a shaker filled with ice, shake and strain into a chilled martini or cocktail glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry.

Must have been another Vodka salesman trying to sell copper cups.

Enjoy!

PS: Also found a bunch of true “Moscow Mule” cups on EBay, with one person including two “VODKA Boatman” cup in the sale.  ;)

Philip Darling 24 Jun 2008
8:20 am

Great little video, I was introduced to the Mule at the British airways terminal 5 at Heathrow just 2 weeks ago and loved it. So much so that upon our return to the states I began researching the Mule, love the history behind it. Ginger Beer was another search, and much to my amazement a local store here in Phoenix carries Cock’n Bull and I have thus far visited two of them and bought out the shelf stock just to ensure I have some in the pantry.

T 4 Aug 2008
8:53 pm

Hello! I have just recently learned about the Moscow Mule and am SO excited to make them at home.  I’m now on the search for copper mugs at thrift stores. I bought one today but now am wondering if it will do the job.  It’s made by Coppercraft Guild and the inside has a greyish color, like it may be lined with tin or something other than copper.  Thanks for your help and I am so glad to have found the video.  Thanks!!

IanRafferty 2 Jun 2009
3:56 am

As Ginger Beers is described as somewhat spicier, woudl it not therefore be possible, that if using Ginger Ale, a disciplined dash of Angostora could assist this version of the Moscow Mule to step a little closer to its origin?

Robert Hess 2 Jun 2009
4:02 am

Ian, the “spicier"ness of ginger beer, is coming from the extra ginger, which has a heat spice to it, which Angostura doesn’t provide. But that’s not to say that a couple dashes to ginger ale wouldn’t make it taste better! :->

Beijing 10 Jun 2009
6:18 am

Had my first Moscow Mule about a year ago at Glen’s (local bar) in Beijing, China. It was served in a tin cup which, at the time, I thought was THE authentic way to drink it. I’ve had an on and off love affair with the MM for the last year. I am sitting at in my apartment tonight with a Nordic Boostaer (the best of the 3 varieties of ginger ale available in Beijing), a bottle of real lime 100% lime juice and a bottle of Stolichnaya Vodka in front of me. Although my ingredients may not be top caliber, the fact that I am enjoying them this much is quite promising for my enjoyment of this beverage when I return to the US and can get the “real” ingredients.

Lawrence Spies 23 Aug 2009
1:23 pm

Maybe a shot of Ginger Liqueur with Ginger Ale will bump it up some…

I was thinking of making a Ginger Buck

  * 2 oz Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
  * 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  * top with ginger beer

Margie 24 Sep 2009
7:05 am

Hi there,

I was first introduced to the Moscow Mule in a tiny town in south central Montana and am hooked. I am now in Phoenix and looking for Cock n’ Bull Ginger Beer. Anybody know where one might find it?

Robert Hess 24 Sep 2009
7:42 am

Margie,
You should be able to simply do a web-search (I could say “Bing it” but I won’t ;-) for Cock n Bull Ginger Beer and find a variety of locations on the web where you can order it (including Amazon.com). However, just because the Moscow Mule was originally created with Cock n’ Bull, that doesn’t mean it is the only/best brand to use. They used Cock n’ Bull not because they tried others and felt it worked the best, but simply because that was the brand that was part of the original discussion.

Your local stores should carry various brands of ginger beer, I’d recommend picking up one of each you can find, and then just have a home “Tasting Party” to see which brand you and your friends like the best.

-Robert

H Adams 5 Aug 2010
7:44 am

That’s great. I actually like using real ginger and bitters but ginger beer works pretty well too.

Russian Standard (one my of favorite vodkas) actually has a new thing where you can buy that mug for the beer. You can find it here:  http://russianstandardmoscowmule.com/

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