Moscow Mule is one of the most delicious and exciting cocktails in town. This is an amazing drink that is refreshing with flavors of ginger and lime, just the right strength and fun to drink thanks to its unique presentation.
It’s no surprise then that Moscow Mule has gained such a large following and that’s why we’re here! On this site, you’ll find everything you could possibly need to know about the humble Moscow Mule mugs and drink – how to make it, how to prepare it and how to enjoy it! At the same time, you’ll find tons of product reviews and descriptions so you can enjoy this beverage in style!
Moscow Mule is a cocktail made using vodka, ginger beer and lime juice. It’s a simple recipe but it’s usually served in a way that makes it a bit extra special. For starters, the drink usually uses only high quality vodka. More specifically, it’s meant to be Smirnoff – the history of which is actually intertwined with the drink (as we will learn later on this page). So none of that cheap stuff that you can pick up at your local off-license for a pittance!
What’s more is that the presentation for this drink is very important and often immaculate. This spicy, refreshing cocktail will normally be served up with a garnish such as a wedge of lime or a slice of lemon.
But that’s not really what makes the drink so interesting! If you head to your local bar and order a Local Mule next time you’re in the mood for a drink, then what will likely surprise you is the container it comes in – which is almost always going to be a copper cup!
It might sound silly but there’s something incredibly fun about receiving your drink in a cool container… and there are few cooler than the traditional copper mugs! Below are topics we'll cover to help you choose your Moscow Mule mugs.
The Moscow Mule might be known for putting vodka on the map but it’s also equally known for the copper mug that everyone always enjoys it out of. This mug is simply part of the experience. This is what the drink’s creator John Martin used to promote it early on in the late 40s and early 50s and it’s arguably what made it take off in such a way.
The copper mugs that you drink Moscow Mule from serve to keep it cool and to hold lots of ice on top of the mix. At the same time though, the mugs are also what always turn heads when you’re at the bar. If we’re being honest then we can all admit that we get a kick out of ordering something smart at the bar and getting asked questions about it. If you want to impress your friends on a night out, then order a round of these and see how the room lights up at the fun of the copper mug!
It sounds crazy but it’s all about that mug…
So if you want to bring the experience home and to share your love of this amazing drink then you need a copper mug of your own. And if you run a bar? Then it’s absolutely essential that you have a few of these to hand so as not to let down your guests.
The question then is: how do you go about choosing a copper mug and how do you learn the differences? Let’s take a look…
The first thing to recognize is that copper mugs are available in a range of different styles. The original Moscow Mule mug was a perfectly straight design that was the same width from top to bottom. It had the word ‘Moscow’ embossed on the front and it was made of a flat, shiny copper material.
But there have been a range of other designs that have come and gone as well. Like any mug, these copper mugs come in different shapes so you can have a vase shaped mug, a barrel (rounder) mug or the original cylindrical design.
Another thing to ask is about the color and the texture of the copper. A hammered copper mug for instance appears to have been hammered rather than made by a machine and as such it has a much more crumpled looking surface that refracts the light in interesting ways.
There is no real difference between these shapes and styles so ultimately it is just going to come down to your personal preference and what you think looks good!
Of course size is also a matter of preference and different people will want their drinks to be different sizes. Do note though that the size is going to affect the drink in some ways.
Why? Because normally you add 1 ounce of lime and 2 ounces of vodka and then top the drink off with ice and ginger beer. The lime wheel is then just left on top of the ice at the surface of the mug as a garnish.
What this means is that the size of the mug will impact directly on the ratio of ginger beer to lime and vodka. If you have a very big mug, then you can add more of the latter but it will potentially result in a more diluted taste.
Of course the size also impacts on the cost of the mug. You can get a smaller mug for instance and this will be cheaper even when the copper is higher quality.
You also need to think about how the volume of the mug (measured in ounces) is distributed across the entire cup. For instance, do you want a short and wide mug or do you want a tall and slim one? This is going to come down largely to your preference again but can also affect things like stacking and how likely the mug is to get knocked over. Don’t topple your tipple!
A good size for a mug is around 16oz. That said, you can get copper mugs as small as 12oz and going all the way up to 30oz and above!
Also important to consider is the copper being used. Is it 100% copper? Is it polished? Is it the shade you like?
If you buy from a high quality source, then your mug will be made from 100% copper and will feel premium and high quality to hold. This results in a very nice mug that you can really be proud of. Just make sure that you buy high quality – and you can find a selection of recommendations on this site.
OR you could alternatively look into buying a cheaper mug that isn’t 100% pure copper. These mugs will use plating or lacquer that will line the inside of your mug and prevent it from affecting your cocktail. At the same time, this can also often keep your mug looking shiny and can protect it against tarnishing and oxidization.
There are many things that make the Moscow Mule a special drink. Of course there’s the taste which is tangy, refreshing and very juicy. This is a great choice of tipple for anyone who likes a cold drink and anyone who is a fan of vodka. Vodka has a great knack for complementing and empowering whatever flavors it is paired with and this is perhaps the secret to this recipe!
But at the same time, it’s also the history, the culture and the paraphernalia that makes the Moscow Mule so unique and interesting. It’s now a part of pop culture that the Moscow Mule helped to put vodka on the map in the US and save Smirnoff from disappearing altogether. It even had its own song!
And part of what really made this work was the use of cool mugs which really helped to sell the dream and make the drink seem unique, interesting and stand-out. When you order a Moscow Mule it always comes in a copper mug. This seems to affect the taste in a subtle way. The colors hint at the ginger inside and the cool metal perfectly transfers the coldness of the ice throughout the entire drink.
But most of all, it turns heads. This is at once a retro and futuristic looking tipple and it’s quite unlike anything else!
So if you want to stock your own bar or pub with this interesting and crowd-pleasing drink then you need the copper mug. If you want to bring the experience home and enjoy the drink properly in your own company then once again you need to invest in your own copper mugs! And if you want to impress guests with a truly unique experience at dinner parties – then get a copper mug.
On this site we’ve discussed the history of the mugs, we’ve looked at how to maintain them and keep them clean and we’ve discussed how you use them to prepare the drink.
Now let’s examine where you should actually get your mugs! There are a number of different brands you see and choosing the right one is instrumental in having the best experience! Let’s take a look at some of the different options out there on the market…
Sertodo copper is a well-known copper company that has taken full advantage of the opportunity to create some amazing looking mugs that will really catch the eye.
The first thing you need to know about these mugs is that they are ‘hammered’ style. This means that they look slightly rough with a bumpy texture as though they had been crafted by hand with a hammer. The mugs are very shiny thanks to a unique polish that makes them really beautiful. They’re made from 100% recycled sources so you can feel good about yourself while drinking and they weigh in at a total of 18 ounces or 12 ounces depending on your preference. They are narrow at the bottom and get wider as they reach the top.
These are particularly well made mugs from a reputable brand. The only downside is the shape (some people will prefer a rounder or more uniform body) while you will also pay a little more for the high quality craftsmanship.
Comparing these mugs to the Sertodo offering shows just how much variation is possible in a copper mug!
Unlike the Sertodo mugs, these have a uniform body that makes them look a little more like a conventional, old-fashioned mug. They also don’t have the hammered effect, meaning they are flat and shiny across the surface. The thickness of the sheet is around 22 gauge which will feel substantial in the hands, while the mugs have a capacity of around 13.5 oz. This is a good size for adding in ice and ginger beer and still having space left. The handles are riveted.
Again, this decision is likely to come down to the style you prefer. These are once again well crafted mugs although perhaps of a slightly lower calibre than Sertodo.
Again this is another mug that is a world apart from the other two. These Old Dutch Moscow Mule mugs are a little cheaper than the offerings from Sertodo or Paycok but I personally actually like the design more.
What you get this time is a 16oz or 24oz mug – so that’s a big mug to drink out of. At the same time, the shape is much rounder which makes the mugs feel even more unique and different. The handles are also an interesting shape being quite pointed at the top and bottom. These are ‘barrel mugs’ and will make you feel like Thor ordering more drinks!
The mugs also have a tarnish resistant lacquer added as standard to help them keep their shine. There’s a hammered effect too.
The only downside? These are not completely solid copper. These mugs use a copper alloy with the lining added. This is a problem for some people who are looking for a real heirloom and something made from a high quality metal. But it actually has little bearing on the appearance of the mugs or even on the function. So again, this comes down to your personal preference – some people even suggest that the term ‘real copper’ is a misnomer anyway for other mugs.
And now you have a company that is all about the Moscow Mule! As you can see, this drink is big business for a lot of people!
This is where you will find the ‘original’ Moscow Mule. The website says that it is the one and only ‘truly authentic’ Moscow Mule mug and it even has the word ‘Moscow’ emblazoned on its front.
As you can expect, this mug is a little pricier owing to the high quality, original nature. It also comes in a very attractive wooden crate and has a simple, cylindrical body with a lip around the top. This uses 100% copper and feels weighty and high quality in the hand. You can also get all manner of other versions of this package which variably come with mats, with cloths and more. The site also has a hammered finish design if you’re interested in that.
There are actually many more copper mugs for enjoying Moscow Mules out of. Ultimately it comes down to deciding how much money you want to invest, what look you like the most and how personalized/high quality you want the mug to be!
The copper mug is very much a tradition when enjoying a Moscow Mule but you may be wondering where it comes from or why it’s such a mainstay! This little feature can be attributed to Martin too, who used the Mule as a marketing technique to sell their Smirnoff vodka. To do this, he travelled around the world and shared the drink with as many people as he could get to listen.
When doing this, he would ask bartenders to pose with a specialty copper mug and a bottle of vodka. Back then they used a Polaroid to take the picture and one copy would be left with the bartender to display while the second would be added to an album Martin carried with him. That album was used to demonstrate the popularity of the Moscow Mule to future bartenders!
So the copper mug was very much born out of the smart marketing strategies of its creators and that has stuck ever since. But the reason it worked is just that it really sets the drink apart from the rest and makes the whole experience that much more unique, exciting and memorable.
And it also makes sense from a practical stand point! The copper mug travels well because it’s much more solid than a glass and it can be thrown into a bag. What’s more though, is that it stays cool so your drink will be nicely chilled! Copper mugs are also great for a range of other things, so if you’re someone who wants to enjoy this drink regularly and who likes serving something up that’s a little special for your guests.. consider grabbing one to keep!
There’s a ton you might not realize about the Moscow Mule. Did you know for instance that it is also known as ‘Vodka Buck’? Or that it first rose to prominence during the 1950s in the US? At this time there was something of a craze for vodka and the Mule fitted this craze perfectly!
The name of course takes inspiration from vodka’s home – Russia!
Unlike many cocktails and drinks, we actually know who first introduced the world to the Moscow Mule! If you enjoy the delicious taste of ginger and lemon, then you have one John G. Martin to thank. He worked for G.F. Heublein Brothers, Inc. which is an American East Coast spirts and food distributor. The company also resides over the popular Cock ‘n’ Bull restaurant in Hollywood.
Jack Morgan, the owner of that restaurant, tells the story of how the drink originally came to be in a piece published in the New York Herald Tirbune:
“We three were quaffing a slug, nibbling an hors d'oeuvre and shoving toward inventive genius". Martin and Kunett had their minds on their vodka and wondered what would happen if a two-ounce shot joined with Morgan's ginger beer and the squeeze of a lemon. Ice was ordered, lemons procured, mugs ushered in and the concoction put together. Cups were raised, the men counted five and down went the first taste. It was good. It lifted the spirit to adventure. Four or five days later the mixture was christened the Moscow Mule...”
The Moscow Mule is today enjoyed by people all over the world and is one of the most famous and well-known drinks you can find. If you head into a bar and ask for one, the bartender should always know what you’re talking about and have a copper mug to hand.
While the Moscow Mule is popular around the world today, it was and is most popular in Los Angeles where it was originally thought up. This popularity was enhanced by a piece in the Nevada State Journal that wrote: “Already the Mule is climbing up into the exclusive handful of most-popular mixed drinks.”. It received a further boost too when it was revealed that the drink was the favorite of casino owner William F. Harrah. So much so, that in one expose written by a card counter, the drink alone was enough to allude to which casino he was talking about!
The drink has also been featured in a whole number of different books and TV shows. It was shown in Straight Up or On the Rocks: The Story of the American Cocktail as well as the more recent Netflix original show Better Call Saul. It also made an appearance in Ash Vs. the Evil Dead where Ash says: “Send me down a Moscow Mule and two of whatever the lady is having.”
These associations have certainly helped to cement the Mule’s reputation as a very ‘cool’ drink and one that you can enjoy sipping in any bar.