The American cocktail revolution has spawned all kinds of new concoctions, but thankfully it has also sparked the renaissance of old favorites including the Moscow Mule, a ginger-spiked refresher traditionally served in a copper mug. 

The Recipe

Squeeze the juice from half a lime (about 1/2 ounce) into a copper cup; drop in the lime shell. Add ice cubes, then add 2 ounces of vodka and fill the cup with ginger beer. If you must substitute ginger ale for the ginger beer, mix in a small amount of fresh, grated ginger to give it a little burn. 

Photo by Scott Cullins

The Name

“Buck” and “mule” are old-fashioned names for mixed drinks using ginger ale or ginger beer, citrus juice and liquor.  

The Mug

The complicated, contradictory and mostly uninteresting stories about the Moscow Mule’s origin have one thing in common: the celebrity favorite Cock ‘n’ Bull restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in L.A., whose proprietor was Jack Morgan, president of Cock ‘n’ Bull, a brewer of ginger beer. The original Cock ‘n’ Bull was an English pub, which traditionally served beer and ale in copper mugs, so presumably one was handy. 

You can find copper mugs online, but they’re quite expensive, which explains why many bars require a deposit on the mug when you order. 

Ginger Beer vs. Ginger Ale: What’s The Dif?

Ginger beer was originally a fermented alcoholic beverage made from ginger and water. Now it gets its bubbles from carbonization. It is much stronger, darker and spicier in flavor than mild, sweet ginger ale, and sometimes it’s less fizzy


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