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Accidental Success: The Rise of the Moscow Mule

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just stumble across a cocktail – coin a name for it – and then it catch on like wildfire?

So many of the popular cocktails we enjoy today started this way – including the Moscow Mule.

Let’s just say the Moscow Mule started as a cross between good ole fashioned American ingenuity and a complete accident.

In the late 1930s, a company called Heublein bought the rights to Smirnoff vodka, the delicious, smooth vodka we love today. But back in the 1930s, no one was drinking vodka and Americans snubbed it. Here’s where the facts get fuzzy. One story is that Heublein executive John Martin paired up with his buddy Jack Morgan – owner of the Cock n Bull bar in LA – and created the drink to clear an abundance of ginger beer inventory and spark interest in the newly acquired Smirnoff vodka. However, Wes Price, the head bartender at Cock n Bull at the time, also claims that he invented the drink. So who knows?! All we know is that we’re glad someone came up with it!

And as for the copper mugs? Well, it seems they might have come on the scene because Morgan was dating a woman who owned a copper company – seriously. But at the end of the day, it was actually Martin who popularized the Moscow Mule in the copper mug, taking polaroids of bartenders holding the copper-clad drinks in hand and then showing them to the next bar he was trying to persuade to buy Smirnoff vodka/ginger beer. Apparently, it worked.

Cheers to you, John Martin, for bringing us such a tasty cocktail! Ready to take on the best Moscow Mule in Richardson? Visit Tricky Fish today to get one of our delicious mules, an Old Fashioned, or any of our other handcrafted cocktails.