Spicy and cooling
This simple drink launched vodka into mainstream western culture, all with the help of a little ginger beer
Vodka is so much a part of our drinking culture nowadays that it’s difficult to imagine a time without it. Yet before the 1930s only certain pockets of Europe were enjoying this spirit.
This was all to change when, in 1939, an American man, John Martin, convinced his employer to buy the rights to the French vodka brand, Smirnoff (previously Russian before the revolution).
The spirit didn’t exactly take off but it was gaining some traction. Not enough for Martini, however. Then came 1946, the year he found himself sitting in a Hollywood pub called the Cock ‘n’ Bull with its owner Jack Morgan. Morgan had been bottling his own ginger beer but no one seemed to want to drink it, so it was with heavy hearts that they commiserated each other. Until, at one point during that afternoon they had a brainwave which would mutually help them out. The Moscow Mule.
As for the copper cups, this again helped another friend with a struggling business. How it took off though is largely in thanks to the invention of the Polaroid camera. Martin would photograph bartenders holding a Moscow Mule cup in one hand and a bottle of his vodka in the other and then take the picture to the next bar to show them what they were missing out on.
This simple drink managed to launch vodka into America, and therefore into cocktails, in a way even John Martin couldn’t have dared to dream.
Make It At Home:
Prep Time: 3 minutes | Serves: 1 | Skill: Super easy
60ml vodka | 20ml fresh lime juice | Ginger beer to top | Cubed ice to serve | Lime wedge
1. Pour the vodka and lime juice into the glass
2. Fill to the top with cubed ice
3. Top with ginger beer
4. Garnish with a lime wedge