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Moscow Mule

Everyone who’s been to the Hartstone Inn knows that we love cocktails.  At any given time we feature up to ten “specialty” cocktails that we offer to our guests both during cocktail hour and at dinner.  The latest drink that we are crazy about is the “Moscow Mule”.


The Moscow Mule was ”born” in the 1940’s and was a popular cocktail of the 50’s and 60’s.  The story goes that John G. Martin of G.F. Heublein Brothers, Inc., who bought the rights to Smirnoff in 1939 was on a mission to market his “white whiskey” as an alternative to gin.  Gin was widely popular at the time in the U.S. and vodka was not.  He met John “Jack” A. Morgan, owner of a ginger beer franchise at a bar in Los Angeles in 1941 and came up with the idea for the Moscow Mule, a mutually beneficial cocktail!  They ordered engraved copper mugs and bought one of the first Polaroid cameras.  They then began to market their new drink to bars across the country.  The two would ask bartenders to pose for a picture with their copper mug and a bottle of Smirnoff vodka.  They would then take the photo to neighboring bars to show them what the competition had to offer in hopes to get them to sell the new drink too. 

Smirnoff vodka sales tripled between 1947 and 1950 with much credit going to the trendy new drink.  The name they say is for two reasons.  “Moscow” because Smirnoff began at a distillery in Moscow and vodka was considered to be mainly a Russian spirit at the time. “Mule” was because of the “kick” from the ginger beer.  The Russian connection proved to have consequences in 1950 as Americans began to connect Smirnoff with the Communist Party.   Smirnoff denied any connection as it was now an American company and the uproar eventually passed.  Vodka now out sells all other spirits in the U.S. 3 to 1 and Smirnoff is today owned by a British company.   

The Moscow Mule is refreshing enough to be a summer drink but gingery enough to be “warm” in the winter!  Here is the recipe so you can make them at home or, come visit us and we’ll make one for you!

Moscow Mule

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • Fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup ginger beer
  • 1 sprig fresh mint
  • 1 slice of lime


In a highball glasss or a copper mug (if you have one) pour vodka over ice. Add  sugar syrup and lime juice. Top with ginger beer and stir. Garnish with a slice of lime and a sprig of mint.