While there are some cocktails that have a defined origin, the Mule’s origin is based on some facts and a bit of speculation. All different but similar.
One story tells of a woman named Sophie Berezinski from Russia. Her father owned and operated the Moscow Copper Company. Sophie had an idea to make mugs from the copper. Her father promptly made 2000 mugs designed by Sophie. Hard times hit Russia and selling 2000 copper mugs there is not possible. However, in the land of opportunity, America, it may be possible. Sophie travels to American with 2000 copper mugs with the idea of selling them. After a few months very few mugs had been sold. Determined, Sophie makes her way to California and begins walking door to door approaching every bar, lounge and restaurant. One establishment she wandered into was the Cock n’ Bull, a pub in Ocean Park. The Cock n’ Bull pub was owned by Jack Morgan, who dreamed of giving the world an authentic, American made ginger beer. At the time, he was sitting on a ton of unsold creation.
Around the same time, John G, Martin, was head of Heublein & Brothers and he had purchased an entire distillery, leaving him with a surplus of vodka. Vodka was a new spirit at the time.
Jack and John were old friends and often visited each other. Story goes that on a particular day, Sophie visited the Cock n’ Bull, at the same time Jack and John were finding relief over their failed business ventures with each other and a few drinks. The three each having a bounty of specific wares to sell spent several hours talking about a possible cocktail made with vodka, ginger beer and served in a copper mug. At the end of the day the Moscow Mule was born. The cocktail became an instant hit. The story also adds that the first person to be served the Moscow Mule was actor Broderick Crawford, who helped it rise to fame.
Some leave Sophie out of the story and refer to a friend of theirs who owned a copper factory, manufacturers of copper wares. Stating this is where the copper mugs came from.
Another account maintains that the official birthplace was the New York Chatham Hotel. Jack Morgan, the man with a ton of unsold ginger beer is visiting with his friend John Martin, owner of a surplus of vodka. They spend time talking about combining Jack’s ginger beer with John’s vodka and instruct the hotel’s bartender to mix up the concoction., they added lime juice and ice and the Moscow Mule was born. The story does not include where the copper mug came from but does add that the first person served the new cocktail was Broederick Crawford.
In 2007 another story surfaced. Jack Morgan’s head bartender, Wes Price is quoted as saying that the Moscow Mule creation happened for no reason other than he was trying to get rid of the unsold inventory of ginger beer in the cellar of the Los Angeles bar. He claims he was the one who first mixed the cocktail and served it to actor Broderick Crawford.
Many stories state that the name simply refers to vodka’s birthplace, which at the time was consider and exotic place, and the Mule comes from the ‘kick’ in the ginger beer.
Whatever the real story, the 1940’s cocktail creation, the Mule has been enjoyed for decades and continues to be updated with flavored vodkas and fruits.