As we near the end of the 2016 as the Year of the Monkey, we also bid adieu to the Year of the Mule. The Moscow Mule - deemed the official cocktail at this year's Tales of the Cocktail - celebrated it’s 75th Year.
I had the chance to visit with JJ Resnick, CEO of Moscow Copper Company and grandson of the Moscow Mule originator. We chatted about our love of Moscow Mules, as I learned of the infamous copper mugs and the creation of the Moscow Mule while enjoying an ice cold one served of course, in a Moscow Copper Mug.
The first thing you’ll notice about this mug is the different shape - taller and slimmer. Most are short and squatty. Secondly, the Moscow Copper Mug is made from 100% Turkish Copper. Not plating or aluminum, just beautiful copper. JJ relaunched his grandmother’s company and is producing the original mug style, as well as tiny mugs, flasks, ice buckets and other bar accessories. They are also proud to say they have the original mold of the first Moscow Mule mug and one of the original mugs brought over by Grandma Sophie, which was displayed at the Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.
In addition to the products, they have also launched a Copper Card program where patrons can enjoy a mule the way it was intended and bars don’t need to worry about the mugs walking off. “MuleHead” - The Moscow Mule Recipe Book is also available for pre-order on Amazon and features innovative recipes by award-winning mixologists from over 400 submissions.
Where did these mugs come from and why do we serve this cocktail in them?
Sophie Berezinski came to the United States in 1941 with some copper mugs made in Russia at her father’s shop, approximately 2,000 of them. While in New York she met Max, married and moved to California with the mugs in tow. After sitting in the garage for awhile taking up room, Max told her to sell the mugs or throw them out. So naturally, Sophie set out to a mission to find a buyer for her beloved copper mugs. While out searching for a buyer, she walking into Cock ’n’ Bull on Sunset Strip. There she met Jack Morgan, the pub owner who was trying to get people to drink his ginger beer; and John Martin, who had recently purchased Smirnoff Vodka distillery… Yes, THE Smirnoff Vodka.
Since Americans were drinking mostly dark spirits, the vodka business was not good for old John and he was out of ideas on how to push his product. Enter Sophie. The three sat for hours experimenting with recipes until they came upon the perfect combination that benefited all three: ginger beer, vodka, and of course, the copper mug. For me, it just isn't a Mule unless it’s served in a copper mug.
The Moscow Mule cocktail secured the sale of the copper mugs for Sophie and the rest is history…or should I say HERstory. So raise a mug to Sophie and the Moscow Mule… Cheers!