Friday, April 28, 2017

Everything New is Old Again: The Moscow Mule

Ah hipster, un-originality is thy name. The latest blast from the past to grace the drink menus of every bar and restaurant I've visited in the last three months is the Moscow Mule. Sure, it gets twisted and "reinvented' with rum or whiskey or artisan, hand-crafted tiddlywink juice from South Jub-Jub, but we all know under the frill and garnishes it's the same drink dressed up in funny clothing.

The first Moscow Mule was concocted in 1941 and served in the Cock and Bull Restaurant in LA. It's origin is most likely as described in a 2007 Wall Street Journal interview with Cock and Bull bartender Wes Price, "I just wanted to clean out the basement, I was trying to clear out dead stock..." Necessity, mother of invention and cocktails! As for the copper mugs, well signs point to John G. Martin who traveled the US promoting Smirnoff vodka and the Moscow Mule with specialty copper mugs. Since then the vessel has become the traditional container for the mule.

The ad to the left is from a May 1950 issue of Life Magazine and falls neatly into Martin's promotional tour. I'm assuming the "Gold Coast" mentioned in the ad copy references California and not Guinea Africa, but advertising never has had much to do with truth. The recipe very specially points you to Smirnoff and the Cock and Bull's house brand of Ginger Beer, though no copper mugs are specified (though Mr. Mule is holding one).

So, next time you're settling down in your retro pop-up commando food crafting hot spot and you pick up the bed pan ironically turned menu and see a handcrafted Haitian Mule...remember, you're not a special snowflake after all.

No comments: