Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Vanishing Mules

The Moscow Mule is a cocktail that's often forgotten until you catch a glimpse of one being served to a table across the room... its signature copper mug instantly tells you what it is.  Next thing you know, the server is bringing one on your next round.

It is a catchy cocktail that is most often seen on a hot summer afternoon as a refreshing way to cool off. Although we are a far cry from those temperatures (one can still dream), the drink has become quite popular recently and has gained attention in the national news.

The attention is not good, though, as they are warning bars and restaurants to keep an eye on the copper mugs that are serving up the delicious drinks. With the price of copper this high, thieves are making off with not only a nice buzz, they are taking the cups with them. 

These fancy cups are not cheap... sometimes costing as much as $30-40 each. Bartenders have had to keep an eye on them when each one is served or have been known to ask for the patron's picture ID as a deposit. The watch has been issued nationwide and some restaurants must choose whether or not to offer this re-emerging cocktail.

Like many traditional classics of its time, this drink is indeed making its way back. The drink's history can be somewhat disputed, but it has an interesting story:

So it goes, John Martin purchased a large quantity of Smirnoff Vodka at a time when gin was by far the dominant spirit of the United States. His purchase, within the industry, became known as "Martin's Folly."

In an effort to prove his doubters wrong, Martin took off across the country in an effort to market his vodka. His journey brought him through Hollywood where he stopped at a well-known restaurant on the sunset strip called the Cock 'n' Bull. At the time of his stop, his marketing campaign was not going too well. As "luck" would have it, the owner of the Cock 'n' Bull, Jack Morgan, made ginger beer on the side, and his business venture was also not going very well. At the same time, Jack Morgan had a friend who had inherited a copper factory that was struggling to unload........yep you called it, copper mugs.

Together, the threesome concocted what is now referred to as the Moscow Mule. Being that the drink was created in Hollywood and marketed well by Mr. Martin, the drink soon found its way into movies on the big screen thus launching the popularity of the now famous drink.

Today, of course the taste of the drink is good, but the serving of it is what's important.  A Moscow Mule is simply not a Moscow Mule without the copper mug.  Try one out here for yourself... just be sure to leave the mug at the bar! 

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