The Moscow Mule Singlehandedly Saved Vodka in the US

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It was the 1940s and sales of Smirnoff vodka were lagging, to say the least. America was a whiskey-drinking country at the time, and the colorless, odorless vodka had yet to catch on. That all changed when Smirnoff exec John Martin hit upon the idea of pairing his vodka with ginger beer and a splash of lime. He toured southern California taverns with his brand-new instant camera (a bonafide novelty that had just hit the market), snapping pictures of people enjoying his newly created beverage in its iconic copper mug. This early form of viral marketing helped propel the Moscow Mule, and as a result the entire vodka category, to national prominence.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients |

  • 2 oz vodka
  • .5 oz fresh lime juice
  • 5 oz ginger beer
  • Lime wedge, for garnish
  • Mint sprig, for garnish
Method |
  • Pack a Moscow Mule mug with ice.
  • Add vodka and lime juice and top with ginger beer.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge and a mint sprig.

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