A truly great cocktail is about more than alcohol swished together with your favorite mixer. Cocktails should heighten the senses with exquisite flavors, aromas, and presentation. The act of drinking, in and of itself, is a practice of camaraderie, bringing people together to laugh, share stories, and have fun. So any cocktail worth sipping should have its own personality and story. The legend of the Moscow Mule, a standout among vodka drinks made with fizzy ginger beer, tangy lime juice, and served in stunning copper mugs, fits on the list of classic American cocktails like few others. But why does a Moscow Mule have to be in a copper mug instead of any other kind of unique drinking glass?
Although the finely tuned ingredients of the Moscow Mule recipe are certainly appealing, the true signature of this mixed drink is the copper mug. Since Moscow Mules first appeared in the 1940s, copper mugs have been essential for proper presentation. But is copper really better? For some traditionalists, even asking the question, “Why is a Moscow Mule served in a copper mug?” is blasphemous, since decades of ceremony insist that they be used. Yet, for the discerning drinker, it’s important to know the facts. So we must look beyond the ginger beer and vodka to investigate the true benefits of copper Moscow Mule mugs.
The most scientific benefit of using copper moscow mule mugs is temperature. For centuries, the best drinkers have known that chilled drinks in copper mugs offer an extra-cool sensation, due to the metal quickly taking on the icy temperature of the cocktail. The rim of the mug becomes chilly almost instantly, offering a frozen sensation on your lips. The cold metal is highly effective at insulating the cold temperature of any liquid, especially good for summertime drinking, and deflecting heat from the sun. The handle of the mug helps maintain drink temperature, as well, keeping the near 100 degree body heat of your hand away from the walls of the mug, and your Moscow Mule safely chilled inside.
Taste Benefits of Copper Mugs
The taste benefits are a bit more subjective, and will obviously vary, depending on the recipe you use. There are, however, clear indications that using copper mugs for Moscow Mules enhance the individual flavors of the ginger beer, vodka, and lime. Some experts say that when vodka touches the walls of the mug, the copper begins to oxidize, slightly boosting the aroma, and enhancing the taste of the vodka.
Cold copper also has a tendency to increase the amount of bubbles in the carbonated ginger beer, bringing maximum fizziness to the Moscow Mule, when compared to being served in a plastic or glass container. The lime juice is also brought to life by the extra-cold copper, heightening the tangy citrus notes and reducing the acidity to better compliment the spicy ginger beer. When these three flavors reach their maximum potential, they work together to prove that the Moscow Mule deserves its home among classic American cocktails.
If Moscow Mule mugs with handles aren’t your style, go with these sleek copper handle-less ones. These copper mugs without handles can be easier to hold, but the thickness of the copper will ensure that warmth from your hands doesn’t interfere with your ice cold Moscow Mule. Your delicious cocktail will taste just as delicious, even without the classic handle! Talk about an awesome liquor gift set!
Re-tracing the history of the Moscow Mule, this ginger beer and vodka combination started at bars in Manhattan and Hollywood in 1941. In order to give the drink a distinctive look, the originators ordered specially made copper Moscow Mule mugs, and took pictures of patrons drinking them with Polaroid cameras, a cutting edge invention of the day. The photographs began to circulate, and the popularity of drinking a zesty Moscow Mule from a sleek, shiny copper mug found its place in American cocktail culture. Hugely popular in the mid 20th century, recent trends have solidified the timeless nature of this mixed drink. This is why Moscow Mules are served in copper cups in homes and bars across America.
Are Copper Mugs Really Better?
Yes. Copper mugs are hands down the best choice for mixing up the best Moscow Mule recipe. On top of that, classic Moscow Mule mugs are undoubtedly the best way to enjoy the classic beverage. After all, what other cocktail has its own copper mug, or any other types of glasses, almost solely devoted to it? As amazing as your Mule will taste coming from the classic cup, it’ll be even more enjoyable when shared with a friend or loved one, a precious gift that this set of two mugs will give you.
Rodney is a seasoned writer who’s focus is finding joy in everyday life. He loves to help people live life to the fullest. His motto “Enjoy life, wine, and great cocktails.”