Trivia Answer: What was the creator’s motivation for the Moscow Mule, and what was the inspiration for the copper cups that were used?

Updated: July 24, 2015
Cock and Bull 1930s

As the story goes John Martin was the president of G.F. Heublein & Brothers, an East Coast food and spirits importer best known for introducing A-1 Steak Sauce to America. Sometime in the 1930s, Martin purchased a small vodka distillery called Smirnoff for $14,000.

Back then Vodka hadn’t yet been successfully marketed in the US and Martin and Rudolph Kunett, president of the Pierre Smirnoff, Heublein’s vodka division, were lamenting their poor sales to their friend “Jack” Morgan who owned the Cock ‘n Bull pub on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, who in turn complained he couldn’t sell his homemade ginger beer that was taking up storage room in his basement.

Necessity and experimentation over hors d’oeuvres and shots resulted in the invention of the Moscow Mule as detailed in this not so humble quote:

“We three were quaffing a slug, nibbling an hors d’oeuvre and shoving toward inventive genius” – “Jack” Martin

Depending upon the source, the mugs were either obtained from a female Russian immigrant peddler who claimed her coppersmith father made the mugs and was in danger of going out of business if she didn’t sell them, or that they were commissioned from the girlfriend of the bar owner had inherited a struggling copper business.

The original mugs were supposedly straight sided and had the image of a kicking mule imprinted upon them.





…plus another detailing the copper mug acquisition that I cannot locate at the moment

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