Inquiring Minds: Where did the Moscow Mule come from?

Each week the staff at the Roseville Library answers more than 2,500 questions on every subject under the sun. Here’s one of the most interesting ones they’ve gotten lately.

Q. How did a Moscow Mule get its name?

A. Like many stories that touch on alcoholic beverages, there is an element of fantasy in most of the accounts of the origins of this popular drink. What is known is that the Moscow Mule appeared in the early 1940s, and that it was likely born in Los Angeles. Smirnoff vodka was a relatively unknown beverage at that time and, despite the World War II-era good feeling toward many things Russian, the liquor had not caught on. Legend has it that an enterprising L.A.-based bartender noted the oversupply of both vodka and ginger beer in his tavern’s basement. He had the happy idea of combining the two ingredients with a splash of lime juice and thus a “Russian” American classic was born. The Moscow Mule is typically served in a copper mug, which is not necessarily the best vessel for it. The drink has a high acid level, and unlined copper can dissolve under acidic conditions. Note to Moscow Mule fans: Always check to see that your libation is served in a properly lined copper mug.  

(Internet Resources)


Do you have a question for the staff at the Roseville Library? You can call them at 651-724-6001 or ask your question in person at the Information Desk, Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. Library hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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