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How to Enjoy The Perfect Moscow Mule With Your Own Mugs

Posted by Ben Arneberg on

This post examines the Moscow Mule and how to choose your own Moscow Mule mug set so that you can enjoy this delicious drink from home…

The Moscow Mule is a cocktail with a rich history and a great story behind it. This is the tail of John Martin, who worked for the Cock ‘n’ Bull restaurant and who was trying to shift their stock of vodka and ginger beer, which he could not sell.

His solution? Mix the two together with a little lemon to create a delicious new cocktail: The Moscow Mule! And seeing as Martin was also the owner of Smirnoff, this seemed like the perfect opportunity for him to inject some life into the brand and shift a lot of sales.

Despite anti-Russian sentiment being rife at the time and neither vodka nor ginger beer being particularly popular drinks, he managed to turn his creation into a hit! How? Two things were at play here: for starters, the drink itself was delicious! And secondly, he had a smart marketing trick up his sleeve…

Moscow Mule Mugs

Martin realised he was onto something special with the Mule and so decided to use it to try and drum up excitement for his vodka brand, Smirnoff. To do this, he would order 2,000 copper mugs from a travelling saleswoman and use them to make the drink really stand out visually, while also keeping it nicely cool!

He then travelled from bar to bar in the local area around LA and posed for photos with bar keepers holding the mugs. This drove interest in the mugs and eventually led to both the Moscow Mule and Smirnoff becoming huge hits!

Today, the Moscow Mule is enjoying something of a second wind and has become avery trendy drink to order. And as it was then, the Moscow Mule mugs are a big part of that.

moscow mule pineapple

How to Choose Your Moscow Mule Mug Set

This is a great drink to make at home. Not only is it incredibly simple to mix and highly refreshing but it’s also something that is a little bit different and that will always impress guests without fail. Part of being a great host is being able to introduce new drinks and flavors to your dinner guests – and the Moscow Mule is perfect for that when it comes in a proper copper mug.

Of course you can also give Moscow Mule gift sets to friends, if they’re into their alcohol, or use the copper mug to enjoy all manner of other drinks. The only word of caution is that now all copper mugs are made equal and you do need to practice a little caution when choosing them. Read on to find out more about how you can ensure you choose the best Moscow Mule mugs…

party gift

Choosing the Best Moscow Mule Mugs

There are numerous factors to take into account when choosing your Moscow Mule mug set. Here are just a few of the things to keep in mind…


The original Moscow Mule mugs used a perfectly straight design with no hammering or other pattern. The width also remained the same throughout and the word ‘Moscow’ was embossed right on the front. It was made from a flat, shiny, copper material and it’s still possible to buy the original Moscow Mule mug set today.

Since then though, many more copper mugs have entered the scene and some people may prefer those newer designs. This will ultimately come down to your personal preference. The hammered copper mug for example has a hammered-looking effect that makes it look as though it has been ‘crumpled’ somewhat. It refracts the light in interesting ways but is a little less authentic.

There’s no ‘right answere’ here – the best Moscow Mule mugs will be the ones you prefer!


The size of your mug is of course going to have a big impact on the way you drink the drink. That’s because the Moscow Mule recipe contains 1 ounce of lime, 2 ounces of vodka and then a whole lot of ice and ginger beer to finish off. The lime wheel is then placed on top.

So the lime and vodka quantities remain the same, while the ginger beer and ice are used to fill the rest of the mug. A bigger mug therefore means a greater ratio of ice and ginger beer to vodka and thus a less alcoholic beverage. Again, this comes down to personal preference: would you rather have a more intoxicating brew? Or would you rather have a drink you can sit and sip?

moscow mule copper mugs

While any size will do, a good size is 16oz. You can go as small as 12oz though and all the way up to 30oz!


What’s less subjective is the choice of material you end up using. When you choose the best Moscow Mule mugs, you need to ensure that they are made from 100% copper. This is the case when you buy the original Moscow Copper Company mugs and also when you buy other higher-quality mugs. Look out for the quality of the copper though – if it’s not mentioned then it may be an inferior metal.

The reason this is so important, is that a lesser material can potential be a bad thing and risk copper toxicity. This causes flakes of copper to come off inside the mug and enter the drink and if that builds up, it can become mildly dangerous.

Do keep in mind though that the body has naturally low levels of copper anyway – it would take an awful lot of Moscow Mule before you noticed any side effects and the alcohol would probably get to you first. That said though, you should always read reviews before going ahead.

Copper mugs must have 100 percent copper

You might also want to go the other way and buy a cheaper mug that uses a lacquer or a plating inside the mug to prevent it from affecting your cocktail. This isn’t quite as authentic but it will do the job and also prevent tarnishing or oxidisation.

You can even go the other way entirely and get something completely different – like stainless steel Moscow Mule mugs! These are easier to look after and they look amazing, even if they are a break from tradition.

In other words, it either needs to be 100% real copper, or intentionally not real copper. Just not in-between!

Other Considerations

There are a few other things to consider when choosing your Moscow Mule mug sets too.

For instance, you might want to look for a copper mug that comes with the Moscow Mule company logo on it. This gives and air of authenticity and that will win you kudos, for sure (especially if you own a bar).

Bar with moscow mules

Then again, you might want to look for personalized Moscow Mule mugs. Personalized Moscow Mule mugs are great as a Moscow Mule gift set but they’re also great for bars that want to emboss their own logo and thereby get some publicity from the mugs. Let’s face it: people are going to steal your mugs. You might as well turn that into a positive!

How to Clean Moscow Mule Mugs

Once you have your Moscow Mule mug sets, the next thing you’ll need to do is keep them sparkling clean. You can do this by washing them of course but you need to be careful that you don’t accidentally cause oxidization or rusting.

The best method then is to use something gentle and natural – and the most popular example is to use some lemon with some salt and then to polish thoroughly. Simply take your salt and use it to polish the inside of the mug around the inside.

Then dip half a lemon in and use it like a sponge to soak up the mixture and to wipe the inside. This should bring your copper up to have a nice sheen and unlike a regular detergent, it won’t discolour your Moscow Mule mugs and thereby ruin them.

Copper mugs cleaning

Always remember to clean the exterior too – this drink is all about the presentation!

Note that you should never put your copper mugs in the dishwasher. This will risk scratching the surface and can even remove your logo. You should always also store your mugs somewhere dry. Copper mugs won’t rust but they will tarnish if you leave them somewhere damp. Always dry the mug thoroughly until it looks sparkling and then place it in a dry cupboard or other storage.

And if you’re really struggling with this, consider using a specialist copper mug cleaner!

Cleaning with salt and lemon

However you present your mugs, this is always a fun and refreshing drink. But by researching the best mugs and spending a little time to create the right impression, you’ll find that your guests will be even more impressed and it enhances the whole experience. Hopefully, this guide will have put you on the right track!

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