The Copper Mug Club


A Seattle Favorite - The Walrus and Carpenter's Moscow Mule

Today, I’m feeling very official. It’s officially my first post as a Foodist contributor, it’s officially summer, and I’ve officially declared the Moscow Mule my new drink of choice!

While it’s flavors certainly get me excited – refreshing, just-sweet-enough with a fresh bite of ginger – it’s the “packaging” that I find myself drawn to. That copper mug.

The history of the Moscow Mule dates back to the early 40’s when John G. Martin of East Coast Spirits acquired the right to sell vodka in the US and Jack Morgan, owner of LA’s Sunset Strip bar Cock n’ Bull Tavern, had a surplus of ginger beer. A little bit of this and a little bit of that and a new cocktail was born, popularizing vodka and giving gin the ol’ second place. The copper mug was added as a marketing ploy, helping the drink stand out in a bar and prompting patrons to ask: “What’s that drink? What is he drinking?” It was as if the men with the mug knew something the others didn’t and the sales grew.

Nearly 70 years later, that ploy still works – at least on me. Drinks were delivered to the table next to me at Seattle’s Tavern Law and there it was – a sturdy yet well-worn copper mug. It had some heft, a little bit of frost and its owner gripped the handle like he was shaking the hand of an old friend. Just as John and Jack predicted, I leaned over and asked: “What’s that drink?”

Years later and particularly in the summer months, I reach for the cool touch of that cocktail. If it’s on the menu somewhere, I’ll order it. If it doesn’t come in that mug, it just doesn’t taste the same.

So who does it best? The Walrus and the Carpenter. It’s become a ritual – and one that I’m proud to keep. Every other Sunday my friend Sarah and I belly up to the bar of The Walrus and the Carpenter. Bartendress Kiara anticipates our on-time arrival and cracks open a fresh Fever Tree Ginger Beer and those old familiar mugs are front and center. Undoubtedly and repeatedly, someone leans in: “What are you drinking? And a new Moscow Mule fan is welcomed into the club.

Other worthy Seattle contenders with that copper mug:

Can’t make it to Seattle anytime soon? Mix one for yourself:

  • Vodka
  • Ginger Beer
  • Fresh Lime Juice
  • Garnish w/ a Slice of Fresh Ginger
  • Copper Mug

Have a favorite Moscow Mule-serving spot to add to the list? Or perhaps your official summer cocktail recipe to share? Let’s hear it!


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