A Moscow Mule with Society Hill Society
The Moscow Mule has long been a mainstay at bars and social gatherings, but did you know that it was created as the promotional tool that helped launch vodka into popularity across the US? We recently chatted about cocktail history with Paul MacDonald, head bartender at Philadelphia’s Society Hill Society, who told us that companies were looking for ways to sell different liquors, like vodka, after Prohibition. In turn, customers were searching for easy ways to enjoy less familiar spirits. So, Smirnoff circulated the Moscow Mule as a simple drink recipe, and used the now-distinctive copper mug as a hook for their new cocktail. Paul adds that the mug was more than just a promotional tool. Metal vessels are ideal for many cocktails because they get frosty and colder than glass, allowing drinks to stay cool longer—Moscow Mules and Mint Juleps are two famous drinks that are served in iconic metal vessels.
We also asked Paul to share his tips for crafting the perfect Moscow Mule. "The hardest part," he says, "is the ginger beer. Unlike other sodas, ginger beer has a relatively short life because the flavor of ginger degrades quickly. Even bars have a hard time finding and keeping fresh ginger beer in stock while retaining its bold, zesty flavor. So, the best way to ensure your drink comes out top notch is to make fresh ginger syrup yourself." To make a small batch of syrup that will stay fresh, you'll need 2 cups of roughly chopped, fresh ginger, 2 cups of sugar, and 6 cups of water. Combine the ingredients in a stock pot and simmer until a rich syrup is created. Strain the syrup, cool, and then combine it with vodka, lime, and club soda for a classic Moscow Mule. We garnished the ones pictured above with fresh blueberries for an added twist!
Stay tuned for more with Paul-- he'll be sharing his favorite holiday cocktail creation in an upcoming Bulletin!