One part pinching and three parts tickling topped with few drops of bitter-sweet excitement. This is what you get with every sip of one of the most popular cocktails of all time.
Few things are more enjoyable than the delight of a well-made Moscow Mule on a hot summer afternoon. While the frosty copper mug bites at your fingertips, the crisp and cooling cocktail with spicy ginger zing will refresh your body and soul no matter the season, offering an instant lift to the spirits.
Moscow Mule is an impeachable vodka cocktail, not too heavy on the liquor, as simple as a cocktail can be: just squeeze lime juice into a copper mug, add ice cubes, smooth vodka and top with ice-cold spicy ginger beer (not ginger ale). Garnish with mint or a lime wedge and serve with a stirring rod. Any glass will do, but the mug is way neater, and some experts suggest that when vodka contacts copper, it begins to oxidise slightly, boosting the aroma of your drink.
Now a classic, the cocktail is actually of American descent and was invented in the 1940s by John Martin, a Smirnoff executive, and Jack Morgan, owner of the LA bar Cock 'n' Bull. Legend has it, that John wanted to sell vodka to Americans, and the refreshing drink really contributed, helping America get better acquainted with vodka according to some historians and saving Smirnoff from going out of business. Others claim that Jack created the cocktail to get rid of the many cases of ginger beer that did not sell very well at that time. Whatever the case, praise be!
The Smirnoff Ad Published in Ebony, September 1965 – Vol 20, No. 11
We salute six of the world’s best drinking establishments offering the most perfect Moscow Mules we have tried. Na zdarovje!
LONDON: ISABEL MAYFAIR
Located at 26 Albemarle Street, in a building that dates back to 1905, Isabel Mayfair combines Chinoiserie and Art Deco influences in a unique character. The first thing that you notice is the 300 polished brass lamps that, famously designed to enhance skin tones, while the second is maybe the impeccable style of the staff. The restaurant, launched by restaurant/fashion mogul Juan Santa Cruz, hits all the right notes with phenomenal design and food. The menu specialises in refined dishes that blend Latin and Mediterranean cuisines, with a focus on sharing plates.
But food is not what we are here for. The cocktail menu is another highlight, featuring both the time-honoured classics alongside refreshing seasonal styles. Downstairs is the intimate “after-hours” spot with a full bar and a DJ setup. It is invitation-only, so wait for the nod.
Address: 26 Albemarle Street
PARIS: ANDY WAHLOO
Andy Warhoo first hit the nightlife scene in Paris in 2004, named after, well, a fictional character whose name derives from that of the artist Andy Warhol and the Arabic word for ‘nothing’. It was originally founded to allow people to have a drink while they were waiting for a table at the restaurant next door, owned by the same people.
Its unique interior combines both North African and Moroccan influences – pop art meets orientalism – in a reasonably small space with a friendly atmosphere.
It gets very crowded in the evening, because of the signature cocktail menu, inspired by the fascinating life of Mr Warhoo, and dramatized by professional writers and illustrators, who collaborated to bring the tales to life.
No reservation is needed, except if you fancy sitting out on the terrace on a warm night.
Address: 69, rue des Gravilliers
MILAN : THE DOPING BAR
The first feeling, entering The Doping Bar, is that of gentlemen’s clubs with leather, antiques, vintage objects and wood making the atmosphere warm and cosy, completed by magazines and fashion books available on each table for a slightly modern touch. Each of the various objects that may catch your eye is for sale.
The drink list is just outrageous with a wide assortment of wines, spirits and liqueurs, accompanied by an impressive selection of craft cocktails with the most interesting names, incorporating a wide variety of herbs, botanicals and homemade spirits. A Moscow mule is a must, but we also recommend the Sailor’s Drug, where the signature vodka is replaced with rum.
If you are looking for a fascinating bar experience, take a seat at the bar counter and be enchanted by the amazing skills of the barchemists.
Address: Piazza XXIV Maggio, 8
MOSCOW : CHAINAYA BAR
The Chainaya bar is literally one of the best-hidden bar gems in the streets of Moscow – a little bit hard to find, it is located in the unappealing back streets of Chinatown, behind an unmarked door. A real speakeasy!
Housed in a former Chinese tea house, it is a homely and atmospheric bar that still offers very good Chinese food in small dishes – the perfect foundation for all the cocktails you will want to try. The drink list is small but fantastically curated with a good amount of oriental spices, homemade infusions and jams. The bartenders are dressed like chefs, which is a nice touch, and if you struggle with finding the right cocktail for you, they will offer an idea of their own.
Address: 1-Ya Tverskaya-Yamskaya Ulitsa, 29, Tverskoy District
ST. PETERSBURG : DEAD POETS
The Dead Poets Bar has a quiet and relaxed atmosphere, located on the best bar streets in Russia. Trendy, in a grown-up way, it offers an unbelievable range of spirits – over 80 kinds of whiskey, in-house vodka infusions and a range of unique cocktails served up by experienced mixologists. The large cocktail menu is inspired by famous poets and writers, from Gogol to Kerouac.
It is more of an intimate place, with low lighting and jazz soundtrack, perfect for long conversations on a copper mug of your favourite cocktail. The bar also hosts several interesting events (live concerts, poetry slams, lectures), many in English – ideal entertainment for foreigners who visit or live in St. Peterburg.
Address: ul Zhukovskogo 12
SYDNEY : MARBLE BAR
This palatial Victorian-style bar dates back to 1893 when it was built in the former Adams Hotel. The mesmerising structure was then dismantled and transported to Hilton Sydney in 1973, where it still fascinates guests to this day. Deep green marble pillars, soaring archways, coffered ceilings, and a mahogany bar create a gloriously theatrical space that exudes old class. There are few classier places to sit on a plush leather lounge and sip a classic cocktail.
The bar menu features a range of classics, along with some signature drinks, good Champagne, a small yet well-curated list of local wines. The Marble Bar is also one of the city’s most renowned live music bars with live performances most weekends.
Address: Level B1/488 George St, Sydney NSW 2000