So I’m not proud to say it, but I’ve given Donald Trump some money.
Wait. It’s not what you think.
In early 2016 – back when it was still funny that Donald Trump was the Republican Presidential Candidate (remember that? Simpler, happier times), I stayed in a Trump hotel in Honolulu.
I won’t do that again.
While I was there though, I did have a Moscow Mule, and oh how we laughed at the hilarious prospect of Trump and Pooty-Putin making nice at APEC and G20 Summits (again, happier times).
Anyway, these two besties won’t be able to catch up at the sidelines of the Winter Olympics next year because Donny’s mates the Russians have been slapped with a ban on participating in next year’s Winter Olympics for systemic doping, thus opening the metaphorical door for an SSM Cocktail Shakedown on an IBA Contemporary Classic, the Moscow Mule.
The vodka, bitters, ginger beer and lime juice mix was not invented in Russia. There is also no evidence to suggest that it is particularly popular over there, but there are three Russian-themed cocktails on the IBA’s list and we haven’t hit any of them.
And so to the Moscow Mule.
As is so often the case, a cocktail has paved the way for smashing of prejudices (possibly something in that with the whole Middle East thing, I’ll leave that idea to the UN to follow up).
Back in the 1940s, the American aversion to all-things Soviet was high. This included vodka.
Legend has it that the guy who had the rights to sell Smirnoff Vodka in the USA faced some fairly tough times in getting people to accept the drink. American whiskey was a much stronger seller, with people opting to demonstrate their patriotism through drinking that over what was referred to as “Communist tap-water”.
Now, I’m certainly not going to swing into the defence of vodka (I’ve kind of already done that HERE and I still think that most vodka cocktails would taste better by substituting the vodka for gin), but human beings really are a bit ridiculous sometimes, aren’t we?
Some bright spark came up with the idea of serving the Moscow Mule in a copper mug and hey presto, we had the IT cocktail of the 1940s.
That’s about as interesting as the Moscow Mule story goes. It’s tasty enough but that’s the good work of the ginger beer.
I’m about to go on holidays and will use that time to consider SSM’s relationship with the IBA. Regular readers will know that I am already troubled by what I consider to be real credibility issues with the IBA. Like not even knowing what a cocktail is.
But also this.
Those shitheads at the IBA require the Moscow Mule to be served in a long glass. Which is just sloppy.
You CAN serve it in a glass, but you SHOULD serve the Moscow Mule in that copper mug (just make sure it’s plated inside with nickel or stainless steel to avoid copper toxicity, sure to give you a massive hangover).
Fill the mug with ice, add 50mL vodka (Smirnoff if you’re being historically accurate), 17.5mL of lime juice (squeeze it fresh you lazy bugger), 120mL of ginger beer and add a dash of Angostura bitters.
Done. Tasty enough, refreshing, a trigger for Cold War reveries and showcasing savvy geo-political analysis.
Coupla problems with this cocktail shakedown.
Firstly, I don’t know why it is called a Moscow Mule (and don’t look to Urban Dictionary for assistance; that just brings up some eye-watering suggestions of a “fun” nocturnal activity involving prime numbers).
Secondly, I don’t have a movie or film clip to pair with this.
Even Cheryl Charming’s Cocktail Cinema hasn’t been able to help me find a movie in which Moscow Mules are served (please let me know if you find one), but I won’t let you down, so am pursuing the Russian theme this week back to 1984, with the cinema classic Red Dawn.
There’s so much to love about this ludicrous movie. Patrick Swayze and his brother Charlie Sheen lead a band of high-school guerrillas working under the banner of “Wolverines” (because that was their high school football team) in disrupting the plans of the invading Soviet forces (helped by some Cubans and Nicaraguans I think).
It was made by MGM in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and released during the 1984 LA Olympics where there were also no Russians, although this time due to the boycotts that accompanied every Olympics from 1972 to 1992.
Incidentally, Harry Dean Stanton played Pat and Chuck’s father and I think we would all have lost money if we’d bet on which of the three of those guys would be the last one to die. Maybe Sheen does have tiger blood.
Anyway, it was 80s in the way that The Outsiders was 80s. Everyone was in it. Everyone was so good, so misunderstood. Watch this one, definitely not the 2012 remake (seriously Hollywood, can we just stop that now please?).
A final – perhaps surprising – note on the Moscow Mule: this is one of the few cocktails I’ve covered that I think could stand without their constituent alcohol and still be just as tasty.
I’ve had a few readers ask me for a non-alcoholic cocktail suggestion over the years and have been tardy in responding, mostly because I didn’t think “tea” or “sparkling water” were really in the spirit of the question.
But Tess, Maria, Genevieve, I’d say spiced ginger beer, lime juice and bitters, together with a whack of muddled mint leaves would make for a delicious non-alcoholic cocktail.
And Stuart, I still have your request for a beer-based cocktail. There’s none on the IBA, but to hell with them, look out for that in January!