Welcome to Mule Talk! Get to know your hosts, JJ and Tyler, as they give you the lowdown on all things related to what is quickly becoming America’s favorite beverage, the Moscow Mule. Learn about the history of this popular drink, including JJ’s close family ties to its founding, and all the interesting topics they’ll be covering in upcoming episodes.
JJ: Cheers. I’m JJ.
Tyler: And I’m Tyler.
JJ: And this is Mule Talk Episode one.
Tyler: Episode one.
JJ: We’re here, man. We did it.
Tyler: We did it.
JJ: We got our microphone all set up.
Tyler: We got our mules.
JJ: We got our bar built. Gosh. Never thought that was gonna happen after a while, huh. We just kept plugging away. We’re really excited, guys and gals, to bring you the latest and greatest Moscow Mule recipes, news …
Tyler: Pretty much anything, yeah. We’ll talk about business. We’ll talk about what’s happening the country.
JJ: Current events.
Tyler: Current events, what’s happening in the industry. If you’re in the bar industry or the food and beverage industry in general, what the trends are, what’s going on. The Mule’s have really risen in popularity over the couple of years.
JJ: They sure have.
Tyler: They sure have.
JJ: Thank you Grandma Sophie.
Tyler: Grandma Sophie.
JJ: Speaking of Grandma Sophie, we figured the best way to kick off the podcast here is to start with the history of the Moscow Mule and why we’re even here in the first place. For those of you who don’t know, my great-grandmother, Sophie Berezinski, invented this wonderful, delicious cocktail back in 1941. She did so with two of her friends, John Martin and Jack Morgan, and they did all this at the Cock ‘n’ Bull Pub on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, California. It’s kind of funny because there’s all this stuff in the news lately with the Moscow Mule and the ties to Robert Mueller and the FBI and all that, but it’s funny just because so many people think because of the name that it came from Russia. But it didn’t. We’ll get into all that here and give you a little history lesson on our favorite cocktail. I’m sure you’re here listening because you love the Moscow Mule just like we do. Right?
Tyler: I do love this [crosstalk 00:02:24] cocktail.
JJ: While I take another sip, so yeah, let’s get right to it.
Back in 1941, my great-grandmother Sophie, she had made a couple friends. She really made friends with John Martin. John had a vodka company that he was trying to expand and grow, but at the time in American history, everybody was drinking brown spirits, so vodka was just not popular.
Tyler: Kind of like the alien of the spirits, huh?
JJ: Yeah, nothing like it is today. But my grandma had these copper mugs, and she had a lot of them because she had come from Russia where her father owned a copper factory, and this was the project that she made with her father. It just gave her some time to spend with her dad and get into the factory, mess around.
Anyway, she had all these copper mugs that people were not purchasing, and John had all this vodka that nobody wanted to buy. John had another friend, Jack Morgan, who owned the Cock ‘n’ Bull, and Jack had, I guess his passion was brewing ginger beer. He had barrels and barrels of the stuff downstairs in the basement, and nobody wanted ginger beer because everybody was drinking ginger ale at the time.
So, you’ve got three people, they all thought they were marketers, and they all wanted to grow their brands and their products but just hadn’t been doing anything yet until 1941 when they all came together, and they realized … I don’t know how many freaking cocktails they went through trying different concoctions and seeing what worked, but once they mixed that ginger beer, lime, vodka inside that copper mug, magic happened.
Tyler: Magic happened, no?
JJ: And again. Another sip. It’s just so delicious.
Anyhow, that’s where the Moscow Mule was born, back in 1941 at the Cock ‘n’ Bull. Fast forward 73, 74 years back in 2012 … Yeah, it was 2012 when I started seeing the Moscow Mule everywhere. I was traveling around. Every bar I’d go to, even in China and India and Italy, they had Moscow Mule’s everywhere.
Tyler: It’s everywhere. It’s at every bar.
JJ: But what really bothered me was seeing those barrel shaped mugs, you know those-
Tyler: Oh yeah, those things are …
JJ: But they’re everywhere.
Tyler: They are everywhere.
JJ: It bothered me because I have the original mug, the very first mug that a Moscow Mule was ever created in, and it looks exactly like this. Of course, you’ve got a good amount of patina on it. It’s not shiny and new like these, but same cylindrical shape. However, it was 25 ounces. You and I might like that a lot better, but didn’t go do well in the bars where they’re trying to conserve their liquor and not have everybody leaving wasted. Right? So, we had to shrink it down. We decided 16 ounces was the perfect size, and we ran with it.
It decided to look for the best copper suppliers in the world. It came from India, and set up the factory here in California, built a team, and the rest is history.
Tyler: Nice. And we’re using 100% copper in the mugs. Right, JJ? This 100% pure copper that we’re using, the original way that grandma Sophie had intended it, using the 100% pure copper.
JJ: It sure is. We’re gonna get into that in either episode two or three, into the science of it all, but that’s a great point you make because again all the mugs you tend to see at the bars are lined with either tin or nickel, and it totally defeats the purpose of the Moscow Mule, which again we’ll cover in a future episode. But I’m glad you brought that up because it is super important, if you didn’t already know that, to drink your Moscow Mule out of a copper mug. The Moscow Copper authentic mugs, that’s all we do is 100% copper.
Tyler: Absolutely. Talking about these mugs and everything, what was the first bar where you had your mugs available?
JJ: The first bar. Now, are you talking back in 1941 or …
Tyler: The first bar where after you started the company-
JJ: Oh, when I relaunched.
Tyler: … when you relaunched, right?
JJ: Gosh. That’s a tough one to remember. I’m really not too sure. We had a lot of buyers come in and purchase. We mainly were direct to consumer retail on the website, but we’re in bars all over the world at this point. But I can’t remember what the first bar was. Maybe I’ll remember and let them know in the-
Tyler: In the next episode let us know.
JJ: Unless you remember and you were trying to trick me there.
So, yeah. That’s the history for you in a nutshell. We’ll talk more about Grandma Sophie in future episodes, and we’ll just have a fun here over the coming weeks. We’re gonna give you some awesome recipes. If you don’t already have “Mule Head”, this is the book that we published in the last year. We’re really just getting it out there. Seventy-five recipes from the best bartenders around the world to celebrate 75 years of the Moscow Mule. You can see some of the graphics in here. We’ve got gin mules, bourbon whiskey mules, tequila mules, all of it, mezcal mules. So again, if you don’t have that, pick up a copy. You can also find a lot of those recipes here on moscowmule.com if you just want the digital version.
Tyler: Yeah, and for anyone who’s in the industry, too, we have some really nice jiggers. These jiggers are excellent, high quality. They’re made of copper, and it’s great quality as well as the stirrers and the little soda popper. You keep it in your back pocket. We make some really good quality 100% pure copper. Got a citrus squeezer here as well.
JJ: You know, I think you mentioned the bar industry, I think in some of the coming episodes we should delve into bar etiquette for all the folks at home that just are not in the industry but they like to go to the bar and drink, and they don’t know some things like, for instance, when you’re going to dinner but you’re sitting at the bar first, I’ve had those couple weird looks in the past before I learned, but do you close out with the bartender first or have your check transferred? Things like that. We won’t get into it today, but-
Tyler: No, those are good questions. Absolutely. Yeah, bar etiquette is important to everyone out there, to all bartenders. We pay attention. We’re the eyes and the ears. We listen to everybody whatever they’re saying. We’re very good at observing, so bar etiquette is very important. It’s very important.
JJ: I’m looking forward to you telling some late night stories from behind the bar.
Tyler: I’ve got all kinds of stories. It’s …
JJ: Like taxi cab confessions. Bartender-
Tyler: Mule confessions. Bartender confessions.
JJ: There we go. We might have to get that going here soon.
JJ: Well, right on. We made it through a full episode, episode one. We’re done, and we can’t wait to get back to you next week.
Tyler: Yeah, post your questions on the website, on our Facebook page, any questions or if you have any comments on anything, let us know. Please.
JJ: Right on. moscowmule.com. You know where to go, and we’ll see you next week for episode two. Cheers buddy.