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Smirnoff Moscow Mule

Review: Smirnoff Moscow Mule  (86.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
September 21, 2018

The Moscow Mule is a popular vodka cocktail which mixes Vodka (often Smirnoff Vodka is called for specifically) and Ginger Beer with a small amount of lemon or lime juice. The origins of the cocktail are somewhat obscured with different ‘origin stories’ placing the first named ‘Moscow Mule’ in different locations ranging from Manhattan, New York to Hollywood, Los Angeles.

The most popular story is that in 1941, three friends, John A. Morgan, President (known by his friends as Jack) of Cock ‘n’ Bull Products which produced ginger beer (also the owner of the Hollywood Cock ‘n’ Bull Restaurant), John G. Martin, President of G.F. Heublein Brothers Inc. and Rudolph Kunett, President of Pierre Smirnoff (which was Heublein’s vodka division) were in New York’s Chatham Hotel, and they began to experiment with Morgan’s Cock ‘n’ Bull ginger beer and Kunett’s Smirnoff Vodka served with a twist of lemon juice.

Whether it was introduced at the time, or the idea arrived afterwards, the Moscow mule quickly became associated with a unique serving vessel, a copper mug. The introduction of the copper mug is usually attributed to Russian immigrant, Sophie Berezinski who apparently arrived in North America with 2000 copper mugs which had been manufactured by her father in a copper factory in Russia known as the Moscow Copper Co.. She apparently walked into John Martin’s Cock ‘n’ Bull Pub in Los Angeles, where Jack Morgan and John Martin where either introducing the cocktail to the Sunset Strip (or perhaps this is really where the cocktail was invented) and the idea to serve the mixed drink in Sofie’s copper mugs was born.

The popularity of the serving was immediate (especially on the West Coast) and today the classic serving can be found on the International Bartenders Association’s (IBF) List of Contemporary Classic Cocktails.

Recently Smirnoff, in a nod to its association to the original Moscow Mule, introduced their Ginger and Lime infused Moscow Mule (flavoured vodka). According to the folks at Smirnoff the spirit (bottled at 30 % alcohol by volume) is a ready-to-mix combination of zesty ginger and tangy lime flavors which is meant to be mixed with ginger-ale (or ginger beer).

In the Bottle 4.5/5

To the left is the bottle shot that I was provided by the folks who represent Smirnoff. (I was also given a sample bottle and I should point out that the sliced limes shown on the bottle are actually the correct shade of green on the bottle I was given.)

I like the copper coloured bottle which really stands out on my vodka shelf making it easy to pick out and brings the heritage of the original Moscow Mule into focus. My only quibble is with the metallic screw cap on the top which is rather flimsy (although I will admit that a plastic screw cap or a cork just wouldn’t look right in this case).

In the Glass 8.5/10

When I poured a small dram into my glencairn, I noticed that there was a light haze associated with the spirit, which also seemed to be a very light shade of yellow or green. The aroma was very pleasing representing a very nice combination of lime and ginger.

I suspect the haze and light colour were a result of the lime and ginger infusion, and thus it does not concern me. I am also quite pleased that I do not detect any trace of vegetal aromas or metallic scents. My impression is that the underlying Smirnoff Vodka is a clean uncluttered Vodka which is consistent with my previous reviews of the spirit.

In the Mouth 52/60

The lime and ginger infused vodka is not supposed to be sipped neat; but when I did so I was quite pleased with the lightly sweet lime and ginger flavour I encountered. I added a cube of ice, and frankly I could sip and enjoy this rather easily. However, the spirit is meant to be mixed with ginger-ale so adding some ginger-ale to my glencairn was my next course of action.

The results are quaffable indeed. We have a nice lightly sweet, lightly spicy mule-style mixed drink which I think would please almost anyone. If I served this to my friends I might be tempted to add a small lime garnish, but then again the whole point of the ready-to-mix spirit is to make it easy for you to enjoy the Moscow Mule. I would suggest therefore that the garnish is unnecessary. If you happen to have copper mugs, all the better.

In the Throat 13/15

The finish is lightly sweet and lightly spicy with a nice kick of citrus lime.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Smirnoff’s Lime and Ginger infused Moscow Mule is everything it purports to be. A tasty ready to mix spirit which not only makes a quaffable Moscow Mule, it also tastes very nice on its own over a glass of ice.

I’ll be honest, I was skeptical when I received my sample bottle; but the copper bottle and its contents have won me over. If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Flavoured Vodka Reviews.

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Suggested Serving

Moscow Mule Simplistic

Moscow Mule Simplistic

Chilled Glass (by all means use a copper mug if you have one)
2 oz. Smirnoff Moscow Mule
3.5 oz. Ginger Ale (or Ginger Beer)
Ice
Lime for Garnish only of desired

Fill your chilled glass of copper mug half full of ice
Add Smirnoff Moscow Mule
Add Ginger-ale (or ginger beer if you want a spicier mule)
Stir and garnish if desired
Serve

Note: If  you are interested in more of my cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

 

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As usual you may (loosely) interpret my score as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing Vodka. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again for cocktails only.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this Vodka in shots, although cocktails are preferable.
85-89 Excellent! Shots or cocktails!
90-94 You may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:

70 – 80 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
81 – 89 Silver Medal (Recommended for shots and mixing)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly Recommended for Vodka Shots and Sublime Cocktails)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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