Copper on the Floor!

by | Oct 8, 2013 | Cocktails, Recipes, Travel

Moscow Mule at the Happy Hour Bar on Hebgen Lake, Montana

A few years ago Oprah Winfrey visited Yosemite National Park on her TV show. During that episode, Oprah and her friend Gayle King were drinking Moscow Mules at their campsite and she even brought some to her neighbors at the campsite next to hers. When she named the ingredients, ginger beer, vodka, and lime juice, the drink did not sound all that appealing to me.

Fast forward to this past summer while I was in Montana with my cousin Becky and she mentioned that some of her friends told her that the Happy Hour bar down the road had this drink called a Moscow mule that we needed to try. Soooo, naturally we did. Our friend Theresa joined us. We tried one. And then another . . . .

Moscow Mules are served in copper mugs. There is something about the oxidation of the copper that gives the drink a special flavor. At first drink you don’t taste it, but after a while it’s there. And, it’s good.

At the Happy Hour bar on the shores of Hebgen Lake in West Yellowstone, Montana where we had our first Mules, the Moscow Mule is a very popular drink. Apparently, the copper mugs, which are fairly expensive, would be taken home as souvenirs by the guests of the Happy Hour. In an effort to prevent the loss of mugs, each time a Moscow Mule is served, the bartender yells, “Copper on the floor!” and all of the customers yell it with her. If someone sitting at the bar orders one, she yells, “Copper on the bar!” and again, all of the customers in the bar yell it too. Everyone knows who has the copper mugs and it’s a lot of fun to yell, especially when you have had more than one Moscow Mule.

When I got home from Montana I decided to buy some copper mugs, which I found is a tricky thing to do. As I mentioned before, the copper mugs are fairly expensive. I started looking for them in thrift stores, but had no luck. I did, however, find an Arthur Court serving tray for $2.95 at one thrift store. There are a lot of places on-line where you can buy them, but you need to be careful. One nationally known chain sells “Moscow Mule glasses” that have a copper finish on the outside, but are stainless steel inside, which defeats the purpose of the copper mug. Others are aluminum with a copper finish. The mugs I ended up purchasing were from the Butte Copper Company. Unfortunately, I discovered when the mugs arrived that there is an antique finish on the inside. I do plan to see if I can remove it with steel wool.

The ingredients for Moscow Mules

I have seen recipes for Moscow Mules with freshly squeezed lime juice and I have had them made with a sweetened lime juice, such as Rose’s. So, yesterday when my sisters and some of my cousins were over canning pickles, I did a taste test with them. Hands down the Moscow Mules with the freshly squeezed lime juice was the favorite. So here is the recipe I used:

  • Place ice cubes in the bottom of a copper mug, add:
  • 3/4 shot of freshly squeezed lime juice (or sweetened lime juice)
  • 1 shot of vodka
  • 2 shots of ginger beer
  • Squeeze a lime on top and drop the lime in the drink
  • Serve without stirring.
  • Copper on the floor!