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Livin’s Easy with the Strawberry Mule: Recipe + Ingredients

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Livin’s easy
Fish are jumping
And the cotton is high

George Gershwin - “Summertime”

August - named after the Roman emperor Augustus - is the one month in the calendar year when time itself seemingly grinds to a halt. Everybody’s kicking back on a beach or in a national park somewhere or else lounging out by their swimming pools. There’s only one major sport in action (the suitably laid back baseball) and nothing much to worry about except making sure you’ll have a summery drink to serve at Saturday’s barbecue. And we’ve got just the thing: the Strawberry Mule.

The Strawberry Mule - Recipe and Ingredients List

Nothing Says “Summer” Like “Fragaria × Ananassa”

Summertime and fruit are like are like wintertime and hot chocolate and few fruits are as universally loved or put to use is as many ways as the humble strawberry; or as the botanists like to call it, fragaria × ananassa. But just what are the origins of this deep abiding love affair with the strawberry? Did Augustus himself enjoy the occasional Strawberry Moscow Mule? Did his wife Livia poison him with strawberry lip gloss? Actually “No” and “No”. You see, while the Romans were aware of the wild strawberry they had no use for it as a food. The fact is the fascination with all things strawberry didn’t take root until the late Middle Ages when people began to cultivate them privately for the first time.

By the 15th century strawberries began finding their way into Flemish still life paintings and by the 16th century Henry VIII was ordering up strawberries and cream for dessert. After that the little fruit began to attract widespread attention and appreciation and by the end of the 18th century it was becoming regular summertime fare throughout Europe and North America. Today, strawberries or their essence can be found in everything from cheesecake to perfume to the subject of today’s post, the Strawberry Mule.

Birth of the “Mule”

The Moscow Mule was born on a lazy afternoon in 1941 in the Cock n’ Bull pub on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. Two guys with mutual interests were passing the time tossing around ideas about how they could make use of their respective dead-end products. One guy was Jack Morgan. He owned the Cock n’ Bull and had his own house brand of ginger beer no one seemed too thrilled about. The other guy was John Martin. Two years earlier he had purchased Smirnoff Vodka. Martin got Smirnoff for a song but was having a hard time selling the Russian drink to an American audience.

While exact details are sketchy someone present in the bar that day suggested the two ingredients might complement each other and so a prototype cocktail was created and the rest, as they say, is history. Almost. Because Martin, being an experienced marketer, was prescient enough to know that the drink would have a better chance of taking off if it had an easily recognizable visual hook; like the beer mug, martini glass or brandy snifter etc.

The Finishing Touch

It’s said that someone else who worked in the bar (exactly who is open to debate) chimed in that they knew someone who made or sold (depending on who’s telling the tale) copper mugs. All agreed it would provide exactly the image boost the new cocktail would need. Martin then set about selling bar owners on the new cocktail and found a particularly receptive audience in Hollywood where the drink became something of a cause célèbre.

Over the ensuing decades the drink has repeatedly proven itself to be one of the most versatile cocktails ever created with dozens of variations springing up all around the globe incorporating regional flavors, fruits and spices and even making its way into baked goods like cupcakes. The strawberry variant is just the latest take on the classic Moscow Mule and one that’s perfectly suited to your next backyard summertime soiree. So let’s get to it.

Strawberry Mule Ingredients

We’re finally ready to put together the ultimate summertime cocktail but first we’ll need the appropriate ingredients.

  • 3 fresh strawberries
  • 2 oz strawberry vodka
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 4 oz ginger beer
  • Chilled copper Moscow Mule mug

If you’re unable to find strawberry vodka don’t worry. The Strawberry Mule recipe will work fine with your favorite unflavored brand of vodka instead. Also, if fresh strawberries are difficult to come by where you live it’s perfectly acceptable to substitute with frozen strawberries.

The Strawberry Mule Recipe

  • Take 2 of the strawberries, place them in a bowl and mash them until they’re a bit sloppy and you’ve extracted a measureable amount of strawberry juice.
  • Place the mashed strawberries in the bottom of the chilled copper Moscow Mule mug and fill it with ice.
  • Add the strawberry vodka, lime juice and ginger beer and stir lightly.
  • Pour in the strawberry juice then place the one strawberry you didn’t mash on top of it all.
  • Enjoy!

We’ve seen recipes using the “Mule” tag that suggest it’s okay to use a highball glass or even a standard tumbler instead of a copper mug. It’s not. The genuine solid copper mug is as much an ingredient in the making of any Moscow Mule variation as the Martini glass is to the Martini. If the above recipe is served in anything other than a copper mug it’s not a true “mule”. Maybe it’s a Strawberry Thingamabob or a Strawberry Jackass but it’s not Strawberry Moscow Mule.


August is all about the good life. It’s relaxation, enjoyment of the great outdoors and having friends around to while away the endless evenings on the patio or deck or in the outdoor kitchen under a veil of stars. Make sure you make your next summertime get together one everybody will remember by serving up the Strawberry Mule. If you’re in need of some solid copper mugs for the occasion you’ll find an array of different styles and sizes in our online shop. Or, if you’re in the Denver area stop by our brick and mortar outlet on Logan Court.


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