A business man by the name of Rudolf Kunnet acquired a vodka brand that was doing so well that went by the name of Smirnov. He then sold the rights to the Heyblein sprirts company owned by John G. Martin who marketed as white whiskey with the slogan “it leaves you breathless”. Although initial sales weren’t great. Martin then found himself chatting in a pub to a guy who owned a dying brand of ginger beer. Martin and his friend mixed the ginger beer and vodka, rounded it off with a squeeze of lime. They served it in a copper mug – allegedly from another failing business. And thus the Moscow Mule was born.
To market they would go bar to bar photographing bartenders making the drink, posing with the Smirnoff bottles and copper mugs. They would then show it to bar owners who didn’t sell the drink. Customers loved the drink and it took off!