Where to Get the Best Moscow Mule

We checked in with four cocktail and culture connoisseurs to see where they go to get the best Moscow mules in town.

Image: Bon Appetit
Image: Bon Appetit

During the day, Modernism Week is about the architecture and design, but at night, it’s all about the culture.  And by culture, we mean cocktails.  If you plan on getting out and exploring Modernism Week After Dark, we thought you might like to know where you imbibe some of the best midcentury-inspired cocktails that Palm Springs has to offer.

Let’s start with the Moscow mule.  This copper-cupped beverage actually predates the midcentury, invented in 1939 by John Martin (newly minted owner of the Smirnoff vodka brand) and Jack Morgan, owner of LA’s famous British-themed pub Cock’n’Bull, as a convenient way to move slightly less desirable products.  Regardless of its humble beginnings, this concoction was at the peak of its popularity in the the midcentury until the whole Communist scare. Despite Martin’s efforts to remind people that Smirnoff was in no way actually Russian, the tides of time eventually replaced the Moscow mule, but like everything great, it’s coming back in the new century.

Modernism Weekly checked in with some culture (and cocktail) connoisseurs to see where they like to go for the best Moscow mule in town and here’s what they said.

Ashley Breeding, editor of Desert Magazine.
Ashley Breeding, editor of Desert Magazine

“Funny enough, I order a mule everywhere I go! I like BAR’s — love their classic cocktails, especially the mule in the mug!” 

Kelly Lee, blogger and style expert for the modern-day Audrey Hepburns of the world at Kelly Golightly

“I would say Melvyn‘s! Old-school cocktails, giant pours, a piano player and tiny dance floor, waiters in tuxes, the former Rat Pack hangout is the perfect spot for a Moscow Mule.”

Katy Carrier, editor of Palm Springs Style

“I love the Moscow Mule at Mr. Lyons, where Stolichnaya vodka and soda are combined with house made ginger syrup for a special twist on the traditional ginger beer component. The cocktail is then garnished with lime and candied ginger. So good!”

Our last expert admittedly prefers the martini to the mule, but her advice echoed that of our lovely local ladies.

Lesley Balla, LA-based food and travel writer for Zagat, Angeleno, Los Angeles magazine and more

“I’m really fond of the bar at Melvyn‘s. I can’t remember who first took me there, but it felt like a time warp, and I never wanted to leave. I loved the various generations sitting around the room. There were a few silver-haired foxes cutting a rug on the dance floor while a pianist tickled the ivories. Frank Sinatra, Liberace, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope; they were all there, at least their ghosts were. This is the kind of place you absolutely must drink a martini — classic, up, a couple of olives. You don’t need much else. Well, except maybe another martini.”