What it is: A Moscow Mule is vodka, ginger beer and lime juice, plus lime garnish. It's an old-fashioned sort of drink, but one that connoisseurs have typically been able to get in most bars around town. The new trend? Bars are now serving the drink in a traditional copper cup, giving it a higher profile.
Why it's a hit: The copper cups have an old-world mug allure. Besides the aesthetic, they conduct cold instantly when filled with ice, which makes the drink perfectly refreshing for warm weather. People insist the copper reacts with the lime to give it a metallic taste, which also seems to make the spicy ginger taste pop. We found no science to back it up, but after doing a taste test, we swear it's true. They're also often served with a straw, but it's better straight from the mug.
What's the history: The Moscow Mule was invented in 1941 to promote Smirnoff. The interest in Moscow Mules tapered in the 1960s. Now they're back.
What the bartenders are saying: Joe Hammond, bar manager for down-to-earth watering hole Al's and Vic's, says all kinds of old-fashioned drinks are coming back. The copper cups, however, generate a lot of attention: One person drinking from a copper mug inevitably leads to other curious patrons ordering them. Hammond says Al's deals out its dozen or so copper mugs quickly once the college kids shows up in the late evening. With the copper mugs costing $25 each, many bars now ask for a credit card for security, due to patrons stealing cups.
Where to find them: Al's and Vic's, The James Bar, Sean Kelly's, The Montana Club and probably other places around town.
Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email email@example.com.