Industry News

Tales of the Cocktail® Announces the 2016 Official Cocktail Competition: The Moscow Mule

Tales of the Cocktail 2015 Official Cocktail Competition Winner, Spencer Warren
Tales of the Cocktail® 2015 Official Cocktail Competition Winner, Spencer Warren

Tales of the Cocktail® 2016 will be the year of the mule. The Moscow Mule to be exact. This classically refreshing cocktail has been kicking bar patrons in the taste buds since the 1940s. This year Tales of the Cocktail® is challenging bartenders from around the world to reimagine what this drink can be for the chance of winning a cash prize, custom trophy created by Royer Corporation and having their take on the Moscow Mule named the Official Cocktail of this summer’s festivities.

“The Moscow Mule has charged back onto the cocktail scene. Now you can see it being served in the top cocktail bars, the diveyest dives and everywhere in between,” said Ann Tuennerman, Founder of Tales of the Cocktail®. “I can’t wait to taste all the creative takes that everyone has on this legendary drink.”

Being such a simple cocktail, the rules for the Moscow Mule recipe submissions are very limited. Recipes can start with any base spirit, including but not limited to vodka, and then must include some form of ginger and effervescence. The deadline to submit recipes is Friday, April 15, 2016. The winning cocktail and runners up will be announced on Thursday, May 5.

This year Tales of the Cocktail® has called upon the help of five expert judges to sample all submissions and select this year’s winner. Alex Day is the co-owner of some of the country’s most renowned cocktail bars including The Walker Inn, The Normandie Club, Honeycut, 151, Nitecap, and Death & Co. Jessica Gonzalez is a 15-year veteran of the New York bartending industry and currently serves as head bartender at the NoMad, winner of many prestigious bartending awards including a 2015 Spirited Award® for Best American Restaurant Bar and a James Beard Awards for Best Bar Program. Nicholas Jarrett is a bartender at Cure in New Orleans, having moved south after bartending stops at some of the most renowned cocktail bars in Philadelphia and New York. Dan Sabo is the Director of Beverage and Bars for the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, bringing his years of bartending experience to the judging panel. And Matt Seiter has combined both his passion for cocktail and writing with his book Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars.

As with any cocktail origin story, the details of how exactly the Moscow Mule was invented can be a little hazy. John A. Morgan, owner of the Hollywood Cock 'n' Bull Restaurant and maker of Cock ‘n’ Bull ginger beer, and John G. Martin, President of G.F. Heublein Brothers which owned Smirnoff Vodka, claim to have invented the drink in the early 1940s as a means to sell their individual products. However, the Cock ‘n’ Bull’s head bartender Wes Price also claims to have invented the drink. Whichever story happens to be true, the Moscow Mule’s popularity helped to boost the sales of Smirnoff, turning it into a worldwide brand.

“The Moscow Mule has such a storied past steeped in Old Hollywood glamour. This history sometimes makes it easy to forget that as a cocktail, the Mule is such a great example of how the combination of only three ingredients can have such a powerful and long lasting impact (in a drink that isn't strong and stirred). And it's exponential growth and increased popularity in the last few years is testament to that,” said Dan Sabo, Beverage Manager of the Ace Hotel Downtown LA.

“As a judge, I'll be looking for cocktails that are balanced and straight forward, where each of the ingredients serves a clear purpose to make the drink simultaneously unique and classic, but demonstrates a level of creativity in ingredients, flavor combinations, presentation, or (preferably) some combination of all three.” Sabo also explains “The framework of the Mule is such a wonderful structure to hang innovation on, while still be able to pay homage to its origins. I'm very excited to see what new heights the entries will take it to.”

For the 2016 Official Cocktail Competition Rules and Guidelines or more information about this year’s Tales of the Cocktail®, visit

Thank you to our generous partners:

18.21 Bitters, Absolut Vodka, Afrohead Rum, Ancho Reyes, Aviation Gin, Aylesbury Duck Vodka, Barritt's Ginger Beer, Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur, Bitter Queens, Bittercube, Deep Eddy Vodka, Domaine de Canton, Don Q Cristal Rum, East Imperial Collection, Elijah Craig Small Batch, Fever-Tree, Giffard Liqueurs, Gingeroo, Givaudan Flavors Corp., Gosling's Ginger Beer, Gosling's Gold Seal Rum, Grey Goose Vodka, Hella Co., Jack Rudy Cocktail Co., Jura Superstition, Karlsson's Vodka, King's Ginger Liqueur, Liber & Co., Monin, Monkey Shoulder, Montelobos Mezcal, Owl's Brew, PAMA, Perfect Purée of Napa Valley, Prichard’s Distillery, Pusser's Rum, Q Drinks, Raft Botanical Cocktail + Soda Syrup, Redemption Rye, Reyka Vodka, Rhum Barbancourt, Rittenhouse Rye, Royer Corporation, The Bitter Housewife, Top Note Tonic, Wild Hibiscus Flower Company, Wyborowa Vodka


Timeline for the Tales of the Cocktail® Official Cocktail Competition 2016:
April 15, 2016: Deadline to submit recipes
May 5, 2016: Winner and top three announced

The winning recipes will receive the following:

  • First prize-winner will receive $1,000 cash and be the “Official Cocktail” of Tales of the Cocktail® 2016
  • Official Cocktail will be announced at Toast to Tales of the Cocktail® and will be featured at a local bar during Tales of the Cocktail®
  • Winner will receive a custom trophy created by Royer Corporation
  • The Winning recipe will be featured with photography in the official Tales of the Cocktail® 2016 program
  • Winning recipe will be featured on and featured in the Tales of the Cocktail® newsletter and all of our social networks.

About Tales of the Cocktail®

Founded in 2002, Tales of the Cocktail® has grown from a small gathering of cocktail lovers into the world’s premier cocktail festival. Each year the international spirits industry is welcomed to New Orleans for a week of seminars, tastings, networking events and much more. With 200+ annual events developed specifically for bartenders, distillers and other spirits professionals, Tales of the Cocktail® is the industry’s annual meeting place for the exchange of new ideas, products and techniques. Tales of the Cocktail® also produces a number of other events and programs such as Tales of the Cocktail® on Tour, Tales 365®, Tales of the Toddy® and New Orleans Daiquiri Month, all to further the mission of supporting and growing the international cocktail community.

About the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society

The New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society (NOCCPS) is a non-profit organization committed to preserving the unique cocktail culture in New Orleans and around the world. Every year the NOCCPS produces a number of events including Tales of the Cocktail®, Tales of the Cocktail® on Tour, and Tales of the Toddy® with proceeds being invested back into the international spirits community through scholarships, training programs and financial aid.


INSTAGRAM: Tales_of_the_Cocktail


Ann Tuennerman, 504-948-0511,

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