Last week, we published a post about our recent decorating exploits – specifically our top floor bedroom and its shades of grey and black. At that point, there was a large space above the bed waiting for a suitable piece of art. We’d mentioned that there are lots of things relating to nature in the room – and also copper highlights dotted about. Imagine our joy when we found this gorgeous vintage 1960s beaten copper plaque at a local flea market this week.
The first thing we saw peaking out were the feathers. “Oh, that looks interesting!”, we thought…
…and, as we pulled it towards us for a better look, the bird’s head was revealed.
We absolutely love it – the stylised bird, so typical of the era, the materials used, texture, patina and colours. We thought we’d be waiting quite a while to fill that long, narrow space with something suitable – but a few days after taking the initial photos, there it appeared. We very nearly missed the market that day too, but fortunately fate intervened!
Moscow Mule – it sounds so Cold War Soviet Union. In fact, the cocktail was invented in the early 1940s by two American drinks distributors.
On 28 July 1948, it was reported in the New York Herald Tribune:
“The mule was born in Manhattan but ‘stalled’ on the West Coast for the duration. The birthplace of ‘Little Moscow’ was in New York’s Chatham Hotel. That was back in 1941 when the first carload of Jack Morgan’s Cock ‘n’ Bull ginger beer was railing over the plains to give New Yorkers a happy surprise. Here was ginger beer in crockery bottles tasting exactly like that of old England.”
“Three friends were in the Chatham bar, one John A. Morgan, known as Jack, president of Cock ‘n’ Bull Products and owner of the Hollywood Cock ‘n’ Bull Restaurant; one was John G. Martin, president of G. F. Heublein Brothers, Inc. of Hartford, Conn., and the third was Rudolph Kunett, president of the Pierre Smirnoff, Heublein’s vodka division. As Jack Morgan tells it, ‘We three were quaffing a slug, nibbling an hors d’oeuvre and shoving toward inventive genius.’ Martin and Kunett had their minds on their vodka and wondered what would happen if a two-ounce shot joined with Morgan’s ginger beer and the squeeze of a lime. Ice was ordered, limes procured, mugs ushered in and the concoction put together. Cups were raised, the men counted five and down went the first taste. It was good. It lifted the spirit to adventure. Four or five later the mixture was christened the Moscow Mule… and for a number of obvious reasons. “
The exact reason why Moscow Mules are traditionally drunk out of copper mugs is a bit lost in time. However, the material certainly suits this cocktail – the metal keeps the drink colder for longer, necessitating less ice. And it apparently makes the acidic lime taste sharper.
I’d happily quaff Moscow Mules from any of three of the mug collections above. But I’d choose the hammered version over the other two. Firstly, I like my mugs with a handle – there are no freezing (or burning, if glugging Glühwein) fingers to contend with. Additionally, I know it goes against what I’ve just said, but the hammered body is so tactile…
- Copper Moscow Mule mugs (set of 4): $63, Food52
- Set of 6 pure hammered copper Moscow Mule mugs: £83.25, Amazon
- Tom Dixon Plum Moscow Mule glasses, set of 2: £55, John Lewis
The current fashion for using copper in interiors shows no sign of abating. This metallic tone isn’t sterile like stainless steel can often feel. It’s also not as ‘bling’ as gold; it’s warm, soft and sumptuous. It works very well with dark paint shades, particularly grey – another strong trend over recent years. It also lends itself to being used alongside a wide variety of textures; from concrete to velvet, wood to suede. Whether you’re aiming for a luxe or utilitarian look, copper will work wonderfully well.
Warm copper tones never go completely out of fashion for interior design; but it’s fair to say it’s been a little overlooked for 30 years or so. It was very popular in the 1960s & 70s, but fell out favour a bit. But, as with most things, trends are cyclical – and copper is certainly back in a big way again – magazines are full of this wonderful shimmering metal.
- NUD Aqua lights – Nud Collection
- Ball desk light – £105.00, Heal’s
- House Doctor copper mesh basket 24cm – £99.00, Selfridges
- Vintage pendent light shade – £25, H is for Home
- Accord copper bronze mosaic tiles 15x15mm – £192.93/m2, Topps Tiles
- Hammerite 5084822 metal paint: Hammered Copper 250ml – £7.27, Amazon
- Vintage Smiths alarm clock – £25, H is for Home
- Copper tri-ply pans – from £16.99, Lakeland
- Round cookie cutter – £4, John Lewis
- Vintage starburst clock – £75, H is for Home
copper Zatchels Barrel bag: £45.00
I love the luxe look of this metallic leather Zatchels Barrel bag. It looks like the beautiful love child of a satchel and a saddle bag and is the perfect size.
Plunging into the spirit of the London 2012 Olympic Games, is it too much to ask to also have one each of the gold, silver and bronze? 😉
Not everyone stocks the entire range, but they can be found at Liberty, John Lewis and House of Fraser