Price Points: Moscow Mule mugs

Moscow Mule mugs

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…

  1. Copper Moscow Mule mugs (set of 4): $63, Food52
  2. Set of 6 pure hammered copper Moscow Mule mugs: £83.25, Amazon
  3. Tom Dixon Plum Moscow Mule glasses, set of 2: £55, John Lewis

Vintage Micratex Catrina cups

Micratex Catrina mugs with chocolate digestive biscuits | H is for Home

You don’t come across these everyday, so we thought that they were definitely worth featuring in a blog post. We are, of course, referring to the cups and not the chocolate digestives!

Micratex Catrina mugs with chocolate digestive biscuits and cafetiere cover | H is for Home

This range of crockery is very hard to find – in fact we’ve been waiting for about 10 years to find a piece. The pattern will be very familiar to vintage fans – the unmistakable Lotus pattern designed by Arne Clausen – and famously used on Cathrineholm enamelware – kettles, coffee pots, saucepans et al – shapes designed by Greta Prytz Kittelsen. Here it’s being used in this range of vintage crockery made in England.

Adams Micratex Catrina mug base stamp

It was produced by Adams Pottery – a member of the Wedgewood group. Their range is called Micratex Catrina, but there’s no doubting it’s identical to Lotus. It was being produced way back in the 1960s. Did Arne Clausen give Adams permission to use it – or did Adams copy it? We’re not sure – it’s a rare oddity.

Micratex Catrina mugs showing 'Lotus' detail | H is for Home

We’ll enjoy drinking our coffee out of them whilst we investigate further!

Cactus cups

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Vintage cups planted up with mini cacti | H is for Home

We’ve got a box full of random pieces of vintage crockery – kept in store just in case we need them to make up sets. To be honest, this doesn’t happen that often so we decided to give them a new life in a different way.

Stack of vintage cups

Amongst the selection are a whole host of lovely cups – the perfect home for small plants. We did something similar with colourful tins some time ago.

Vintage cups and supplies to plant up with mini cacti

So it was off to our local garden centre where we bought small cacti, succulent compost and fine gravel.

Vintage floral cup with base layer of fine gravel

As there are no drainage holes, start with a good layer of gravel to prevent water-logging. You’ll still need to avoid over-watering though – especially in the winter.

Vintage floral cup with middle layer of special cactus compost

Certain cacti seem to suit certain cups – whether it’s the size, shape, form or colour.

Vintage floral cup with middle layer of special cactus compost

Surround with the succulent compost and firm in.

Vintage floral cup planted up with a mini cactus and top dressing of crushed shell

Finish with an attractive top layer – we chose this crushed shell mix that they had in the aquarium section of the garden centre.

Vintage floral cup planted with a mini cactus

And voilà – cactus in a cup!

Vintage cups planted up with mini cacti | H is for Home

We think they look gorgeous – especially in a small grouping. We kept a few for ourselves and took some to our antiques centre space, where they’ve found a nice home on a window sill.

Creative Collections: Vintage cups

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collection of vintage ceramic cups on an antique wooden rack

We’ve chosen vintage cups for this week’s Creative Collections post.

Vintage cups on an antique wooden rack

 

We often come across odd cups or part sets when we’re out & about. There’s certainly no need to leave them behind because it’s not a complete service. A cupboard full of mismatched crockery for day to day use looks great – or can form a fabulous shelf or wall display.

collection of vintage ceramic cups on an antique wooden rack

The amazing range of designs & colours makes cups the perfect choice for collection. You could concentrate on a particular subject – say flowers. Or a similar colour way. Or certain date era. Or a mad mix!

detail of an antique wooden rack

We have the perfect display piece for our little cup collection in the form of this rustic 19th century kitchen rack. It’s got unusual diagonal slats, studded with little iron hooks – and a shelf for overspill! We just love the patina & crackle of the old paint.

collection of vintage ceramic cups on an antique wooden rack

You’ll never run out of collecting material – the number of eye-catching cups is almost limitless – and they’re usually very affordable. Some collecting is about obtaining every single one of something that’s ever been made. That’s not the case here – pick up what you like the look of. There’s no rush – just enjoy the hunt. You could even enter into the dark, murky, mysterious world of mugs!

Charity Vintage: Hornsea mug collection

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vintage Hornsea mug collection(ends 1 Dec, 2013 20:04:48 GMT)

At the moment we have 1,300 images uploaded to our Flickr photo stream. Currently holding at #6 in popularity is our photo of a Hornsea mug collection.

When we saw this collection of Hornsea mugs being sold by and in support of British Heart Foundation* we knew we had to share it with you. The lot is currently at £68, which we think is still a very good price for 8 mugs. There isn’t much time left to bid – just over a day – so if you’re interested you’d better hop to it!

*British Heart Foundation is the nation’s heart charity. They help save lives with information, patient care and pioneering research. With your support, they’re beating heart disease for good.


Mini Mugs

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collection of pottery espresso coffee mugs hand thrown, glazed and decorated by Damian Keefe

Following on from all the wonderful stuff in our recent Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair blog post, here’s some more hand crafted loveliness!

one of a set of pottery espresso coffee mugs hand thrown, glazed and decorated by Damian Keefe one of a set of pottery espresso coffee mugs hand thrown, glazed and decorated by Damian Keefe

Justin’s brother, Damian is a very skilled potter and he dropped off some of his new designs on a recent visit.

one of a set of pottery espresso coffee mugs hand thrown, glazed and decorated by Damian Keefe one of a set of pottery espresso coffee mugs hand thrown, glazed and decorated by Damian Keefe

Amongst them were these sweet espresso coffee mugs.

one of a set of pottery espresso coffee mugs hand thrown, glazed and decorated by Damian Keefe one of a set of pottery espresso coffee mugs hand thrown, glazed and decorated by Damian Keefe

We love the tall narrow shape which still fits under most coffee machines and retains the heat of a small espresso very well.

He’s experimented with a few different glazes – various colours & textures – and they feel really good in the hand.

one of a set of pottery espresso coffee mugs hand thrown, glazed and decorated by Damian Keefe one of a set of pottery espresso coffee mugs hand thrown, glazed and decorated by Damian Keefe

 Small certainly is beautiful!

If you’ve got any favourites or feedback please leave a comment here. We’ll be sure to pass them on – Damian’s always interested to hear what people think – especially about new ideas!