Another version of the story...
Once upon a time, say, back in the 1940s, vodka was little known in the United States, and gin reigned supreme as the clear spirit of choice. A gentleman by the name of John G. Martin, president of G.F. Hueblein Brothers, Inc., had a wild notion. He bought a vodka distiller, and acquired a vodka recipe that had belonged to a Russian family named Smirnov. Martin was sure everyone would love it.
Unfortunately, Martin was a man ahead of his time. Vodka wasn't a smash hit. In fact, he had a hard time giving the stuff away, and he hit the road on a sales trip. He made it to Hollywood, where he stopped at the Cock 'n' Bull for a bite to eat. He struck up a conversation with the owner, Jack Morgan, and learned that Morgan had a white elephant of his own, the ginger beer he made on the side.
The final ingredient in their marketing scheme involved a friend of Morgan's. She had inherited a copper factory, and had an abundance of copper cups to offload. They decided to sell and serve a new cocktail in one of the copper cups, engraved with the picture of a kicking mule.
Cock 'N Bull brand ginger beer is now available here, in bottles, and made with both corn syrup and cane sugar, but we are lucky to have several good ginger beer brands available to us:
Barritt's (Bermuda) - both in cans (HFCS) and bottles (cane sugar). There's even a diet Barritt's in bottles.
Regatta (Bermuda) - both in cans (cane sugar) and bottles (HFCS).
Fever Tree (U.K.) - bottles only, cane sugar.
Fentiman's (Pennsylvania, under license from the U.K.) - bottles only, cane sugar.
Reed's Extra Ginger Brew - bottles only, (fructose, pineapple juice, honey)
Gosling's - cans only, (HFCS)
Dark & Stormy and Moscow Mule fans have much to play with. What are some of your favorites?