If you're looking for a twist on a classic cocktail to spice up your holiday parties and spread some holiday cheer, look no further than the Christmas Mule. This festive cocktail is a tasty twist on a traditional Moscow Mule cocktail recipe. With ginger beer, cranberry, lime and vodka, it's so easy to make and sure to be a holiday hit. Don't skip the fresh rosemary garnish if you can find some -- it makes the whole thing smell like Christmas!
A Christmas Moscow Mule recipe is sometimes called a Yule Mule, a Holiday Mule or a Cranberry Moscow Mule. Whatever you want to call it, it's absolutely delicious and definitely makes for the perfect Christmas cocktail!
Looking for more holiday cheer? Try out the delicious Mistletoe Martini cocktail recipe, creamy Sugar Cookie Eggnog (or traditional Eggnog!), or the Cranberry and Orange Juice Mocktail for a non-alcoholic option.
A Holiday Twist on a Classic
This holiday drink is a festive Christmas version of the Moscow Mule, which is a simple and delicious mix of ginger beer and vodka, with a little lime juice.
The ginger flavor of this drink definitely lends itself to being the base of a great Christmas cocktail recipe!
The festive twist here is the addition of cranberry juice, as well as fresh cranberries and rosemary for the garnish.
It's an easy holiday cocktail recipe, and the copper mule mug makes it look even more fancy.
Here are the ingredients you'll need to make this festive drink:
- Vodka - I used Tito's vodka in mine, but Grey Goose and Absolut are always solid choices.
- Ginger beer - I used Fever Tree ginger beer, which is my favorite taste-wise. Bundaberg is another great option.
- Cranberry juice - try to use 100% juice if you can find it.
- Lime juice - fresh lime juice will always give you the best flavor.
- Rosemary sprig - this is an optional garnish, but highly recommended because it really brings a lot of Christmas-y flavor.
- Fresh cranberries - optional, for garnish (but they do look great!)
- Slice of lime - optional, for garnish. This is an easy option if you're using fresh lime.
Here are some ways you can substitute the ingredients in this cocktail:
- Vodka - try out white rum or tequila blanco if you're out of vodka. Gin works well here too, and goes great with the rosemary garnish flavor!
- Ginger beer - you can try ginger ale instead. Or, a lemon-lime soda would work in a pinch.
- Cranberry juice - if you can't find any, try using pomegranate juice instead. It's sweeter than cranberry, so you might want to add a little more lime.
- Lime juice - lemon juice works well here too.
- Garnishes - if you don't have the garnishes, you can just omit them. You could add a fresh mint sprig or a sprig of thyme if you don't have the rosemary. Or, try using a piece of candied ginger as the garnish.
Here are some variations on this recipe:
- Pomegranate: Add a splash of pomegranate juice to the mix, or a little bit of grenadine. You can garnish with some pomegranate arils (the little bits inside the fresh fruit).
- More Rosemary Flavor - you can punch up the rosemary flavor by adding some lemon rosemary syrup to the mix. Keep the syrup to ½ ounce or less, or it will end up being too overpowering.
- Sugared Cranberries - for a sparkly and festive garnish, make some sugared cranberries! Heat them in a simple syrup until the mixture is just at a simmer. Then take them out with a slotted spoon, and let them cool to room temperature before rolling them in granulated sugar. Add three of them to a cocktail pick and rest it on the edge of the copper mug just before serving.
- Non-alcoholic - want to make this into a mocktail? Easy -- just don't use the vodka! You can add some sparkling water instead if you like.
- Keto Friendly - to make this into a more keto-friendly drink, you can just switch out the ginger beer for a sugar-free version. A couple options are Remedy Sugar Free Ginger Beer or Zevia Zero Calorie Ginger Beer. The juice will still have sugar, but if you use 100% cranberry juice it's not a lot ("cranberry cocktail" will have more sugar).
Since this drink is made directly in the serving mug, you won't need much in the way of bar tools! Mostly, just a jigger to measure the liquid, and a knife and cutting board for the lime.
The copper mug itself is traditional for a classic Moscow Mule, but you can serve this in a glass too. (That way you can see the red color of the drink better!)
If you want to make the crushed ice, there are a bunch of different ways, but the ice mallet and Lewis bag method is my favorite. I feel like the Hulk smashing that ice!
Thinking of getting (or gifting!) some new bar equipment? Check out the tools from A Bar Above! You can get 10% off using my discount code, LKDrinks. I love that their tools come in different colors, but putting them in the dishwasher after using them is probably the best part.
To make this drink, start out by cutting a slice of your lime if you're making the lime slice garnish. Cut a slit in the lime slice to attach it to the rim of your mug, and set it aside.
Then, crush your ice. I'm using a Lewis bag here and filling it with ice.
Then, I use a mallet to crush the ice inside the cloth bag. This works so much better than using a zip top bag, because the plastic always tears when you smash it.
Add the crushed ice to the copper mug, and then start to make the drink.
Add the lime juice and cranberry juice to your mug.
Add in the vodka, and then top with the ginger beer. If you have a spoon handy, give it a gentle stir.
Toss in some fresh cranberries for a garnish, and then add in the fresh rosemary. Clap the rosemary between your hands before adding it for the best fragrance.
Add your lime to the rim of the mug, and serve!
Hint: You can chill the mug ahead of time to help the drink stay colder longer. Just keep in mind that the handle will be really cold!
Frequently Asked Questions
Some say the copper actually changes the taste, which it kind of does (makes it a little metallic). Some say the copper makes the drink colder (it doesn't -- the combination of crushed ice and the metal touching your mouth makes it seem super cold). In the end, it's probably because it just looks and feels cool to drink from one!
Nope! Ginger beer is a soft drink, without any alcohol. In the past, ginger beer was brewed and had a low alcohol content, but the brands you'll find in the supermarket today don't have any alcohol. You can find out more here: non-alcoholic ginger beer.
Top tip - Batching
Want to make a big batch of Christmas Moscow Mule cocktails for a holiday party? You can pre-mix the vodka, cranberry juice and lime juice up to an hour before your party, and keep them in a pitcher.
To serve the drinks, fill the serving mug with ice. Then measure out 3½ ounces of the premade mix, and top with a freshly opened ginger beer. Garnish and serve. Happy holidays!
- Copper mug (or use double Old Fashioned glass)
- Knife and cutting board (if you're using a fresh lime)
- Ice mallet and Lewis bag or other ice crusher (optional)
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 5-10 fresh cranberries
- 1 slice lime
- (Optional) If you want to use crushed ice, add ice to a Lewis bag and smash it up with a wooden mallet. You could also use an ice crusher appliance if you have one.
- Fill your serving mug with ice.
- Add in the vodka, cranberry juice, and lime juice.
- Top off the drink with the ginger beer, and give it a gentle stir just to combine everything.
- Add in your fresh cranberries.
- Clap the rosemary between your hands before adding it as a garnish.
- Add the lime slice to the rim of the mug, and serve.