A cranberry Moscow mule might just be the perfect drink for holiday entertaining. It's easy, it's festive, and of course, it's straight up delicious. Add a cute sugared cranberry garnish, and BAM! You are impressing all over the place.
The traditional Moscow mule is made with vodka, lime, and ginger beer. It's super delicious, but adding tart cranberry to the mix makes it extra.
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The cranberry moscow mule is the kind of holiday classic cocktail you'll come back to over and over again. It's a quick, easy crowd-pleaser.
Why You're Going to Love this Recipe
- It's so easy. This is especially important if you're hosting a holiday crowd!
- The ingredients are very simple. You can definitely make it with cranberry simple syrup (it will also be sweeter this way!), but it's not needed. Regular cranberry juice is just fine.
- You can make them ahead of time.
- You can make it in batches!
- It's a total crowd please, who doesn't love a good mule? With cranberries?
What is a Moscow Mule?
The Moscow mule is a cocktail made with vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. It's actually not Russian, despite the name.
The story goes that back in the 40s, vodka really wasn't a thing in the States. A guy named John G. Martine bought a vodka company for some reason, and sales were terrible.
Apparently, Martine was lamenting about his issue with a bar tender, and this bar tender was struggling to sell ginger beer. Somewhere along the line they also met a businessman who couldn't sell copper mugs to people, and they decided to create a drink combining all three elements.
Finding this a little coincidental and hard to believe? Because same. But anyway, makes a good story.
The name was picked because Americans associated vodka with Russia (Moscow), and mule because the ginger beer gave it a good kick.
The ingredient list is super short, and super easy.
- Vodka - the essential ingredient in a mule, but these also taste pretty good with dark rum if you're not feeling it.
- Lime juice - we need it for the acid and the brightness.
- Ginger beer - adds a sweet and spicy kick to the drink.
- Cranberry juice - the cranberry is both bitter and sweet, so it really balances out the flavors of this drink. If you want to use cranberry simple syrup instead, you definitely can. Just swap it out for the juice, although this definitely makes a sweeter version (I kind of prefer it, tbh).
How to make A Cranberry Mule
Let's go through this step by step.
Step 1: Ice Ice Baby
Fill whatever glass your serving this in (see below for suggestions) with ice. I usually do this about ⅓ to ½ way up the sides of the glass.
Step 2: Add Your Ingredients
Add the cranberry juice, the vodka, and the lime. Give the whole thing a stir to make sure everything is properly mixed. Then, top it off with the ginger beer.
Step 3: Garnish
I've got some suggestions for fancy garnish below, but if you want to keep it super simple, just throw a few fresh cranberries and a slice of lime in there!
How to Serve it
So, why exactly is it that mules are ALWAYS served in copper mugs? If you believe the origin story, it was a part of the original concept of the drink. Others say that the copper is cool, and keeps the flavors and aromas of the drink in tact.
I'm all for copper mugs, but I'm guessing most people don't have like eight of them kicking around their bar at home. So you can definitely serve them in whatever you want (a double rocks glass is always a good choice).
I will admit though - the mugs look extremely cool.
A good mule has to have good garnishes. For this one, I love sugared cranberries. They just look so amazing. I stuck some sugared rosemary in as well.
You can also use mint, or fresh lime to keep it simple. Another great trick is to just throw some fresh cranberries in the glass right at the end.
Making Ahead & Batching
You can definitely make this in a pitcher ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. I would just hold off adding the ginger beer until you serve it - you don't want it to go flat.
Here's the ratios for making a pitcher:
- 2 cups vodka
- 2 cups cranberry juice
- ½ cup lime juice
- 3 cups ginger beer
Add the vodka, cranberry juice and lime juice to the pitcher and stir. Store in the fridge. When you're ready to serve, add the ginger beer, and give the whole thing a gentle mix. Pour over glasses with ice.
Tips & Tricks
- If you're using cranberry simple syrup and making it from scratch - try adding a few sprigs of rosemary to the syrup. SO GOOD.
- The amount of ginger beer in this recipe doesn't have to be exact. Just top up the glass as much as you can, or as much as your guest wants.
- Some ginger beer is spicier than others! I prefer one with a really good kick, but there's definitely lots out there that are very mild.
- One of the easiest (and prettiest) ways to garnish this drink is to just throw in a couple fresh or frozen cranberries to float around the top.
Other Great Recipes for Holiday Entertaining
Cranberry Moscow Mule
- 2 oz vodka
- ½ oz lime juice freshly squeezed
- 2 oz cranberry juice you can also use 1 oz of cranberry simple syrup
- 3 oz ginger beer
- sugared cranberries for garnish
- rosemary sprig for garnish
- Fill a cooper mug, or whatever glass you're using, halfway with ice.
- Add the vodka, lime juice, and cranberry juice. Give the drink a gentle stir to mix all the ingredients.
- Top with the ginger beer.
- Garnish with cranberries and rosemary.
Hi, I'm Cara! I'm a food writer, journalist, and recipe developer. I'm obsessed good food, good wine, good cocktails and entertaining. I've picked up a few tips over the years, and love sharing them with others.