If you love traditional Moscow Mules, you’re going to swoon for this festive variation, crafted for holiday sipping. This Cranberry Moscow Mule is sweet-tart, a little bit spicy, and makes a beautiful addition to fall and winter cocktail menus. (I love to serve it for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving!) As always, enjoy responsibly.
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What’s a Cranberry Moscow Mule?
The Cranberry Mule is a seasonal twist on the classic Moscow Mule cocktail. For this drink, you’ll add a splash of cranberry juice to the traditional Moscow Mule ingredients, and garnish with fresh cranberries, lime wedges, and herbs.
Served in a frosty copper mug, Cranberry Moscow Mule makes a festive presentation for entertaining. It only takes 5 minutes to mix, and you can easily batch it for a larger cocktail party or gathering.
Ingredients You’ll Need for Cranberry Mule
This Cranberry Moscow Mule is a 4-ingredient cocktail (plus ice and garnishes). To make it, you’ll need:
- Cranberry Juice. More on this below.
- Ginger Beer. Gives the cocktail a sweet-spicy, fizzy finish. My favorite is Fever Tree Premium Ginger Beer.
- Vodka. The classic spirit used in a Moscow Mule.
- Lime Juice. Freshly-squeezed for the best flavor.
- Cubed or Crushed Ice. I like to use a high-speed blender, (such as a Vitamix) or a Lewis bag and mallet to make crushed ice for mixing cocktails. If you’re scaling this recipe for a party, you can also buy crushed ice at many Sonic locations in the US and some convenience stores.
- Garnishes: Lime wedges, whole cranberries, fresh herb sprigs (mint, rosemary).
Heading to the store? Check out the 11 Best Ginger Beers for Moscow Mules and Beyond from The Spruce Eats.
Cranberry Juice vs. Cranberry Juice Cocktail
I generally recommend using 100% unsweetened cranberry juice to make this Mule, but you can substitute cranberry juice cocktail, with some caveats. Here are the differences, and my recommendations.
Cranberry juice cocktail is a blend of cranberry juice concentrate, water and sweetener (typically, sugar or corn syrup). The cranberry flavor isn’t as potent as pure cranberry juice, and it will yield a sweeter cocktail, particularly when mixed with ginger beer.
Pure cranberry juice will have a fuller cranberry flavor and be a bit more tart. The sweetness of this cocktail can vary by the brand of ginger beer you’re using (some tend to be sweeter, while others are spicier). With that in mind, I prefer to use pure, unsweetened juice. It’s easier to add sweetness to the drink than to take it away.
If you’re using unsweetened cranberry juice and find that the cocktail isn’t sweet enough, simply stir in a bit of simple syrup, to taste. Start with half a teaspoonful and adjust from there to reach your preferred sweetness level.
Making simple syrup is easy! Add 1 part granulated sugar and 1 part water (e.g. 1/2 cup each) to a saucepan. Heat over medium low heat, stirring, just until sugar is dissolved. Don’t let the mixture boil. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Pour into a sealed container and refrigerate for up to a month.
How to Make a Cranberry Moscow Mule (5 Minutes or Less!)
The Cranberry Moscow Mule is a quick cocktail that’s easy to make, especially when entertaining. For a single cocktail, start by filling a mule mug with cubed or crushed ice.
Pour in the cranberry juice, lime juice, vodka, and ginger beer, and gently stir to combine. Garnish with fresh cranberries, a wedge of lime, and a sprig of fresh mint or rosemary, if desired, for a festive presentation.
Q. How can I scale this recipe for a party?
A. This Cranberry Moscow Mule is easy to prep ahead to serve more than one guest at a holiday cocktail party. For 8 cocktails, combine 2 cups (16 ounces) cranberry juice, 1/2 cup (4 ounces) lime juice, and 2 cups (16 ounces) vodka in a pitcher. Chill until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, pour about 4-1/2 ounces of the mixer into each ice-filled mule mug (a little more than 1/2 cup), and top each with about 3 ounces of chilled ginger beer, gently stirring.
Q. Can I make this a Cranberry Moscow Mule Mocktail?
A. To turn this cocktail into a mocktail, simply replace the vodka with an equal amount of club soda.
More of our Favorite Cranberry Recipes
- Brandied Cherry Cranberry Sauce
- Cranberry Pecan Stuffing
- Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
- Mulled Wine Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Moscow Mule
- 2 ounces cranberry juice *
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1/2 ounce lime juice , freshly-squeezed
- 3 ounces ginger beer (I use Fever Tree)
- crushed or cubed ice , for filling mule mugs
- fresh cranberries, lime wedges, and fresh herb sprigs (such as rosemary or mint) , for garnish
- Fill a copper mule mug with ice.
- Pour in the cranberry juice, lime juice, and vodka. Top with ginger beer and gently stir the mixture.
- Garnish with a few fresh cranberries, a lime wedge, and a sprig of fresh mint or rosemary, as desired, for a festive presentation.