Yule Mule: A Christmas Moscow Mule Recipe

Based on the traditional Moscow Mule, the Yule Mule is a holiday Moscow Mule cocktail featuring ginger beer and cranberries. Tastes just like Christmas!

two yule mules on a white background

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Yule Mule cocktail recipe

Ginger beer is one of my favorite things ever. I love to sip it on its own, but I also love it in cocktails.

I love it in a traditional Moscow Mule. And in a Dark and Stormy. And in a Kentucky Mule. And in an Irish Mule. And… well, you get the picture.

Mule cocktails traditionally feature vodka (or another kind of spirit), lime juice and ginger beer, but it can also contain other flavors with the addition of other juices and simple syrup.

This holiday Moscow Mule is one of my favorite renditions, with sweet-tart cranberry juice and a pretty rosemary garnish. It’s so festive and perfect for holiday parties!

2022 update: This has one of my most popular recipes throughout the holiday season every year since I first posted it in 2014. I’m so glad you stumbled upon it! This year I updated this post with some more information on ingredients to buy, supplies you may need and more tips for making these delicious holiday cocktails.

cranberries and rosemary garnish on pink cocktails

Why you’ll love this recipe

The season for the Yule Mule is finally here! If you haven’t tried this cocktail yet, you are going to love it.

  • With flavors of cranberry and ginger, it’s sweet and spiced with tons of holiday flavor.
  • You can make it with vodka or your favorite spirit. Substitute bourbon, rum or gin or make it non-alcoholic!
  • It’s a crowd-favorite for parties. I’ll show you how to make one big batch!

What is a Yule Mule?

A Yule Mule is a holiday variation of the Moscow Mule.

A Moscow Mule cocktail is made with vodka, lime juice and ginger beer.

The Yule Mule has the added element of sweet and tart cranberries and their juice. It’s really just a Christmas Moscow mule. 

Honestly, it can be a Thanksgiving Moscow mule too! The cranberry juice makes it a perfect fit for this holiday.

I find this cocktail to be so light and refreshing and filled with holiday spirit! It is festive and bright, and your holiday celebrations need it. Promise.

two yule mules in glass and copper mugs

Ingredients

You’ll need to grab a few things from the grocery store to make these Yule Mules. I’ll go into more detail below, but here are a few tips on what to buy:

Alcohol: Vodka can be replaced with rum, bourbon or gin. It can also be omitted entirely. See the next section for more about what kind of vodka to get.

Lime juice: I recommend juicing limes for the freshest flavor. Use a citrus squeezer (affiliate link) if you are just making a couple. If you’re planning to make a lot, see if your grocery store sells fresh-pressed lime juice.

Cranberry juice: Make sure to get 100% cranberry juice. Avoid getting cranberry juice cocktail because it has added sugar and can make this cocktail overly sweet.

Ginger beer: Ginger beer is non-alcoholic and can have a strong spiced ginger flavor. I recommend a mild to medium spice level for this cocktail (see the section Best Ginger Beer for Moscow Mules below).

two fresh cranberries on top of a yule mule

Alcohol for a Yule Mule

Vodka is the traditional spirit for a Moscow mule, so that’s what I chose for this holiday mule cocktail.

If you need help picking out a bottle of vodka for your home bar, look no further than this vodka guide that lists all my favorite brands. My go-to brands are Tito’s, Reyka and Absolut.

Mules are very versatile and work with just about any spirit, so feel free to choose bourbon, gin or rum when you’re making this Christmas mule. I’d love to hear what your favorite is!

My homemade spiced rum would be fantastic in this cocktail, too!

a bottle of bundaberg ginger beer with a piece of ginger root and a lime

Best Ginger Beer for Moscow Mules

To make a Yule Mule, pick up some limes, cranberries, cranberry juice, vodka and a spicy, non-alcoholic ginger beer.

“But which ginger beer?” you ask.

Well, in my opinion, the best ginger beer for Moscow mules is a spicy one — the spicier the better! Not spicy like peppers, but spicy like ginger.

I tried a ton of ginger beers and ranked them by how spicy they are. If you are curious about ginger beer, you need to check out this list of the best ginger beers!

One of my favorites is Blenheim’s, which I can usually find on the shelves of specialty grocery stores.

You can also use a ginger simple syrup to tailor the flavor to your liking and use club soda for the bubbles.

If you can’t find either of those, I also really like both Reed’s and Bundaberg

Ginger ale will work in a pinch, but it can be super sweet and it lacks the spicy punch of ginger beer that I love in this drink

a piece of rosemary garnishing a christmas Moscow mule

How to Garnish a Yule Mule

A pop of green is important for that Christmas look.

Pick up some fresh rosemary — or trim some from your cocktail herb garden! (Maybe your rosemary bush exploded like mine did this year. I’ll be making Yule Mules ’til I fully trim it down!)

You’ll also want to grab some fresh cranberries for a pop of red. 

You can make a batch of sugared cranberries for an extra special touch! They make the prettiest garnish.

a gold bowl of sugared cranberries with a gold spoon

Holiday Moscow Mules for a Party

Yule Mules would be a cinch to whip up en masse for a holiday party. Everyone will rave about your Christmas Moscow Mules! 

To prepare your Yule Mule mix for your holiday party, just make a big batch of the cranberry/lime/vodka base.

You can either top each glass with ginger beer right before you serve the drinks or add it to the pitcher (or punch bowl) just before the party begins.

Set up a bowl of cranberries and rosemary sprigs to garnish drinks with quickly and easily.

Here is a basic recipe to follow that makes ~8 cocktails:

  • 2 cups vodka
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (about 6 limes)
  • 2 cups unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 3 cups ginger beer
a copper mug with a cranberry mule over ice

Non-alcoholic Moscow Mules

Need a mocktail version of the Yule Mule for any non-drinkers or kids? There are two main ways to make a Virgin Moscow Mule.

You can cut the vodka entirely and have a drink that’s non-alcoholic but still delicious. (Ginger beer is non-alcoholic!)

Another idea is to use non-alcoholic spirits. Yes, that’s a thing! Ritual Zero Proof alcohol is a brand I really like. You can even buy them online since they don’t contain alcohol! (But they taste as if they do.)

Their gin alternative is fantastic in the Yule Mule because it has those juniper and pine flavors that taste like Christmas, but you can also try the whiskey alternative or the rum alternative. Any of them would be delicious in this cocktail!

two yule mules in metallic mugs

Moscow mule mugs

Not having a holiday party this year? Not to worry — Yule Mules are just as perfect to sip on with a smaller crowd, too.

Serve these holiday mules in a copper mule mug if you have one, but an old-fashioned glass will do just fine.

I picked up the glasses in these pictures at a vintage shop in Arizona, but I found some copper and glass mugs that are pretty similar. These copper stemless wine glasses are pretty festive too!

If you are looking for some other holiday mule recipes to make in your cute mugs, scroll to the section below called “Holiday Moscow Mules.”

Variations and substitutions

There are tons of ways you can make this cocktail your own! Here a few ideas to consider:

  • Yule Mule Mocktails: Use a zero-proof spirit in lieu of vodka or omit it entirely for a non-alcoholic version.
  • Frozen Yule Mules: Freeze your ginger beer into ice cubes, then throw them with the other ingredients in a blender. Follow this tutorial for Frozen Moscow Mules.
  • Sugar-free Yule Mules: Use a sugar-free ginger beer such as Zevia. And be sure your cranberry juice is has no sugar added as well.
two ruby-red cranberries on top of a pink cocktail

More holiday Moscow Mules

More holiday cocktails

If you’re looking for more Thanksgiving cocktails and Christmas Cocktails, consider one of these ideas.

Featuring tequila, Christmas Margaritas are another cranberry cocktail for a crowd.

Cinnamon White Russians make a great nightcap after dinner.

For a party, you can even set up a Christmas Tree Mimosa Bar for guests to pour their own flavorful bubbly cocktails.

You could also serve this Christmas Spa Water — it’s a showstopping centerpiece for your holiday party’s drinks table! 

All this talk about cocktails and I might just make us a batch of Yule Mules to kick off our holiday season! Hope your weekend is grand, my friends.

Let me know if you try this recipe! I would love it if you would leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review or comment below to tell me how it goes.

Based on the traditional Moscow Mule, the Yule Mule is a holiday cocktail featuring ginger beer and cranberry juice. Garnish it with rosemary and fresh cranberries for a cocktail that tastes just like Christmas! (via feastandwest.com)

Yule Mule

Yield: 2 cocktails
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A festive, red and green holiday cocktail with ginger beer, cranberry, vodka and rosemary.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces vodka
  • 1.5 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 4 ounces unsweetened cranberry juice (see note)
  • 6 ounces ginger beer
  • 4 to 6 cranberries, for garnish
  • rosemary sprig, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake together the vodka, lime juice and cranberry juice.
  2. Fill two copper mule mugs or old-fashioned glasses with ice. Strain half of the cocktail into each glass.
  3. Top each glass with ginger beer. Garnish with cranberries and a sprig of rosemary. Serve immediately.

Notes

I prefer to use cranberry juice that has no added sugars. You may use cranberry juice cocktail if you wish, but I find it to be too sweet for most drinks. Cranberries are naturally sweet and tart, and there is sugar in the ginger beer to make this drink sweet on its own.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 362Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 15mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 12gSugar: 34gProtein: 2g

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Video by Chris Henry Co.

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Comments

  1. Erika says

    My husband and I made these because we had all the ingredients on hand and they are AWESOME! Thanks for the recipe! We’ve been super into ginger beer recently, too.

    • Susannah says

      Yes, I 100% think you can do that! That would be so delicious and still perfectly “holiday.” Do it and let me know how it turns out! Thanks so much for the comment, Carmen!

    • Susannah says

      Hey Erin! Great question. Typically ginger beer is considered to be non-alcoholic, like root beer. There are some alcoholic ginger beer brands out there, but I think they’re newer to the market. I’ve never tried them in the Yule Mule (or any other mule variation) but my guess is with the added vodka, it will be a bit boozier. I’d love to know what you think if you try it!

    • Susannah says

      Hey Ashley! I love this idea, and it’s totally possible! What I would do is make a “base” of the vodka, lime and cranberry and then top off each person’s drink with ginger beer (so it doesn’t go flat throughout the party). You could also omit the vodka in the base if you have some non-drinkers, and just add 2 ounces to anyone’s glass that wants it.

      Here’s the recipe I would follow if you want to make this for a crowd. It will make 10 drinks:

      Ingredients:

      • 2.5 cups vodka
        1 cup lime juice (about 10 limes — or use concentrate!)
        2.5 cups unsweetened cranberry juice
        3-4 cups (~30 fl. oz.) ginger beer
        40 cranberries, for garnish
        10 rosemary sprigs, for garnish
    • Instructions:

      1. Mix the vodka, lime juice and cranberry juice in a pitcher and stir to combine.
        Fill 10 glasses with ice, then add about a 1/2 cup of the mixture to each glass.
        Top with ginger beer. Garnish each glass with 3-4 cranberries and a sprig of rosemary.
  2. CONNIE BAILEY says

    I don’t know if you’ve tried it, but Goya ginger beer has the most ginger kick of any I’ve tried. Much stronger than any of the brands mentioned in your post. Cheers!

  3. Jayme says

    I’ve thought Moscow Mules were so fun based on pictures, and I wanted to try some new holiday drinks. I made these for a little get together and everyone loved them!

    • Susannah says

      Hey Jason! You can absolutely substitute gin. I have tried it and this cocktail brings out the herbal notes for sure. It’s definitely extra Christmasy when you use gin!

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