Based on the traditional Moscow Mule, the Yule Mule is a holiday Moscow Mule cocktail featuring ginger beer and cranberries. Tastes just like Christmas!
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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.
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.
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.
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 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).
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.
My homemade spiced rum would be fantastic in this cocktail, too!
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.
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
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.
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
- plus fresh cranberries and rosemary for garnishes.
If you want to make more drinks, download my handy guide below!
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!
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.
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.
More holiday Moscow Mules
- Pumpkin Spice Mule
- Apple Cider Mule
- Pear Moscow Mule
- Applejack Moscow Mule
- Gin-Gin Moscow Mule
- Czech Mule
- Candy Cane Moscow Mules
More holiday cocktails
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.
Smooth and clean, New Amsterdam Vodka is a great budget buy that tastes great straight or mixed in a cocktail.
Tito's is a fan-favorite, a smooth and delicate vodka that blends easily into cocktails.
Grey Goose is beloved for its clean yet slightly peppery flavor. It works well in savory drinks like martinis and Bloody Marys as well as sweet drinks.
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- 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
- In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake together the vodka, lime juice and cranberry juice.
- Fill two copper mule mugs or old-fashioned glasses with ice. Strain half of the cocktail into each glass.
- Top each glass with ginger beer. Garnish with cranberries and a sprig of rosemary. Serve immediately.
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amount per serving:
Video by Chris Henry Co.