Have a cup of cheer in the form of a Gingerbread Mule. This easy holiday cocktail is made with absinthe, ginger beer and lime juice, and features a festive, edible garnish.
When it comes to holiday foods, there is nothing more special than the taste of gingerbread.
Filled with warm spices, its flavors bring nostalgia for making cookies or gingerbread houses.
For me, gingerbread also brings back memories of our honeymoon in Prague, where my husband and I enjoyed visiting gingerbread bakeries. We brought home pretty cookies for our family.
We also enjoyed looking at the elaborate gingerbread houses on display, especially their intricate icing and candy details. (They put my elementary school milk carton graham cracker houses to absolute shame.)
When in Prague, we also visited an absintherie, which had 100 absinthes available to taste plus 250 bottles in its museum.
Absintherie Jilská also has a bar and we couldn’t help but enjoy a mid-day absinthe cocktail. I mean, hey, we were on our honeymoon after all!
I enjoyed a gingerbread Moscow mule with absinthe, which I’ll never forget. It’s one I have enjoyed recreating every Christmas since, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you.
Gingerbread Moscow mule cocktail recipe
My gingerbread Moscow mule uses absinthe, ginger beer and lime juice to create a spin on the classic mule recipe. I also added a dash of cinnamon bitters to give it some extra holiday flair.
The best part of gingerbread are all its complex flavors within, which come out with the combination of absinthe and ginger beer.
The garnish on this Christmas Moscow mule is a piece of orange zest, a cucumber slice and a real ginger cookie.
I also added a sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper. While it’s totally optional, the black pepper gives one more bite of savory spice and balance.
What is a Moscow mule?
The Moscow mule is an alcoholic beverage that is traditionally made with vodka, lime juice and ginger beer. It’s an easy sipper that’s both thirst-quenching and light.
It is often served in a copper mug, but you don’t have to serve it in one if you don’t have one handy!
If you’re a mule lover, check out some of my favorite mugs. (Maybe a set is worth adding to your holiday wishlist?!)
But the best quality of the Moscow mule recipe is that it’s very versatile and can be made with myriad flavors and spirits.
The gingerbread mule recipe I’m sharing today is made with absinthe, which is a spirit that doesn’t get enough love in the cocktail world, in my opinion!
What is absinthe?
Absinthe is a neutral alcohol that’s distilled with botanicals such as anise, wormwood, fennel and other herbs and spices.
And no, absinthe doesn’t make you hallucinate! That’s a 19th-century myth about “the green fairy” that we can chuck out right now.
Absinthe was banned in the United States from 1912 to 2007 because of this misunderstanding, and now you should be able to find it in a liquor store near you.
With a flavor similar to black licorice, it pairs astonishingly well with the other flavors in this absinthe Moscow mule.
While this is not exactly a licorice mule, if the word “licorice” has your eyebrows raised, don’t fret. Though I am a licorice lover (black jellybeans, please!), my husband is not, and even he loves this cocktail!
Gingerbread has anise and clove flavors in its spice mix, which have a similar vibe to licorice, so absinthe is really a perfect fit.
The black pepper and ginger beer also step in to create that essential gingerbread flavor. The zing of the lime juice and the aroma of the orange zest and cucumber garnishes also add in some balance.
Alternatives to absinthe in a cocktail
If you can’t find absinthe, you can use another licorice-flavored spirit such as Pastis, Anisette or Pernod. Jagermeister is another one you can try.
Either would provide some of the spice flavors that star in gingerbread.
The gingerbread mule cocktail only calls for a few ingredients.
Absinthe: You should be able to find absinthe in your local liquor store. Check out this list of the best absinthe brands available in the United States.
Lime juice: Lime juice is crucial to the Moscow mule. Citrus adds an important zing that provides balance to the sweetness and spiciness of the ginger beer and absinthe.
For a fresher taste, use a fresh lime — one half a lime per cocktail. the store-bought stuff will work fine in a pinch though!
Ginger beer: Ginger beer is a fermented ginger soda and, even though it has the name “beer,” it is non-alcoholic. I taste-tested all the brands of ginger beer I could find and ranked them by spice level.
If you want to use ginger ale, feel free but your cocktail may be a bit on the sweeter side like this bourbon ginger ale cocktail.
Crushed ice: Ice is an important cocktail ingredient. For this one, I recommend crushed ice, but regular cubes will work just fine. Crushed ice keeps your copper mug ice cold.
Bitters: A dash of cassia bitters or cinnamon bitters will give the cocktail a hint more of gingerbread flavor.
Garnishes: We will top off this cocktail with a few showstopping garnishes:
- orange zest — Orange is a flavor of gingerbread and the aroma of the zest gives it an extra zesty bite. Use a vegetable peeler to get a long piece of orange zest. Roll it up into a tight bundle, and pinch one end to help it form a flower shape.
- cucumber slice — Garnishes can be more about aroma than food, similar to the orange zest. The scent of cool cucumber contrasts the gingerbread spices.
- black pepper — A sprinkle of freshly ground pepper is the ticket. A little extra spice goes a long way — but it’s totally optional!
- ginger cookie — Storebought or homemade gingerbread cookies make a great garnish.
How to make a gingerbread mule
You can pull off this Christmas cocktail in just a few steps.
First, take your copper mule mug and fill it with crushed ice.
Add the absinthe.
Add your lime juice. If you’re using a fresh lime, you can drop in the spent shell. The zest of the lime will add some more citrus bite as it infuses.
Lastly, top with ginger beer. Sprinkle with black pepper, and garnish with orange zest, a cucumber slice and/or a ginger cookie!
Holiday Moscow Mules
Moscow mules can be enjoyed year-round, but the ginger flavor makes them ideal for fall. Try these fall mule drinks this season:
- My favorite for the holidays is this Yule Mule with cranberry juice. You can also use pomegranate juice!
- I can’t get enough of my pumpkin spice mule this year. Made with pumpkin spice syrup, it’s such a good Thanksgiving mule.
- The applejack mule features apple brandy for a delicious apple ginger flavor. Or use bourbon and apple cider to make an apple cider Moscow mule that’s delightful to sip.
- The Irish mule is made with Irish whiskey to mix up the traditional vodka
- The caramel apple mule uses caramel vodka for a sweet twist.
I’d love to hear how you like this Gingerbread mule! Please leave a review or a comment below.
- 1 1/2 ounces absinthe (see note)
- 1 ounce lime juice (approx. 1/2 lime)
- 4 ounces ginger beer
- 4-inch piece of orange zest
- 2 cucumber slices
- 1 gingersnap cookie
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- To a mule mug or glass, fill to the top with crushed ice or ice cubes.
- Add the absinthe and lime juice. Top with ginger beer.
- Make a rosette with the orange zest by rolling it up tightly and pinching one end.
- Garnish with a orange zest rosette, cucumber slices and a gingersnap cookie.
- Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 245Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 47mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 2gSugar: 20gProtein: 1g