Moscow Mule Cookies

Moscow Mule Cookies turn the famous cocktail into a dessert that’s worth sharing. Soft ginger cookies made with real ginger and lime zest are topped with a tart vodka-lime brown sugar icing.

a stack of Moscow Mule Cookies on a marble background

The holidays are here! Cookie baking can commence!

Saturday, Dec. 4 was National Cookie Day, and this week is my friend Erin’s annual celebration of cookie recipes, The Sweetest Season (more on that below), so I’m excited to share a couple of recipes this year.

This year, in honor of my recent redesign and shift to sharing mainly cocktail content, I wanted to come up with a cookie recipe that’s based on a cocktail. A cookie I can serve at holiday parties and wow my friends.

There are so many directions I could have gone. Margarita cookies, mint julep cookies and White Russian cookies — you’ll all just have to wait because I came up with just the thing for this year:

Moscow Mule cookies!

Moscow Mule Cookies on a marble slab with a citrus reamer, ginger root, limes and a Moscow mule cocktail

Unlike classic gingerbread men, Moscow Mule Cookies are soft, chewy ginger cookies made with real ginger, lime zest and spices. They’re easy to make with layers of complex flavors.

On top is a layer of brown sugar frosting with hints of real, regular vodka and tart lime juice.

They resemble a classic Moscow mule cocktail, in edible form!

This recipe makes approximately 6 dozen cookies, so they would be perfect to include on a Christmas cookie tray for friends and neighbors.

What is a Moscow Mule?

A Moscow mule is a classic cocktail made with vodka, ginger beer and lime juice. It’s usually garnished with a lime wedge.

Ginger beer gives these fizzy drinks a spicy flavor, but it really depends on the brand you use. Ginger ale can be used too, but it’s more sweet than spicy.

The traditional Moscow mule recipe is traditionally served with ice cubes in a copper mug (affiliate link) to keep it cold, which makes it a truly refreshing drink for a hot summer day. But let’s be honest, I drink them year-round.

If you’re a mule lover, check out some of my favorite mugs. (Maybe a set is worth adding to your holiday wishlist?!)

The thing I love most about the mule cocktail is that it’s very adaptable and can be made with a number of flavors and spirits.

To mix up the spirits, you can simply substitute another alcohol for the vodka. Examples: The Irish mule is made with Irish whiskey and this Mexican mule is made with tequila.

To mix up the flavors, add in a little extra juice, like apple cider for the apple cider mule or grapefruit juice for a grapefruit mule.

a copper wire rack of Moscow Mule Cookies with limes and a mule cocktail

Ingredients

Like their simple cocktail namesake, this recipe for Moscow Mule Cookies is pretty easy, especially if you have made gingerbread before.

The cookie dough has all the usual basic ingredients, like flour, sugar, salt and baking soda.

The brown sugar icing is first cooked on the stove to make a caramel-like base that thickens the frosting. Then powdered sugar, vanilla extract, vodka, lime juice and a pinch of salt are added.

There are a few things out of the ordinary that you will want to pick up at the grocery store to make the best Moscow mule cookies.

Ginger root

Ginger beer is a key ingredient of a Moscow mule, so ginger needed to be #1 in these cookies. The spicier the better, in my opinion (but it all comes down to different kinds of ginger beer.)

I really wanted to emulate that spicy ginger beer flavor. I grated fresh ginger root with a microplane zester. You will need about a 3-inch piece of ginger root.

Though real ginger will provide the most spice and flavor, ground ginger will work just fine.

Molasses

It’s not gingerbread without molasses, the dark and sweet syrup that’s a byproduct of extracting sugar from sugarcane and sugar beets.

Also known as black treacle, molasses is what gives gingerbread its robust flavor and its moist consistency.

Cinnamon

This recipe also calls for a little bit of ground cinnamon (I love this flavorful royal cinnamon from iGourmet). This complements the ginger flavor but still lets the ginger shine.

Make sure you check your spices a couple of times a year. Those pesky expiration dates always sneak up on me! Fresh spices will have the strongest flavor.

Vodka

Yes, this recipe contains vodka! You can use any plain, unflavored vodka you have on hand.

Check out my vodka 101 guide for my favorite vodka brands. I usually have Tito’s or Smirnoff Vodka on hand.

Flavored vodka would work too, but be mindful of choosing flavors that go with lime and ginger, such as grapefruit, vanilla or spicy pepper vodka.

Like a mule cocktail, you can also substitute other alcohols. Use spiced rum to make them more like dark & stormy cookies or try bourbon to make them more like Kentucky mule cookies.

These cookies contain alcohol — can kids eat them?

That’s really up to you. This recipe contains 2 teaspoons of vodka in the icing.

Spread across 6 dozen cookies, that’s about 0.03 tablespoons, which is really negligible. This is similar to using vanilla extract, which is also alcoholic, in icing.

It’s mainly for a little bite of boozy flavor, but it certainly won’t get anyone tipsy. However, if you’d like to leave it out, you can substitute more lime juice or water instead.

If you’re looking for a kid-friendly gingerbread cookie, these homemade iced cardamom gingerbread cookies are one of my childhood favorites.

Limes

You will want to grab a real lime for this recipe and skip the bottled lime juice (though you can use it in a pinch).

In the cookie dough itself, the lime zest provides balance against the strong ginger flavor. (Honestly, thanks to the lime zest, the cookies taste like Moscow mules even without the frosting.)

You can use the same tool you used for the ginger root, such as a microplane or other zester.

Then, you can use the lime you zested to get the fresh lime juice for the frosting. The frosting is sweet and sour at once and, together with the cookies, they taste just like a Moscow mule.

If you pick up a few more limes, you can make a Moscow mule in a copper cup to go with your cookies!

Sprinkles

I used a mixture of light green sugar sprinkles and white sanding sugar to decorate my cookies. The green gives these cookies a little garnish of sorts.

Another idea is to make citrus sugar with lime zest and sprinkle it on top for some extra color and flavor.

Totally optional though! These cookies taste great with or without sprinkles.

Moscow mule cookies and a mule cocktail on a marble background

How to make Moscow Mule Cookies

To make these easy Moscow mule cookies, first make the dough and bake the cookies. Then we’ll frost them later!

Make the cookies

You can use a stand mixer or a hand mixer. I use a KitchenAid stand mixer, but I have my eye on one of these cordless hand mixers.

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat well. Then beat in the molasses, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.
  5. Stir in the lime zest until evenly distributed, then stir in the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Do not over-mix.
  6. Use a cookie scoop to drop tablespoons of cookie dough 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies return to their shape when touched lightly. Let cool for 1 minute before transferring to wire racks. Let cool completely before icing.

If you need to chill the dough, you can, but let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.

Make the icing

  1. Add the brown sugar, milk and butter to a large saucepan, then bring to a boil for 1 minute while stirring the mixture.
  2. Remove from the heat and cool for 3 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, lime juice, vodka, vanilla and salt. Whisk together until combined.
  3. If frosting is too runny, add 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar until you reach a thicker consistency.
  4. Frost cookies and immediately top with sprinkles — the frosting will harden quickly.

Then grab your Moscow mule mug (affiliate link) and start making your favorite drink to go with your cookies!

Variations

Mules are so versatile, and so are these cookies!

Try a Gin Mule Cookies with gin in the frosting instead of vodka.

For a fall version, you can use applejack in the cookie frosting to make them like an Applejack Mule.

Or make them like one of my most popular holiday drinks, the Yule Mule. Replace 1-2 teaspoons of lime juice with cranberry juice or pomegranate juice.

closeup of sprinkles on iced Moscow Mule Cookies on a wire rack

If you love cocktails as much as I do, I know you’d love some more boozy cookies to make for the holidays.

Bourbon chocolate chip cookies take the classic cookie and give them a little kick.

Butter Rum Shortbread Cookies are like a hot buttered rum in cookie form.

Peanut butter whiskey lovers will love some Crispy Bourbon Buckeyes to go with their Chocolate Peanut Butter Old-Fashioned Cocktails.

And you can never go wrong with the classic holiday cookie, Rum Balls, which are made with real rum.

The Sweetest Season Cookie Exchange is my good friend Erin’s annual virtual cookie swap.

Every year, she gets food bloggers together to share new holiday cookie recipes to make and give. I’ve participated for most of the years I’ve been blogging, which is really fun to think about!

Check out the LITERAL hundreds of cookie recipes for your holiday inspiration.

Cookies 4 Kids’ Cancer

And some good news: This year we’re raising money for Cookies 4 Kids’ Cancer, which is a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to funding research for new, innovative and less-toxic treatments for childhood cancer.

Since 2008, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer has granted nearly $17 million to pediatric cancer research in the form of 100+ research grants to leading pediatric cancer centers across the country. From these grants have stemmed 35+ treatments available to kids battling cancer today.

Isn’t that amazing?! If you’d like to donate, you can find our fundraising page here.

Also, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is in a matching window with their friends at OXO, who will be matching every dollar raised through the end of 2021, up to $100,000. Whatever money we raise will automatically double on our fundraising page!

Let me know if you end up making this recipe for holiday cookies! Leave a star rating or a comment below so I can know how it goes!

a stack of Moscow Mule Cookies on a marble background

Moscow Mule Cookies

Yield: 6 dozen
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Any cocktail lover will adore biting into a few Moscow Mule Cookies. These iced ginger cookies with brown sugar-lime frosting have a tiny kick of vodka to boot.

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 3 tablespoons grated ginger root (or 1 tablespoon ground ginger)

For the icing

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons vodka
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • sprinkles

Instructions

Cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. With either a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat well. Then beat in the molasses, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.
  5. Stir in the lime zest until evenly distributed, then stir in the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Do not over-mix.
  6. Use a cookie scoop to drop tablespoons of cookie dough 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies bounce back when touched lightly. Let cool for 1 minute before transferring to wire racks. Let cool completely before icing.
  8. Icing

  1. Add the brown sugar, milk and butter to a large saucepan, then bring to a boil for 1 minute while stirring the mixture.
  2. Remove from the heat and cool for 3 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, lime juice, vodka, vanilla and salt. Whisk together until combined.
  3. If frosting is too runny, add 1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar until you reach a thicker consistency.
  4. Frost cookies and immediately top with sprinkles — the frosting will harden quickly.

Notes

If you want to make the dough ahead of time, cover it with saran wrap and refrigerate. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 36 Serving Size: 2 cookies
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 238Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 113mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 1gSugar: 26gProtein: 2g

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Comments

  1. Erin says

    I am *obsessed* that you turned one of my favorite cocktails into a COOKIE. What a fun combination and what a celebration of mule flavors in a bite to eat. I simply cannot wait to bake them because I know they’ll be amazing.

    Thank you for participating in and helping me out with this year’s Sweetest Season Cookie Exchange! You are the BEST!

    • Susannah says

      Aw, thank you Erin! I’m so glad you think so and I can’t wait for you to try them. And of course! I’m so glad we pulled it off again this year. 🙂

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