The Speckled Palate

November 9, 2015

Cranberry Mule

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The Cranberry Mule is a fun take on the more traditional Moscow Mule. Perfect as a Thanksgiving or autumnal cocktail, this drink calls for cranberry, ginger beer and spiced rum, then is topped with sugared cranberries as garnish. Makes 1 drink.

Three Cranberry Mules are served on a white platter

I drank my first Moscow Mule when I was on a photo assignment in Baton Rouge, visiting a hole-in-the-wall bar that offered entirely too many fun cocktails. I don’t drink while working (because duh), but after I was done, the owner insisted I try something. 

When I asked what he recommended, he said, “The Moscow Mule.”

And so I was introduced to one of my favorite cocktails.

Fast forward a year or two later, and I was in New Orleans having lunch with a friend at Sylvain. We spotted Mules on the menu and made the executive decision: we were having a cocktail lunch. (Duh.)

When we mentioned these cocktails to our waiter, he asked if we like gin, and we said we did. 

So then he suggested getting the Moscow Mule with gin instead of vodka. And it was delightful (and a nice surprise–who knew you could make a mule with something other than vodka?)

When I was thinking about drinks to make for Blogsgiving Dinner, I knew I wanted to highlight cranberries and realized it would be really fun to do a Thanksgiving take on the classic Moscow Mule.

So I began tinkering, keeping ginger beer and adding unsweetened cranberry juice, simple syrup and spiced rum. (Because spiced rum and cranberries pair marvelously.)

Then I made sugared cranberries as a garnish because my pal, Ashley, made some gorgeous spiced ones that I used as inspiration for our garnish.

And so the Thanksgiving Spiced Cranberry Mule came into being.

Other Mules we adore: Strawberry Moscow MuleApple Pie Moscow MulePeach Moscow MuleGingerbread MuleGinger Pomegranate Mules

Whole cranberries are shown in a blue colander on a white background

What do I need to make Cranberry Mules and Sugared Cranberries?

Disclaimer: The links below are affiliate links. If you click through and take action, I will receive a small commission. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about the affiliate programs The Speckled Palate participates in. 

Sugar-glazed cranberries sit on a cooling rack before being tossed in sugar to make sugared cranberries

How to Make Sugared Cranberries

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and place a wire cooling rack on top. Set these aside for later.

Add the simple syrup to a large bowl, and toss the cranberries in it. 

When all the cranberries have been coated, remove them from the simple syrup, and place on the prepared cooling rack.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until the berries are sticky. (The simple syrup firms up in the refrigerator, which is why we do this step.)

Once the berries are sticky, measure the sugar into another large bowl, and toss the cranberries in the sugar until coated. Transfer ’em back to the cooling rack.

Refrigerate the cranberries for an additional hour before using, then enjoy!

How to Make a Cranberry Mule

Place a handful of ice in a copper mug (or in a regular glass–your call!)

In a cocktail shaker, measure out the cranberry juice, ginger beer, rum and simple syrup. Add a scoop of ice to the shaker, too. Shake until combined.

Pour the icy cold cocktail over the ice in your prepared mug or glass.

Garnish with sugared cranberries (or regular cranberries if you don’t want to go the sugared route!), and enjoy immediately.

Sugared cranberries dry on a metal cooling rack

How to Make Large Batch Cranberry Mules in a Pitcher!

What’s more fun than mixing up Cranberry Mules for yourself? Making Large Batch Spiced Cranberry Mules for a crowd!

In a large (at least 2 ½ quarts!) glass pitcher, combine the following:

  • 16 oz. unsweetened cranberry juice (do NOT use cranberry cocktail)
  • 24 oz. ginger beer
  • 12 oz. spiced rum
  • 8 oz. simple syrup

Stir with a long cocktail spoon (or a wooden spoon if you don’t have a cocktail spoon long enough.) Add ice or frozen cranberries to keep it cool, and serve.

This makes 8 servings. If your pitcher is larger, you can certainly make 10-12 servings. Just make sure that you leave enough space to add ice or frozen cranberries at the end to keep it cool!

Three Cranberry Mules are served on a white platter, shown from above

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make simple syrup? Can I purchase it in stores?

Simple syrup is incredibly simple to make, but you can absolutely purchase it in stores if you don’t have time to make it yourself. (This Stirrings simple syrup is my favorite.)

If you want to make it at home, here’s how you do it: Combine 1 cup of water and 1 cup of granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar completely dissolves in the water. Remove from the heat, and let cool, then store in a mason jar in the refrigerator for up for a few weeks. 

You can easily double, triple or even half the recipe for simple syrup. It just depends on how much you’ll need to make, and it’s easier to make it in a large batch instead of several small batches.

What ginger beer do you prefer to use?

Fever-Tree is my all-time favorite ginger beer because it offers awesome spice without too much sweetness.

What is the difference between cranberry cocktail and cranberry juice?

Cranberry cocktail is a sweetened blend of juices while cranberry juice should be 100% unsweetened cranberry juice.

I’ve had good luck finding unsweetened cranberry juice on the shelf-stable juice aisle at stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts, but I know others carry it, too. If you’re having trouble finding it at your grocery, I would ask someone who works there and see if they can help direct you to it.

You can also purchase larger quantities of it online.

Close up of three Cranberry Mules, shown on a white serving platter

Can I use frozen cranberries to make the sugared cranberries?

Yes! Let them thaw a bit before following the instructions.

While they might not hold their shape as well as the fresh ones, they will definitely serve well as a garnish.

You could also use frozen cranberries instead of ice to keep your mule cool!

What happens if I don’t have mule mugs to serve these in?

The Moscow Mule police are called. 😉 Kidding.

I’ve made several mules over the years that I didn’t serve in mule mugs. While the copper mugs will keep the drinks insulated and chilly for an extended period of time, you don’t have to have them to serve a mule. Promise.

Overhead image of three Cranberry Mules on a white serving platter

Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips and Tricks

  • Make the sugared cranberries 1-3 days in advance. After they’ve been refrigerated for the second time, they’re significantly less sticky and can be stored in a food storage container in the fridge.
  • Purchase your ingredients in advance. There’s nothing more stressful than hosting friends or a party and realizing at the last minute that you’re missing an important ingredient.
  • Since these drinks can’t be made in advance, have your tools and ingredients ready to go when guests arrive. You can easily mix ’em up one by one (unless you’re making a batch of mules, in which case, do that earlier!)
  • Make a Mule Pitcher, recipe listed above, 1-2 hours in advance of the party. Don’t add the ice, and pop it in the fridge until it’s go time, then let guests serve themselves and add ice to their mugs from an ice basket on your bar.

Blogsgiving Dinner Banner, 2015

Thanksgiving is all about family, friends and delicious food. Luckily, the food blogging community is all about these things, as well. To celebrate the holiday, Meghan from Cake ‘n Knife and Susannah from Feast + West are hosting Blogsgiving Dinner. And this year, there are more than 60 blogs sharing recipes this week!

The idea is based on an old-fashioned potluck dinner party.

Each blogger is bringing one or more dishes to the party, so be sure to stop by each one and get some ideas for your own Thanksgiving meal. We’ll be posting to social media with the hashtag #blogsgivingdinner, but you can see all the whole menu in Part 1 and Part 2 of the recipe round-up.

Pinterest image for Cranberry Mules, featuring a close-up overhead shot of the drink in copper mugs, garnished with sugared cranberries

What do these Moscow Mules pair well with for a party?

Now, who’s ready for a cocktail?

Here’s how you can mix one up:

Cranberry Mule
Yield: 1 cocktail

Cranberry Mule

Prep Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

The Cranberry Mule is a fun take on the more traditional Moscow Mule. Perfect as a Thanksgiving cocktail, this drink calls for cranberry, ginger beer and spiced rum, then is topped with sugared cranberries as garnish.

Ingredients

Sugared Cranberries (for garnishing)

  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup simple syrup
  • ½ cup granulated sugar

Cranberry Mule

  • 2 oz. unsweetened cranberry juice (do NOT use cranberry cocktail)
  • 3 oz. ginger beer
  • 1 ½ oz. spiced rum
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • Ice, for serving

Instructions

Make the Sugared Cranberries (Optional)

  1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire cooling rack on top of the lined baking sheet, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, measure in the simple syrup.
  3. Toss the cranberries in the simple syrup, removing them with a slotted spoon, then place on the wire cooling rack.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until the berries are sticky.
  5. When the berries are sticky, measure the sugar into a large bowl.
  6. Toss the cranberries in the sugar until coated, then transfer back to the wire cooling rack.
  7. Coat all the cranberries, then refrigerate for an additional hour before using.

Make the Cranberry Mules

  1. Place a handful of ice in a copper mug.
  2. Combine the cranberry juice, ginger beer, rum and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.
  3. Shake until combined, then pour over ice.
  4. Serve with sugared cranberries as garnish, and enjoy immediately.

Notes

Please note the prep time includes the total making of the sugared cranberries. The drink takes less than 5 minute to make when all is said and done.

How to Make Large Batch Cranberry Mules in a Pitcher!

In a large (at least 2 ½ quarts!) glass pitcher, combine the following:

  • 16 oz. unsweetened cranberry juice (do NOT use cranberry cocktail)
  • 24 oz. ginger beer
  • 12 oz. spiced rum
  • 8 oz. simple syrup

Stir with a long cocktail spoon (or a wooden spoon if you don't have a cocktail spoon long enough.) Add ice or frozen cranberries to keep it cool, and serve.

This makes 8 servings. If your pitcher is larger, you can certainly make 10-12 servings. Just make sure that you leave enough space to add ice or frozen cranberries at the end to keep it cool!

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

1

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 229 Sodium: 23mg Carbohydrates: 35g Sugar: 35g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

Have you tried this Cranberry Mule? If so, be sure to leave a comment below to let me know what you thought, as well as a star rating!

This Cranberry Mule post was originally published November 9, 2015. The text was updated on September 23, 2019. A video was added October 19, 2019.


28 Comments

  1. Elly Leavitt

    Not usually one for gin, but I love anything with spiced rum. It’s so perfect for the colder seasons! Will have to give this a try xx

  2. Sybil

    LOVE Moscow Mules so I know I will be into these! Can’t wait to try 🙂

  3. Jenna @ A Savory Feast

    This is my kind of holiday cocktail! I tried a moscow mule awhile back and they are so good! I love how many different flavor combinations you can make with them. This one is perfect for the holidays! I’ve been wanting to buy some of the copper mugs so I can make them at home.

  4. Lily @GastroSenses

    Oh, how gorgeous looking! I think I might know what’s happening with my bag of cranberries now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Sasha

    This looks great! Can’t wait to try it!

  6. Ashley

    One, this drinks sounds fantastic! Two, yay sugared cranberries!! 🙂 And three, those glasses are awesomeeee.

  7. Pippa Clark

    I’ve never tried this cocktail before but it looks very good. I’m going to make it for my girlfriends on Saturday night.

  8. Sam ~ it doesn't taste like chicken

    WOW! Those are gorgeous!!! The sugared cranberries are so festive! I will be making these this holiday season for sure. Thanks for the beautiful post. 🙂

  9. Elizabeth @ Bowl of Delicious!

    This looks AMAZING! My husband has been looking for a good cocktail to make for Thanksgiving and I’m definitely going to send this to him with a strong hint to make this 🙂

  10. Mary Cressler

    This is brilliant! I love it. And those cups!!! I have to get some.

  11. Kathryn @ The Scratch Artist

    I’ve never had a Moscow Mule, but now you have intrigued me. I love your copper glasses. Stunning photos

  12. Amy | Club Narwhal

    Erin, these mules are SO crazy beautiful–love those sugared cranberries 😉

  13. Jenna

    Girrrrl, this looks amazing! I bought some moscow mule mugs last year and have only used them once. I am definitely going to try this recipe asap!

  14. Lauren

    Making these for a ‘signature cocktail’ for a wedding reception tomorrow and doing the cranberries ahead of time. Do you think it’d be okay to store the cranberries in a zip lock overnight? Thanks for the great idea – we love it!

    • Erin

      Hey Lauren! I think you can definitely store the cranberries in a zip lock overnight. Make sure they’re completely dried, though, because any condensation in the bag will make them somewhat sticky. Another idea would be to store them on the baking sheet/wire rack overnight covered in plastic wrap. You could even put them on toothpicks and prepare the garnish so you don’t have to do it tomorrow. Have fun, and good luck!

  15. zach

    Have you considered using the name Moscow Yule?

    • Erin

      I have not, Zach, but that is BRILLIANT! Well done, sir!

  16. Mikayla Tencer

    Hi, I tried this recipe and it was delicious! I hope you don’t mind I am sharing it on my blog, wandertobeauty.com and am giving you full credit for the recipe!

    • Mikayla Tencer

      Sorry I meant to say, I’m directing people to your blog for the recipe. The actual recipe won’t be on mine, just a shout out to your page and the delicious holiday mule!

    • Erin

      Hey Mikayla! I’m so happy you thought the mule was delicious and am perfectly fine with you linking to it on your blog! (I knew what you meant and saw your follow-up comment, and I appreciate you letting me know!) I hope you had a wonderful holiday and got to enjoy a few more of these beauties!

  17. Chrysie Ready

    Made this for Christmas in a 2 gallon beverage dispenser. I infused with cranberries and lime slices in the dispenser. Each cup was decorated with a wedge of lime and a few loose cranberries for presentation. It was a huge hit!

    • Erin

      Chrysie, that sounds BRILLIANT! What a festive and fun way to serve this cocktail to a crowd! I love the sound of that and am so happy that these mules were a big hit at your Christmas celebration! Cheers to you and to the new year and for leaving a comment that made my day! Thank you. 🙂

  18. Dayna

    For a delicious mule try Bubba’s bourbon. It’s warmed with vanilla & spices. Regular bourbon also works well & is referred to as a Kentucky mule.

    • Erin

      Oh, this sounds delicious! I’ve never tried a Kentucky Mule, but since I’m a big bourbon fan, I bet I would love it! Thanks for the tip, Dayna.

  19. Ashley

    I’ve never had these before, but they look like something I need to try!

    • Erin

      You absolutely should give these a try, Ashley! If you like cranberries and rum and ginger, this is the PERFECT wintertime drink!

  20. Kayla

    Looks so good!! Making them for friendsgiving tomorrow! What kind of rum do you usually use?

    • Erin

      Hi Kayla! We keep Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum in our house, but any spiced rum that you enjoy drinking and that tastes good works here!

      I hope that this turns out for you at Friendsgiving, and I look forward to hearing about it!

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