Cranberry Moscow Mule with Homemade Cranberry Simple Syrup

Cranberry Moscow Mule with Homemade Cranberry Simple Syrup. A refreshing fizzy ginger cranberry cocktail recipe! -

It’s funny how the preparations for Christmas feel like a car speeding toward a road barrier, screeching the tires in a feverish attempt to stop just in the nick of time.  I consider this year a success for though my gift wrapping did not start until early Christmas Eve morning, I was finished by noon leaving much of the day to enjoy time with my family.

Unlike those I noted sharing photos on Facebook of their children frolicking in summer clothing they’d dug out of stored boxes in the garage due to sweltering heat, we snuggled up indoors, playing games and watching movies as the mercury dropped and snow fell outside.  It was idyllic and what Christmas feels like it should be.

Cranberry Moscow Mule with Homemade Cranberry Simple Syrup. A refreshing fizzy ginger cranberry cocktail recipe! -

I wanted to share what we’ve been sipping over the holidays however with a warning: it may very well become your new favorite cocktail.  Cranberry Moscow Mules with Homemade Cranberry Simple Syrup. Fizzy, gingery with a light taste of lime and cranberry.  The ginger speaks to the season and adds a warmth to this on-the-rocks sipper.

I think my first real notice of a Moscow Mule cocktail was when watching Oprah.  She and her best friend Gayle had gone on a camping trip to Yosemite in California.  And unlike any camping trips I’d taken they brought all the ingredients, including the copper mugs, to make Moscow Mules, Oprah’s favorite cocktail at the time.

It’s a notable libation as the only cocktail I know of that is served in a copper vessel.  I was curious about the exotic history leading to this visually tell-tale drink.  Ironically it seems to have nothing to do with Moscow, or mules, but rather a deal struck in the 1940’s between a struggling vodka maker (purportedly newly acquired Smirnoff) and an equally challenged ginger beer maker who by chance met at a bar and struck a partnership to improve their company standings together.

Cranberry Moscow Mule with Homemade Cranberry Simple Syrup. A refreshing fizzy ginger cranberry cocktail recipe! -

The story forks here with one version claiming the two men asked the bartender’s help to create a cocktail featuring both their products.  The bartender is said to have come back with the now well-known cocktail in a copper mug.  A second version says a third party, a woman whose company made copper mugs, was part of the threesome, hence the copper mugs being woven into the creation.

However the cocktail was born, I’m glad it was.  It’s refreshing and easy to drink with a strong component of ginger beer (a non-alcoholic carbonated ginger drink).  Ginger also eases stomach distress which with the rich foods and often overeating at this time of year is a perk too.

I modified the traditional cocktail with some Homemade Cranberry Simple Syrup.  It adds a light cranberry flavor to the cocktail and can be used in other cocktails as well.

Cranberry Moscow Mule with Homemade Cranberry Simple Syrup. A refreshing fizzy ginger cranberry cocktail recipe! -

Cranberry Moscow Mule with Homemade Cranberry Simple Syrup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 cocktail (additional cocktails may be created keeping ingredient proportions that same) and 10 ounces Cranberry Simple Syrup

The traditional gingery Moscow Mule is changed up for the winter season with the addition of Homemade Cranberry Simple Syrup. The syrup is very simple to make and works beautifully in many cocktails. The recipe ingredients are for 1 cocktail but can be multiplied by the number of drinks needed keeping the proportions the same.


    Ingredients for Cranberry Simple Syrup:
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 ½ cups fresh Cranberries
  • Ingredients for a Cranberry Moscow Mule (per cocktail):
  • 1 ½ ounces unflavored Vodka
  • ½ ounce Lime Juice
  • 1 ounce Cranberry Simple Syrup
  • 4 ounces chilled Ginger Beer
  • Garnish: lime wedges


    Instructions for Cranberry Simple Syrup:
  1. Combine the sugar, water and cranberries in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Allow to simmer until the berries have popped (2-3 minutes) and remove from heat. Allow the mixture to full cool.
  3. Strain through a fine sieve and store the simple syrup sealed in the refrigerator.
  4. Instructions for Cranberry Moscow Mule:
  5. Combine the vodka and lime in a copper cup. Add 3-4 ice cubes, pour in the cranberry simple syrup and fill with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge.

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  1. says

    That’s so interesting!! I’ve been seen Moscow mules around the block recently and always wondered what’s the story. I love the addition of cranberry syrup!

    • says

      All of a sudden I am noticing them all over too! They are really refreshing and the strong ginger flavor makes them great at this time of year. So glad you came over to check it out!

  2. NancyB says

    The ginger beer is the hard one to find around here, have my husband doing the looking, since he was braving the cold anyway. 😉 Bundaberg is my favorite when I can find it.

    • says

      I bought a case of a Colorado made Ginger Beer this summer for a Pine Cocktail I made after visiting Estes Park for the weekend. I love it too. You could always default to Ginger Ale in a pinch though I don’t feel the taste is as strong.

  3. says

    This cocktail seems to offer the perfect blend of winter flavors and overall refreshment. I have never heard of ginger beer but would love to try one on its own along with using it in this recipe.

    • says

      A traditional Moscow Mule is ginger beer, lime juice and vodka. The ginger beer has a prominent flavor which really identifies the cocktail. You can always add more cranberry but since this is a simple syrup it risks over sweetening the cocktail I think. It’s well balanced and refreshing, I’d give it a try and see if it’s to your liking!

  4. says

    Moscow mules seem to be a popular drink choice these days, but your version sounds extra delicious. I’m sure guests would appreciate the homemade simple syrup with the extra cranberry flavor.

    • says

      I too am noticing all of a sudden they are everywhere! I’m sure the guys that thought of them in the 1940’s to boost their vodka and ginger beer sales would be thrilled. Just 3/4 century later than they hoped.

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