A Christmas Cocktail: The Cool Yule Mule

Christmas Cocktails Recipe For A Crowd | Red Wine, Ginger Beer, Vodka | Rosemary, Orange, Cranberry
You've heard of A Christmas Carol. Well this is A Christmas Cocktail! With flavors of cranberry, rosemary, orange, and spicy ginger, this sparkling Christmas cocktail will fill you with Holiday spirit (and spirits). No bah-humbugs here.

Okay, okay, so this drink isn’t exactly a take on the Moscow Mule–

I’ve replaced vodka with wine and the lime juice with orange juice, but the ginger beer remains!
While I love a good Moscow Mule, this Christmas Cocktail delivers a festive palette of flavors with a softer edge for your holiday cheer. (I’ve had my share of Moscow Mule hangovers- vodka and I do not get along. But me and wine are best buds!)

This recipe calls for alcoholic ginger beer, but alternatively, you could use non-alcoholic ginger beer along with a shot of vodka for extra oomph.

Christmas Cocktails Recipe For A Crowd | Red Wine, Ginger Beer, Vodka | Rosemary, Orange, Cranberry

Admittedly I’m a bit of a rube when it comes to making cocktails, but luckily this one is pretty straight forward.

You’re more than welcome to tinker with the balance of flavors. Perhaps a bit more ginger beer if you prefer more sparkle, maybe no seltzer at all if you prefer a bit more booze. Or, if a less boozy holiday is your jam, non-alcoholic ginger beer may be substituted, but your drink may be considerably sweeter. If you want all the booze AND more sweetness, used ginger ale in place of sparkling water. So many great options! So, pull up a copper mug, and get to sipping! You’re gonna have a holly jolly good time.

Cranberry Simple Syrup

Our Christmas cocktail begins with a cranberry simple syrup… that’s simple!
You can make simple syrup with almost anything– herbs, fruits, or spices.

Just add sugar and water and boil. It’s such an easy (and cheap) way to add nuanced flavors to your cocktails or desserts. Plus, the syrup can be frozen for later use. Supposedly you can refrigerate simple syrup for up to two weeks, but I think freezing is a safer route if you’ve got room in the icebox.

holiday cocktail garnish

I tried to incorporate as many seasonal flavors as I could into this simple syrup without going overboard. (Wait- did I go overboard? Lol JK ’tis the season of indulgence.)

It took forever to decide on the flavor profile of the syrup because there are so many great Christmassy flavors to choose from! Cranberry, rosemary, and orange made the final cut. Alongside the pinot noir and ginger beer, the flavor of the syrup is pleasantly subtle. It plays well with others. And, it isn’t very sweet, which I personally adore. For me, sugary drinks, (while delicious), are just a headache waiting to happen.

This cocktail isn’t sweet, and it’s so smooth that you won’t realize it isn’t just delicious juice. Drink slowly or you’ll be lit more brightly than your Christmas tree.

cranberry simple syrup

cranberry syrupJust look at that color! 

Making Christmas Cocktail Magic

Once the cranberry syrup has cooled, it’s time for magic making.

orange and wine

ginger beerNow, because the ginger beer and seltzer will go flat if left out, not everything can be mixed ahead. But you can get halfway there. Combine the wine, syrup, and fresh squeezed navel orange juice in a carafe or pitcher and refrigerate.

When you’re ready for a drink, measure out ¾ cup of the wine mixture, ½ cup ginger beer, and ⅓ cup sparkling water, and pour over crushed ice.
The copper mug will stay nice and frosty while you sip, plus it’s got a handy handle to keep your hands from getting chilly.

Christmas Cocktails Recipe For A Crowd | Red Wine, Ginger Beer, Vodka | Rosemary, Orange, Cranberry

Garnish your masterpiece with a skewer of sugared cranberries (recipe below), candied ginger, a twist of orange, and a sprig of rosemary for a presentation that’s sure to make your heart grow two sizes that day.

Cool Yule Mule

Servings: 4


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 one inch strips navel orange peel
  • Juice of 1 navel orange
  • 1.5 cups cranberries (about 6 oz)
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 bottle pinot noir
  • 2 bottles Crabbie’s alcoholic ginger beer
  • 1 bottle sparkling water (about 32oz)
  • Crushed ice
  • (Sugared cranberries, strips of orange peel, and additional rosemary sprigs for garnishing)


  • Place 1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) frozen or fresh cranberries, 1 cup water, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, strips of orange peel, and sprigs of rosemary in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until cranberries have burst, about 15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the syrup in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • In a pitcher, combine the bottle of pinot noir, juice of 1 navel orange, and 6-8 tbsp of simple syrup according to your taste. Stir well.
  • In a copper mug, pour 3/4 cup of the wine mixture over 1/3 crushed ice. Top with 1/2 cup ginger beer and 1/3 cup sparkling water. Garnish with sugared cranberry skewers, twist of orange, and a sprig of rosemary.

Sugared Cranberries

Course: cocktails, dessert + sweets


  • 1.5 cups cranberries rinsed and sorted
  • 1/4 cup pasteurized egg white
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)


  • Prepare a wire rack or a sheet of parchment on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until lightly frothy. In a separate medium bowl whisk together the sugar and cinnamon (if using.) Add the cranberries to the bowl with the egg whites and toss to coat. Move the cranberries to the bowl with the sugar and gently toss. Transfer to the rack or parchment and leave to dry uncovered at room temperature for two hours. Use as garnish or eat on their own!

Christmas Cocktails Recipe For A Crowd | Red Wine, Ginger Beer, Vodka | Rosemary, Orange, Cranberry

There you have it! A new Christmas Cocktail to add to your holiday artillery.

Wrapping presents? Baking cookies? Christmas eve dinner? Secret Santa party? Cool Yule Mule’s got your back.

Happy sipping! 

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