Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Vodka Cocktails

Apple Cranberry Moscow Mule

A copper mug with a handle and hammered finish sits on a blank, blue backdrop. The mug is filled with ice, and garnished with fresh ripe cranberries and a slice of green apple. / Tim Nusog

Unlike the majority of classic drinks, the Moscow Mule has a somewhat transparent history. Reportedly, in 1941 one John Martin—the president of a liquor production company that acquired the Smirnoff brand—partnered with bar owner Jack Morgan to create a drink that would sell Martin’s newly acquired vodka as well as Morgan’s backlog of Cock ‘N Bull ginger beer. And so the Moscow Mule was born.

Of course, this narrative is likely reductionist and perhaps omits other figures, but what is clear is that the drink was popularized in the early 1940s in order to sell vodka to the American market—and the Moscow Mule very much did that. It’s no surprise that the Moscow Mule remains one of the most popular cocktails of the last 20 years: It’s easy to make and easy to drink and is often served in a special copper mug. Its effortless execution means the drink lends itself well to tweaks and variations, as with the Apple Cranberry Moscow Mule.

This autumn-inspired recipe is straightforward, pairing cranberry-apple and lime juices with the usual vodka and ginger beer. And while this mule variation might evoke fall flavors, it’s a pleasure year-round. One of the best elements of a mule is the flexibility of each ingredient; while you can always hew traditional by using Smirnoff and Cock ‘N Bull ginger beer, you can also veer into fresh territory, using whatever vodka you prefer along with your favorite ginger beer. Keep in mind, though, that swapping ginger ale for the ginger beer will remove some of the signature spice from the drink and likely make it sweeter.

Don’t have copper (or tin) mugs? It’s acceptable to use a highball or large rocks glass instead. Along with fresh fruit garnishes, it will still be a visual stunner even without the iconic vessel—and it won’t taste different, at all.


Click Play to See This Apple Cranberry Moscow Mule Come Together


  • 2 ounces vodka

  • 1 ounce cran-apple juice

  • 1/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • Ginger beer, chilled, to top

  • Garnish: apple slice

  • Garnish: cranberries


  1. Pour the vodka, cran-apple juice and lime juice into a mule mug, highball glass or rocks glass filled with ice, and stir briefly to combine.

  2. Top with ginger beer.

  3. Garnish with an apple slice and fresh cranberries.