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An apple cider Moscow mule is a nice, easy fall cocktail and a delicious twist on the classic. Great for Thanksgiving or any day.

an apple cider moscow mule in a copper mug, garnished with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick
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Why we love this recipe

An Apple Cider Moscow Mule would make a great start to your Thanksgiving celebration —or, hey, your average fall Tuesday night. This recipe:

  • Retains all the bright, tasty balance of the original cocktail
  • Adds a nice autumnal layer of apple-cinnamon goodness
  • Comes together right in the cup, so it couldn’t be easier
  • Or you can batch it in a pitcher for a party

Bonus: even though it’s vodka-based, this cocktail is nice and light — so Great Aunt Googlypuss can have one without passing out, and if Great Uncle Frankenschmutz starts acting like a jerk, it’s not the cocktail’s fault. 

I first published this recipe here back in 2017. I’ve since updated the post for clarity and made a few gentle tweaks to the recipe itself.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

cocktail ingredients
  • You can use your choice of vodka in this recipe, as long as it’s good-quality. Plain is fine, but it’s nice to amp up the fall flavors with an apple- and cinnamon-infused variety like the one pictured here, or cinnamon vodka.
  • Apple cider is a gently sweet, complex ingredient in its own right. I tend to grab whatever local, unfiltered cider I see in the shops in the fall. Use the rest to drink straight-up, make soup, and bake donuts.
  • Ginger beer is a nonalcoholic, ginger-flavored soft drink. It provides fizz, lightness, and tons of flavor to a Moscow mule. Choose a good one, because you’ll really taste it. I like Reed’s or Goslings.
  • A generous dose of freshly squeezed lime juice adds a welcome bright, tart dimension to this recipe.
  • Crushed ice is a fundamental part of the mule experience. Over time I’ve changed my method for making it — see details in the section below.

How to crush ice

If you’d like to crush your own ice rather than buying it, you’ve got a couple of options. I’ve come to really prefer the blender method.

  • If you don’t have a good blender, you can place regular ice cubes into a double layer of zip-top bags and bash them with a rolling pin until they’re nice and small. This method provides free therapy but doesn’t work quite as well for creating evenly crushed ice. You can see the results of this method in the styled photos of the final drink (above and below).
  • If you have a high-speed blender or a good, strong regular blender, you can place plenty of ice cubes into the container, pour in cold water to reach about halfway up, and blend briefly until most of the cubes are nicely crushed. Drain the mixture through a sieve to remove excess water, and your crushed ice is ready to use. You can see the results of this method in the video and the “how to make it” section below.

How to make it

As with all highballs, making an apple cider Moscow mule is straightforward. You don’t even need a separate mixing glass. Here’s an overview of what you’ll do. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Fill a copper mule glass to the top with crushed ice.
  2. Pour in the apple-cinnamon vodka, the apple cider, and the lime juice.
  3. Top with ginger beer.
  4. Give it a good stir and garnish with an apple slice and cinnamon stick. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

How should I cut the apple garnish?

It’s easy — it just requires you to put aside your instincts and habits for a second. Simply cut the apple crosswise into very thin slices (about 1/8 inch if possible, but don’t sweat it). Remove any seeds, then cut a small slit from one point along the circumference to the center. This is where you’ll slide the apple slice onto the mug.

Can I batch this cocktail for a party?

You sure can. To make eight drinks: up to three hours in advance, stir together in a pitcher two cups apple-cinnamon vodka, four cups fresh apple cider, and 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice. Cover and refrigerate.

Just before serving, pour in three cups cold ginger beer and give it all a stir. To serve, fill eight copper mule cups with crushed ice, divide contents of pitcher, and garnish each with an apple slice and cinnamon stick.

More favorite fall cocktails

an apple cider moscow mule in a copper mug, garnished with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick, with a ginger beer bottle cap and a jigger on the table

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an apple cider moscow mule in a copper mug, garnished with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick
5 from 4 votes

Apple Cider Moscow Mule

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
An apple Cider Moscow Mule retains all the bright, tasty balance of the original cocktail and adds a nice, autumnal layer of apple-cinnamon goodness. A great choice for Thanksgiving or any fall evening.
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 2 ounces (60 ml) cinnamon apple vodka
  • 4 ounces (120 ml) fresh apple cider
  • 3 ounces (90 ml) ginger beer
  • ½ ounce (15 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • A thin apple slice, cut crosswise
  • Cinnamon Stick

Instructions 

  • Fill a copper mug to the top with crushed ice.
  • Pour in the apple-cinnamon vodka, the apple cider, and the lime juice.
  • Top with ginger beer and give it a good stir.
  • Cut an apple in half crosswise. Then cut a very thin slice from the center — about 1/8 inch if possible, but don't sweat it Remove any seeds. Cut a small slit from one point along the circumference to the center. This is where you'll slide the apple slice onto the mug.
  • Garnish with apple slice and cinnamon stick. 

Notes

  1. You can use your choice of vodka in this recipe, as long as it's good-quality. Plain is fine, but it's nice to amp up the fall flavors with an apple- and cinnamon-infused variety like the one pictured here, or cinnamon vodka.
  2. Apple cider is a gently sweet, complex ingredient in its own right. I tend to grab whatever local, unfiltered cider I see in the shops in the fall. 
  3. Ginger beer is a nonalcoholic, ginger-flavored soft drink. It provides fizz, lightness, and tons of flavor to a Moscow mule. Choose a good one, because you'll really taste it. I like Reed's or Goslings.
  4. A generous dose of freshly squeezed lime juice adds a welcome bright, tart dimension to this recipe.
  5. If you like, you can batch this cocktail for a party. To make eight drinks: up to three hours in advance, stir together in a pitcher two cups apple-cinnamon vodka, four cups fresh apple cider, and 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice. Cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, pour in three cups cold ginger beer and give it all a stir. To serve, fill eight copper mule cups with crushed ice, divide contents of pitcher, and garnish each with an apple slice and cinnamon stick.

How to crush ice

If you'd like to crush your own ice rather than buying it, you've got a couple of options. I've come to really prefer the blender method.
  • If you don't have a good blender, you can place regular ice cubes into a double layer of zip-top bags and bash them with a rolling pin until they're nice and small. This method provides free therapy but doesn't work quite as well for creating evenly crushed ice.
  • If you have a high-speed blender or a good, strong regular blender, you can place plenty of ice cubes into the container, pour in cold water to reach about halfway up, and blend briefly until most of the cubes are nicely crushed. Drain the mixture through a sieve to remove excess water, and your crushed ice is ready to use.

Nutrition

Calories: 165kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cocktails
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

Hungry for More?
Subscribe to Umami Girl's email updates, and follow along on Instagram.
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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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