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The Holiday Mule: A Festive Holiday Cocktail

If you've been to the farmer's markets recently, you know there are a couple prevalent fall crops here in Northern California, including persimmons, walnuts, apples and pomegranates. Now all of these ingredients go great in a salad (and I have some delicious fall salad recipes), but during this cool time of year I'm frequently in the mood for something that will warm me up a bit (and that certainly isn't salad).

Farmers Market Pomegranate Fall Fruit

When we're entertaining and having guests over, the wine will be flowing, but there's something so festive and special about making cocktails. Maybe it's because you can pop open a bottle of wine on a Tuesday night, but I reserve the time, effort and various ingredients required to make a craft cocktail for special events.

So if you're doing some holiday entertaining this year and want to serve a drink that utilizes some local Northern California winter farmers market ingredients you can find right here in the Sacramento area, look no further than this festive Holiday Mule.

Festive Holiday Mule, Moscow Mule, Kentucky Mule, Cocktail

The traditional Moscow Mule is a great summer-time cocktail featuring vodka (or if using spiced rum, it's called a Dark & Stormy), lime juice and ginger beer. These are a popular Tahoe 4th of July cocktail in our house.

But when the weather turns colder, I want something with a little more kick and I turn to the bourbon or rye whiskey. Now I'm a big fan of the Manhattan and all it's various iterations. So when I was looking to use my collection of bourbons and rye whiskeys for something a little different, I was drawn to a aromatic version of the classic summer Mule.

For this fall version, which we served at Thanksgiving, I re-purposed several Thanksgiving ingredients.  Rye whiskey was brought by a guest, sage was leftover from turkey dressing and pomegranates were leftover from winter salad. The sage and pomegranates are readily available at virtually all Northern California farmers markets or your local grocery store this time of year.

Holiday Mule, Moscow Mule, Kentucky Mule, Christmas Cocktail, Farmers Market

Serve this festive Holiday Mule at your next holiday get-together, using local seasonal ingredients and that is a festive green and red.


  • 2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Ginger beer 
  • 1 large sage leaf, muddled or twisted to release the aromatics
  • ice
  • copper mug
  • 1 tsp. pomegranate seeds (optional to add a little festive color)

Fill a copper mug with ice. Juice 1/2 lime and add to the mug. Pour in 2 ounces of good bourbon or rye whiskey. Fill mug with good ginger beer. Stir to mix. Muddle or twist the sage leaf to release its aromatics and place on top of the cocktail. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Variation: muddle the sage and pomegranate seeds together to create a pomegranate sage juice, strain and add to cocktail. This will be a sweeter, pink version of the Holiday Mule recipe above. Top with a sage leaf and pomegranate seeds.


  • This holiday cocktail sounds so yummy! I love the pomegranate you add to the mix!

    Heather Scott
  • What a perfect drink to sip when visiting northern California ! Can’t wait to try this myself.

  • i seriously have to try this my husband LOVES mules! This is such a fun holiday cocktail

  • I absolutely love pomegranates.. They are my favorite fruit, I can’t wait to try this

  • Yesss what an awesome cocktail! I love Moscow Mules, and I’ve been looking to find one that is a little more festive but that still has the essence of a mule. This one is perfect! Bookmarked this — you can bet it’s going to be used a lot this Christmas! <3

    Emily Moore

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