A festive red-and-green cocktail that will boost your holiday spirit, no matter what!Moscow reindeer

Do you have relatives descending on you for the holidays?

You need this drink.

Do you have small children wearing your patience out bit by bit?

You need this drink.

Is the constant barrage of Christmas music starting to shred your nerves?

You need this drink.

Have work projects kept you so busy you can’t even breathe, much less sleep, much less bake cookies and decorate and write Christmas cards and do anything else that makes spirits bright? Ooooo oOooOooOO, meeeeeee!

I.  I need this drink.

I’m going to take a second for a self-indulgent rant.  First of all, I’m supposed to be on vacation right now.  I won’t say where, because then the first-world nature of these problems will become even more readily apparent, BUT we had reservations for a beautiful spot, and I was supposed to be relaxing on said unnamed beach, right at this very moment.  Then Ross got sent off on a boat — fine, ship — for his job.  And then my job got so incredibly busy that I long for the days where I had time to go to the break room and make a cup of tea.  I was literally at my desk today croaking, “So thirrrrsty!” without time to quench my palate.  Nearly died, folks.  Okay not really.  But I’m extremely short on sleep and Christmas traditions.  I tried to watch White Christmas while typing away on my laptop this weekend, and it sucked.  I didn’t even see all the cool tap-dancing scenes with my head buried in my work.  I haven’t sent a single Christmas card, and I keep receiving beautiful ones from friends that make me feel both happy and guilty for not reciprocating.  I have bought ONE Christmas present so far (Dad, you’re a lucky guy), and the shipping days until Christmas are growing slim.  In short, this holiday season is not all snowflakes and cookies.

But that’s why the baby Jesus, later in life, decided to turn water into wine.

If you’re stressed out, if you’re tired, if you’re overworked, if you’re hangry (or thangry), here’s a drink for you.  Observe:

1. It’s red and green, so it’s embodies the Christmas spirit.

2. It’s served in a beautiful cup, so it’s pretty.  If you don’t have copper mugs, it’s STILL pretty in a clear cup, because Christmas colors! — see (1).

3. It’s named after a magical Christmas creature.

4. It’s both refreshing and delicious.

5. It has booze.

Moscow Reindeer


Actually let’s go back to that festive name, because it’s a good place to start explaining this drink.  If you’re familiar with a Moscow mule, you know it’s a tasty beverage made of vodka, lime, and ginger beer.  The Moscow reindeer, as the name suggests, is similar BUT more awesome.  Just like a reindeer is quite a bit more awesome than a mule.  (Sorry mules.  Just stating facts.)

You start with lime, like a mule, but in this drink, you muddle it with some mint and a pinch of sugar.  The rough sugar helps to crush the leaves and release their flavor.  Then you add the vodka (no substitutions here) (okay fiiiiine bourbon is always good in my book) (actually it’s Christmas, use whatever you want), and a healthy splash of pomegranate juice.  Shake with some ice and top with ginger beer to your personal preference.  The pomegranate is already sweet, so I personally don’t add too much ginger beer.  I also use an entire lime and a good bit of mint to balance the other strong flavors and sweetness, but this recipe is quite flexible to your own taste.  And you know what?  You go crazy.  You leave out the mint if you’re not a fan.  You throw in lemon AND lime.  You double the vodka.  No judgment here.

The holiday season is not always what people expect.  But I’ll tell you what — this drink?  This Moscow reindeer? It will not let you down.

Might want to leave one for Santa.  He could be having a rough season too.

Moscow reindeer

Moscow Reindeer
Prep time
Total time
A festive red-and-green drink that will boost your holiday spirit, no matter what.
Serves: 1 drink (what, you thought I would share?)
  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • Juice of 1 small lime
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (turbinado is best)
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 2 oz. pomegranate juice
  • 2-4 oz. ginger beer, to taste
  • Mint leaves, lime wedge, and pomegranate seeds, to garnish
  1. Muddle the mint in a shaker with the lime and sugar.
  2. Add vodka and pomegranate juice with a handful of ice. Shake vigorously.
  3. Pour the drink into a copper mug, or whatever suits your fancy, over ice.
  4. Add cold ginger beer to taste.
  5. Garnish with mint leaves, lime wedge, pomegranate seeds, or your holiday spirit.
This drink could be made ahead in a larger batch and even served in a punch bowl. Multiply the recipe for your number of guests (or yourself, again, no judgment). Muddle an appropriate amount of mint leaves, lime, and sugar in a large mason jar or pitcher, then add the pomegranate juice and vodka and refrigerate. I wouldn't store the mixture for more than a day, as the herbs will start to get funky. Add ginger beer right before serving.

Moscow Reindeer

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