Pour yourself a cozy cup of Christmas Punch this holiday season. This festive drink recipe puts a twist on classic mulled wine. It’s made with cranberry juice, fresh orange, a blend of warming spices, and red wine. And you can also omit the wine for a non-alcoholic version.
This easy Christmas punch recipe is inspired by European Christmas drinks that you can find at holiday markets in many European countries.
The best part of this recipe is that you can make non-alcoholic and alcoholic versions, and you don’t need to do any extra work.
This holiday cranberry punch is infused with the aroma of winter spices with a hint of orange. You can make it for a Christmas dinner party or just to enjoy it by the Christmas tree.
This holiday punch recipe is quite easy to make because you can put it on the stovetop and do other things while it’s cooking.
In addition, it will fill your kitchen with a wonderful scent of cinnamon and orange for extra holiday spirit.
Ready to learn how to make the best Christmas punch? Let’s do it!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- You can make this delicious holiday party drink with or without booze.
- It’s quick and easy to make.
- You can customize the recipe by adding different berries and spices.
- This delicious cranberry punch recipe is made with all-natural, refined sugar-free ingredients.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Cranberries: The base of this Christmas punch is a homemade cranberry cocktail mixer that you can make with fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to thaw them first).
- Water: Cranberry juice and warming spices are combined to make the homemade cranberry juice blend.
- Whole Spices: For a cozy, warming flavor, you’ll need whole cloves, star anise, and cinnamon sticks. You can use long or short cinnamon sticks. If using the longer sticks, you may want to use two instead of 4 unless you want your punch to have extra cinnamon.
- Orange: You’ll need at least one orange for the zest and juice, but I usually grab 2, just in case I need more juice or to slice and use as garnish. I prefer using organic oranges for this recipe.
- Maple Syrup: Use a quality pure maple syrup to sweeten your punch and round out the flavors. I love the subtle hint of maple flavor in my Christmas punch, but you can use honey or agave syrup as well.
- Red Wine: To make the spiked version, I recommend a dessert red wine like Shiraz, malbec, or a sweet red blend. Use merlot, cabernet sauvignon, or pinot noir for a dryer mouth-feel.
To make Christmas punch from scratch, you’ll need:
- medium-sized saucepan;
- microplane or a regular grater;
- fine-mesh strainer.
How To Make Christmas Punch
How to Make Non-Alcoholic Christmas Punch
- Prep the cranberries: First, if using fresh cranberries, give them a good rinse, and pick out any that are soft and over-ripened. If using frozen cranberries, you do not need to do this.
- Cook the cranberries: Add the cranberries, water, cloves, star anise, and cinnamon sticks to a medium-sized pot, and bring to simmer over medium-low heat. Cover, and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes. Occasionally press the cranberries gently with a spoon to release the juices.
- Prep the orange: While the cranberry mixture simmers, zest, and juice the orange. Use a mircoplane grater or a regular grater to scrape off a thin layer of the peel. Cut the orange in half and squeeze out the juices.
- Add the orange zest and juice: As soon as the cranberries are ready, turn off the burner, and add the orange zest and juice. Let the mixture stand on the warm burner for at least 10 minutes to give the flavors a chance to mingle.
- Strain the cranberry punch: Carefully strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the cranberries and spices. Pour the strained liquid back into the saucepan with the same cinnamon sticks (after rinsing them). Stir in the maple syrup.
- Dissolve the maple syrup and serve: Turn the burner back on and reheat the liquid over medium-low heat until it starts steaming. Make sure not to boil. Note that if a lot of water evaporates during cooking, the punch can become quite concentrated. Taste it and add water if needed. Serve warm in mugs or let cool and serve over ice.
How to Make an Alcoholic Christmas Punch
If you’re making the spiked version inspired by mulled wine, follow Steps 1 to 5 as listed above. Add the red wine together with the maple syrup in Step 5 and proceed with Step 6.
Freshly squeezed orange juice – To squeeze juice from oranges without a juicer, cut the orange in half and stick a fork in the middle of the cut side. While holding the orange half over a small bowl, twist the fork back and forth to release the juices. Repeat with the other half. Strain out any loose seeds before using.
Add more water as needed – As the liquid simmers and the water evaporates, the flavor will become more concentrated. Give it a taste and add more water as needed.
Make it fizzy – Let the punch cool to room temperature before pouring it into a glass of ice, leaving room at the top for a splash of ginger ale or ginger beer.
Garnishing – Drop a few cranberries, a cinnamon stick, and an anise star into each mug and pour the hot punch over the top.
Christmas Punch Cocktails
The non-alcoholic version of this Christmas punch doubles as a spiced cranberry juice that you can use as a cocktail mixer.
Check out the list below for boozy cranberry punch cocktail ideas:
- Christmas Cosmopolitan – Add 1-1/2 ounces of vodka, 1/2 ounce of orange liqueur, 3 ounces of Christmas punch, and ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a martini glass.
- Christmas Cape Cod – Fill a glass with ice, add 1-1/2 ounces of vodka, and top with Christmas punch.
- Cinnamon-Spiced Seabreeze – Fill a glass with ice cubes, add 1-1/2 ounces of vodka, and top with half Christmas punch and half fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. Garnish with lime slices.
- Cranberry-Spiced Mimosa – Fill a champagne flute 2/3rds of the way full. Fill the rest with a Christmas punch.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Punch without alcohol will last for 5 to 7 days, kept in an airtight container in the fridge. The alcoholic version is best served immediately, but you can keep extras in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
Freezing: Non-alcoholic punch can be frozen for up to 6 months. Leave a few inches at the top of the container for expansion.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many servings of Christmas punch does this recipe make?
This recipe makes 2 to 3 pint-size servings without wine, depending on how much the water evaporates. With alcohol, this recipe makes about four pint-size drinks -if you need more, double the recipe.
Can I make spiked holiday punch with white wine instead of red wine?
Sure! Sweet white wines like riesling, Moscato, and sauvignon blank taste great with warming spices and cranberry juice.
Why should you not boil wine?
When the wine reaches its boiling point, the flavor deteriorates and becomes bitter and flat. Keep an eye on the pot and make sure the punch doesn’t get too hot.
Other Cozy Winter Drink Recipes You’ll Love:
- German Mulled Wine
- Jasmine Raspberry Tea
- Raspberry Hot Chocolate
- Homemade Hot Apple Cider
- Homemade Ginger Tea
Christmas Punch: Non-Alcoholic & Alcoholic Options
This delicious Christmas punch recipe can be made with or without alcohol. It's very easy to make and will fill your home with the amazing aroma of holiday spices.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 4 cups water
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 anise star
- 4 small cinnamon sticks (*See the notes)
- 1 orange
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
For the Alcoholic Cranberry Punch:
- 2 cups red wine
- If using fresh cranberries, wash them first and remove any that are soft. Put the cranberries in a medium saucepan.
- Add the water, cloves, anise star and cinnamon sticks. Bring to simmer on low-medium heat.
- Once the cranberries soften, press the cranberries gently with a spoon to release more of the juice.
- Cover and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes making sure the mixture doesn't boil too much.
- In the meantime, zest the orange by scraping off a thin layer of the orange peel. (A microplane grater works best but you can use a regular grater too).
- Press out the juice from the orange.
- When the cranberry mixture has finished cooking, turn off the heat, add the orange zest and orange juice and let it stand on the hot stove for about 10 more minutes to allow flavors to blend.
- Strain the mixture to remove the cranberries and spices. Pour the cranberry punch back into the saucepan. Rinse the cinnamon sticks and place them back into the saucepan as well. Add the maple syrup and stir.
For the Non-Alcoholic Cranberry Punch:
- Warm up the punch one more time until it starts steaming but don't boil it. If a lot of water evaporates during cooking, the punch can become quite concentrated. Taste it and add water if needed.
For the Alcoholic Cranberry Punch:
- Add the red wine and warm up the mixture, turning the heat off just before it starts to boil.
- Serve hot.
1. You can buy long or short cinnamon sticks. Short cinnamon sticks are around 3 inches long. If you have long sticks, use two instead of four.
2. Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 3 servings of cranberry punch without alcohol.
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Nutrition InformationYield 3 Serving Size 1/3 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 72.7Total Fat 0.2gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0.2gCholesterol 0mgSodium 10.2mgCarbohydrates 18.8gFiber 1.1gSugar 15.8gProtein 0.5g
Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.
Linda from NJ
Saturday 16th of November 2013
This drink looks amazing! and what I like is that it is made with fresh wholesome ingredients. I'm looking forward to making this. Thank you for the post. And your site looks awesome too, how I like to cook.
Saturday 16th of November 2013
Thank you very much for your comment, Linda. I hope you’ll like the drink!