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Drinks for one, and you have a nice evening to yourself. Drinks for two or three, and it’s happy hour. A WHOLE BOWL of sparkling Christmas Punch? We have ourselves a party!

Traditional Christmas punch served in a bowl with oranges and cranberries

Bubbly, festive, and a total snap to stir together, this easy Christmas punch is light, refreshing, and not at all overly sweet.

It takes less than fives minutes prep time and would be a lovely, useful centerpiece at any holiday party because:

  • It’s simple but beautiful, with the right amount of holiday sparkle.
  • Guests will love it (and love you for making it!).
  • Crowd control. Think of holiday punch as your party’s water cooler. Guests will flock wherever it’s placed.

5 Star Review

“This Xmas punch is the bomb! So festive with the fresh orange slices and fresh cranberries floating and super easy to make!

This will be an annual addition to my holiday repertoire.”

— Maria Anastasiou —

I usually shy away from big batch punch recipes because they tend to be overly sweet.

Not this Christmas punch!

If you’re planning a holiday gathering and want to know what to drink, Christmas punch is the answer .

Together, this combination of the light and bright with the deep and spicy makes this Christmas punch dangerous (almost as dangerous as festive Rum Punch).

It’s soooo yummy and easy to sip.

Because it takes minutes to make, you can quickly (perhaps too quickly) continue refilling the bowl as the night goes on.

Tip!

No punch bowl?

  • Mix this recipe up in a big pitcher, or divide it between two smaller pitchers.
  • Try placing it in a large drink dispenser (don’t forget a cup or towel to catch any drips).
Sparkling cranberry punch with rum, champagne, and apple cider

The Best Christmas Punch Recipe

Cranberry juice, sparkling wine, and orange slices keep the punch’s flavor light, bright, and dangerously easy to drink.

Be warned: this is one crushable holiday cocktail! (You can choose whether or not to mention this tidbit to guests.)

The Ingredients

  • Cranberry Juice. Make sure you use a juice that is labeled 100% cranberry juice, versus cranberry juice cocktail. The juice should be marked 100% cranberry but still has a blend of other juices for some natural sweetness (confusing I know!). This is the one I used.

TIP!

  • Do not use completely unsweetened, 100% pure cranberry juice or your punch will be too tart.
  • If you purchase the wrong kind by mistake or your punch tastes tarter than you would like for any reason, all is not lost! Sweeten the punch to your liking by stirring in 1/4 to 1/2 cup simple syrup.
  • Sparkling Wine. Use a very dry sparkling wine. It doesn’t matter what the wine’s country of origin is, as long as it is labeled “brut,” which is the driest, dryer even than wine labeled “extra dry” (Tip: think “brutally dry”). Champagne, cava, and Prosecco are all fair game.
  • Apple Cider + Ginger Ale. Adds balance and dynamic flavor.
  • Dark Rum or Brandy. Rich, spicy, and fun. I preferred this as a Christmas rum punch, but if you’d like something a little sweeter, brandy is a good option.
  • Oranges. For a hint of citrus and beautiful color.
  • Cranberries. Fresh cranberries are important here. I love the look of fresh cranberries floating on top too. Cranberries and oranges are the perfect holiday garnishes.
  • And, lots of ice!

Tip!

For a festive ice ring, scatter cranberries and orange slices (or a mix of sliced oranges, lemons, and limes) in the bottom of a bundt pan and cover with water (use filtered or boiled water for the clearest ice). Transfer to freezer and freeze for at least 8 hours overnight. Unmold the ice ring (you can run the pan under hot water to loosen it if needed) and transfer it to a punch bowl.

The Directions

  1. Chill all the ingredients to make sure your punch is nice and chilly.
  2. Fill a large punch bowl (or pitcher) with ice, and top with all the ingredients except the oranges and cranberries. Give it a quick stir. Last, top with the oranges and cranberries to beautify it. ENJOY!
Alcoholic Christmas punch served in a bowl with oranges and cranberries

5 Star Review

“It was incredible. We made it for our Christmas party and every single person loved it. I thought that it would be a little overpowering given the amount of alcohol, but it was not. Great combination and not too sweet.”

— Courtney —

Recipe Adaptations

  • Non-Alcoholic Christmas Punch. Omit the alcohol from this recipe, and use sparkling white grape juice or lemon-lime soda instead of wine. Prepare as directed.
  • Christmas Punch in Sherbet. Top each glass of this Raspberry Champagne Float with Christmas punch instead of champagne.
  • Christmas Punch with Raspberry Vodka. Swap in an equal amount of raspberry vodka such as Tito’s for the rum or brandy in this recipe.
  • Pomegranate Christmas Punch. Use pomegranate juice instead of cranberry juice, and swap in pomegranate seeds for the cranberries.
  • Cranberry Orange Christmas Punch. Substitute 3/4 cup of the cranberry juice for orange juice.
  • Tropical Christmas Punch. Add 1/2 cup pineapple juice, plus additional to taste.

More Christmas Drinks

Christmas drinks are delicious, festive, and perfect for serving at parties.

This punch is one of my favorites. It could also be used for Christmas morning punch.

I also love serving these other easy Christmas drinks:

three glass punch glasses with pink punch topped with cranberries

What to Serve with Christmas Punch

This traditional Christmas punch goes perfectly with every holiday recipe. Here are a few ideas:

Recommended Tools to Make Christmas Punch

Glass Punch Bowl

This punch bowl is an excellent size for a crowd, and could double as a salad serving dish. It’s heavy duty glass and classy, yet also dishwasher safe.

If you are looking for drinks for your next party—or for a good excuse to throw a party, period—I hope you’ll give this easy Christmas punch recipe a try.

It combines a retro holiday feel with a fresh modern taste, and I know your guests will love it as much as we do!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Christmas Drink?

If you’re looking for alcoholic traditional Christmas drinks, I think this Christmas punch is one of the best holiday drinks out there. Everyone loves it, and it even looks the part.

What is a Good Christmas Drink for Kids?

If you need to make Christmas drinks for kids, this recipe makes for excellent non-alcoholic holiday drinks as well. See non-alcoholic punch adaptation above. Of course, hot chocolate is also a traditional Christmas drink for kids (and grownups!); see How to Make Hot Chocolate.

Do You Put Ice in Punch?

Punch can be served on ice to keep it cold during your party. If you do not want your punch to become diluted; however, you could mix up the punch without the ice and then when serving pour it into individual glasses over ice.

Christmas Punch

4.96 from 83 votes
Easy, refreshing Christmas Punch for a crowd! With champagne, rum, cranberry and cider. Not too sweet—party perfect! Non-alcoholic version too.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 10 minutes

Servings: 20 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large bag of ice
  • 5 cups 100% cranberry juice* 40 ounces, NOT cranberry juice cocktail
  • 2 bottles very dry sparkling wine (750 ml bottles) , such as champagne, cava, or Prosecco (I used a brut Prosecco)
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 1/2 cups diet ginger ale (12 ounces) (from 1 can or poured from a liter bottle)
  • 1 1/2 cups dark rum or brandy (12 ounces)
  • 2 oranges thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries

Instructions
 

  • Make sure all of the ingredients are well chilled. Fill a large punch bowl with ice. Top with the cranberry juice, sparkling wine, apple cider, ginger ale, and rum.
  • Stir gently to combine. Top with the orange slices and fresh cranberries. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • *IMPORTANT NOTE ON CRANBERRY JUICE: Look for a juice that is marked 100% cranberry but that has a blend of other juices, usually apple, added (it is confusing! This is the one I used). If you purchase 100% pure cranberry juice without any other fruits used, it may be too tart for your taste. If this happens, you can sweetened the punch to your liking by stirring in 1/4 to 1/2 cup simple syrup.
  • Nutritional information assumes no ice melt. Since realistically, some ice will melt into the glasses, the numbers are a bit high for 6 ounces. Feel free to use myfitnesspal.com or another service if you need a more precise estimate.

Nutrition

Serving: 1glass, about 6 ouncesCalories: 137kcalCarbohydrates: 13gSugar: 12g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. I made this punch last night for a Christmas party and it was a big hit. I had simple syrup on hand in case it needed some but I did not use it. I tasted it and thought it was just perfect without it. Party guests raved about it and drank a lot of it. One person said she found it to be a little tart and I offered to add some of the simple syrup to her cup but she didn’t take me up on it. The punch looks beautiful as a Christmas punch. I froze cranberries in big square ice cubes to float around and also floated cinnamon sticks. It was a big hit and I would definitely make it again!5 stars

  2. Did anyone ever try the vodka? I’m looking for any comment where someone tried vodka but no one has given a review. I am not really a rum person, so thinking of making the substitution…. thank you to anyone

    1. Hi Jessica, sorry I’m just seeing this. For next time, you can add everything but the sparkling wine/ginger ale so that it stays bubbly. Hope you enjoyed it!

  3. This is the first thing to go year after year at my Christmas party (and was an even bigger hit at the one we had to move to lunchtime). I continually get asked for the recipe – people love it! I even made a non-alcoholic version for the kiddos!5 stars

  4. This was excellent. I really appreciated that it was not too sweet. To me it seems more like a cross between a cocktail and a punch. My guests loved it!5 stars

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