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 5 minutes to make and would be a lovely, useful centerpiece at any holiday party because:

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

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 do you drink on Christmas Eve?” or “what do you drink for Christmas dinner?” Christmas punch is the answer.

Together, this combination of the light and bright with the deep and spicy makes this Christmas punch dangerous. 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.

Sparkling cranberry punch with rum, champagne, and apple cider

How to Make the Best Christmas Punch

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

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 contain has a blend of other juices for some natural sweetness (confusing I know!). This is the one I used.
    • 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.
  • And, lots of ice!

The Directions

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

Recipe Adaptations

  • Non-Alcoholic Christmas Punch. Omit the alcohol from this recipe, and use sparkling white grape juice 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 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.

What are Christmas Drinks? 

Christmas drinks are delicious, festive, and perfect for serving at parties. This punch is one of my favorites, and I have other suggestions for you too!

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

If you are looking for a drink recipe for your next party—or for a good excuse to throw a party, period—I hope you’ll give this Christmas Punch 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!

Easy, refreshing, DELICIOUS Sparkling Christmas Punch for a crowd! With champagne, rum, cranberry, and apple cider. Not to sweet, spiked, and so red and festive! Recipe includes nonalcoholic option.

Christmas Punch

4.97 from 62 votes
An easy, refreshing recipe for Sparkling Christmas Punch for a crowd! With champagne, rum, cranberry, and cider. Not too sweet and perfect for parties!

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins

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!

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: 13gSodium: 18mgSugar: 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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143 Comments

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  1. Hi Erin.  I do not understand what type of cranberry juice you mean.  How can something be 100% cranberry juice if it’s blended with other juice?  I see cranberry juice that is labeled 100% fruit juice.  Is that what you mean?  Other than that, there’s only cranberry juice cocktail or 100% cranberry juice, which as you mention is unsweetened and very tart.

    1. Hi Sue, it is very confusing! You should use a juice that is labeled 100% cranberry juice, versus cranberry juice cocktail. The juice should be marked 100% cranberry but still contain has a blend of other juices for some natural sweetness This is the one that I used. I hope that helps!

    1. Hi Lisa! Light rum has a slightly different flavor profile than dark rum but, you can use it in this recipe if you prefer. I hope you enjoy it!

        1. Hi Debbie! If you add up the ingredients, it’s about 14 cups of liquid even before the ice and garnishes are added, so you’ll need a bowl at least twice that size. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

    1. Hi Marie! This punch is best the day it is served, as the ginger ale and sparkling wine may become flat. I have not tried to save the leftovers, but I suspect it will still taste fine for a couple of days. I hope you enjoyed the recipe!

    1. Hi Becca! I have not tried the recipe this way, but I suspect it will be more tart. If you want to try it, you can always stir in some simple syrup at the end to sweeten it up some. I hope this helps!

  2. We tend to like punches that sneak up on you. Did anyone add more liquor, or is this sufficient? Regarding apple cider, is there a substitute? I fear it may be hard to find with the holidays being over. Thank you!

    1. Hi Christina! I found the liquor in this punch to be sufficient, but you could always add more if needed. The apple cider is pretty essential to the punch. You could try plain apple juice, but it won’t have the same warm flavors. If you’re able to find cider, that’s the best option!

  3. Hi! Would love to make this for holiday gatherings- I have a question about the apple cider. The sparkling kind (like Martinelli’s) or just regular? Which brand did you use? Thanks!

  4. This recipe was great. Made 12 servings and split amongst 4 people. I prefer my drinks on the stronger side so added a little more rum but everyone loved it. Would highly recommend this punch.5 stars

  5. I’ve never had brandy so hesitant to purchase for a 1 time recipe if I don’t like it. Would a golden rum work in this recipe instead of a dark (black) rum?

    1. Hi Lisa! I haven’t tried it myself, but I think it would work fine if that’s what you prefer. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  6. Made this and it was a major hit! Have a bit left since I doubled the batch thinking people would have more but it was a mellow holiday party this year. How long would you say this can stay good for?5 stars

    1. Hi Meghan! I am so happy you enjoyed it. Unfortunately, this tends to go flat by the next day. I think you could try sealing it tightly then having in the next day with a splash of fresh sparkling wine or soda to “fizz” it up a little.

  7. We used spiced dark rum as our best guess because we are not experienced rum tasters. I didn’t notice the spice in the final product. Also garnished with pomegranate seeds because we didn’t have cranberries on hand. That said, I LOVE this punch!!!!!! Helped make our solo c Christmas more enjoyable, for sure! We drank it all weekend, LOL5 stars

  8. Should the apple cider be alcoholic or non-alcoholic?
    I know in the US you have non-alcoholic but here in NZ apple cider is usually alcoholic so just thought I would check!
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Greta! While I haven’t tried it using an alcoholic apple cider, you could definitely use it and experiment. It will make it more potent though. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out!

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