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!
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:
- 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.
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 (along with this festive Rum Punch).
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.
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).
How to Make 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.)
- 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. Cranberries and oranges are the perfect holiday garnishes.
- And, lots of ice!
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.
- Chill all the ingredients to make sure your punch is nice and chilly.
- 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!
- 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 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.
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!
- What is the Best Holiday 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.
- If you need to make Christmas drinks for kids, this recipe makes for excellent non-alcoholic holiday drinks as well. See non-alcoholic adaption above.
- I also love serving these other easy Christmas drinks: Mulled Wine, Champagne Punch, Apple Cider Champagne Cocktail, Cranberry St. Germain Cocktail, and Crockpot Hot Chocolate.
What to Serve with Christmas Punch
This traditional Christmas punch goes perfectly with every holiday recipe. Here are a few ideas:
- Appetizers. Pesto Pinwheels, Cheese Fondue, or Crab Artichoke Toasts are much loved holiday apps.
- Desserts. Perfect Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Ginger Cookies, and Brown Butter Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies would all be delicious alongside a glass of Christmas punch.
Recommended Tools to Make Christmas Punch
- Punch Bowl. I also love this punch bowl set.
- Large Measuring Cup. (I use this simple one)
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 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!
- 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
- 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!
- *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.
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