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:

  • 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.

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

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.)

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. 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

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 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.
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 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!

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

4.92 from 74 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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188 Comments

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  1. I made this for our Christmas party this year! We had 35 people & I doubled the recipe! People were raving about it all night!5 stars

    1. Hi Michael! You can add everything together the day before but the sparkling wine/ginger ale. You will need to add that when you serve so it stays bubbly. Hope this helps!

  2. This recipe sounds delicious and I want to make the Cranberry Orange Punch. I read I should “substitute 3/4 cup of the cranberry juice for orange juice”. The original recipe calls for 5 cups of cranberry juice. I am confused… Exactly how much cranberry juice should I use? How much orange juice? I sincerely appreciate the clarification!

  3. I wanted to get drink fountain for a party I’m hosting. Could I use this punch in the fountain or will it go flat? Thank you!

    1. Hi Alexa! I have no idea, I’ve not used a fountain before. If you end up experimenting with it, let me know how it goes!

  4. Would it be advantageous to pre-freeze (possibly) decorative ice cubes using the non-sparkly ingredients or is ice from water necessary for flavor? I’d like to make this week for a holiday gathering and have ordered holiday silicone molds.

      1. Fantastic…I was not sure if the water from the ice was factored in to “mellow” the flavors. Going to make it this weekend for our gathering. I will follow up on Monday with possibly a pic and what I’m sure will be rave reviews. Thank you for the recipe.

  5. Hi, I wanted to get clarity on what type of rum to use, is it dark rum or spiced rum? I was looking to add Bacardi dark rum but could also use captain morgan.

    1. Hi Alycia! I use a dark rum for this. The spiced rum will just add additional flavors to the punch. Hope this helps!

  6. I made this last week for a Christmas party. It was so easy to make. I used a large punch bowl and put in lots of ice.. Then poured in the juices,, soda and alcohol. I did not have time to freeze any juice so instead I froze the cranberries. This punch was liked by everyone! And using a large crystal punch bowl made a beautiful centerpiece. I will make this drink again..5 stars

    1. Hi Carol! While I haven’t tried it, you probably could. I just prefer the dark rum. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

        1. Hi Carrie! It’s just something I prefer to use, but feel free to use any ginger ale you’d like. Hope you enjoy it!

  7. I made this last night for my Christmas party … it was delicious and I had to make it twice because my guests loved it ….. you won’t be disappointed if you make !!!!5 stars

  8. Erin,
    We followed the directions and ingredients 100 percent. The rum was overpowering and no one liked it and I ended up dumping the punchbowl. Honestly, with the sparkling champagne, why would you add rum to that mixture?
    …I should have waited to see how it tasted before the rum, but I can only say, for us this was a fail.1 star

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, Donna. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

  9. 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.5 stars

  10. I want to make this tomorrow (Christmas Eve) but just realized I don’t have apple cider. Do you think it’ll be ok without apple cider and maybe just add orange juice? I was thinking the orange juice, cranberry juice, ginger ale, Prosecco and raspberry vodka. Yay or nay? 😆🤷🏻‍♀️

    1. Hi Ashli! The apple cider is pretty essential to the punch. You could try plain apple juice, but it won’t have the same warm flavors. I’d recommend sticking with cider for this one! Although if you do decide to leave it out, I would love to know how it goes!

  11. I’m going to make this Christmas Day with VSOP Brandy I’m curious to know if this would be ok I don’t see anyone else has made this with Brandi. I like it on the sweeter side though.5 stars

  12. This was delicious and a huge hit at my family Christmas this year. I did the nonalcohol version with white grape juice. It was an easy recipe that added such a festive look with the floating cranberries and oranges. I also made the overnight blueberry French toast for brunch today and it was a perfect addition to our meal. I’ll be making this again. Thank you for the great recipes!5 stars

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