Mmm, punch. Today we think of it as a sugary sweet drink for a kid’s birthday party, but punch, especially Christmas punch, has a long and interesting history. Hot mulled wine, called wassail in merry old England, was once popular at winter parties of all kinds. Not only was a hot drink appreciated during a cold winter night, but the spices used were the same that were loved in holiday baked goods. In the food world, nothing says Christmas like the scent of cinnamon and cloves. Our Christmas punch recipe isn’t quite as complex as those of yore, but it’s just as delicious. We recommend making a double batch—keep half warming in a slow cooker set on low—so a hot serving is always ready. If you haven’t got a traditional punch bowl laying around, pour the drink into your prettiest ceramic or pottery bowl, surround the bottom with some greenery and other holiday decorations and you’ve got a wonderfully festive serving container. Don’t forget to provide a ladle so guests can help themselves.
When should you serve Christmas punch? Anytime, really but it’s especially delicious with dessert and would pair perfectly with our Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies. It’s also a welcoming refreshment for guests when they first arrive to your home for a holiday get-together.
Christmas Punch with a Punch!
- 4 cups brewed black tea
- 1 ¼ cups Coco Treasure Coconut Sugar
- ¾ cup fresh lemon juice (about four lemons)
- 1 cup fresh orange juice (about three oranges)
- 8-10 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 bottles full-bodied red wine such as a Zinfandel or Pinot Noir
- 1 cup golden rum
- Place the coconut sugar and hot tea into a large pot. Add the rest of the ingredients except the wine and rum. Heat on low until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add wine and rum, continue to heat on low heat. The punch should be hot like a cup of tea or coffee, but not boiling.
- Ladle into mugs and top with a dollop of whipped cream which has been spiced with cinnamon.
- Garnish with slices of lemon and orange.
For a non-alcoholic version of this Christmas punch, delete the wine and rum and add 1 liter of apple cider instead.