It just wouldn't be Christmas without cranberries dressing the holiday meal or strung with popcorn around the tree. Just as the bright red berries ornament the season, so does their tart flavor when added to other ingredients in a punchbowl. You can keep things simple and alcohol-free or liven them up to make your Christmas celebration one to remember.
Keepin' it Real
Punch made with cranberry juice is not only delicious, but it makes for a colorful focal point on your holiday buffet table. A simple version calls for just three ingredients: cranberry juice, frozen lemonade concentrate and ginger ale. Make the lemonade first, then stir in the cranberry juice and enough ice to chill the mixture. Adding the ginger ale just before serving assures that the punch won't lose its fizz too soon.
'Tis the Season
Christmas is all about creativity, and you can extend the tradition to your holiday punch and reduce the sugar content in the process. To a simple blend of reduced-calorie cranberry juice cocktail and water, add one packet of powdered drink mix in the flavor of your choice. Berry flavors add to the fruitiness while lemon or lime-flavored powder adds tartness. Complete the punch with sparkling water or club soda and some sliced fruit to correspond with the flavor of the drink mix powder.
Putting the Punch in Punch
Perk up your Christmas Eve late-night party with punch made from a blend of cranberry juice cocktail, champagne and lemon or orange-flavored liqueur. Add more seasonal flavoring to cranberry-vodka punch with spices such as allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Or, perk up a simple cranberry juice punch with the alcoholic beverage of your choice by adding small amounts until you strike the right balance of flavor and potency.
The Finishing Touch
The Christmas season is also about decorating, and the deep red color of punch made with cranberry juice supplies the perfect backdrop for an ice wreath made with the same ingredients that went into the punch. Choose decorative elements that complement the flavors in the punch, such as orange or lemon slices, berries or grapes, and add contrast with mint leaves placed between the fruit.