I’m a hands-off host. I hate to say it, but if I’m running around at a party creating drinks one-by-one, I can’t enjoy myself or talk to my guests as much as I’d like. Enter PUNCH – the best beverage for your next party. I kept this recipe for Cranberry Pomegranate Sparkling Punch just so simple for you so you can mix it together and enjoy your party so much more.
Punch is back! I noticed it trending when I lived in Chicago and all these little, funky underground punch shops were opening up speakeasy style. Often made from rum, sweet and potent, they are complex beverages and often involve fire or smoke or any number of fancy ingredients. Well, I like mixing my punch in an actual bowl and having guests serve themselves as much or as little as they want. There’s just something about those fancy little glass cups you hold by the tiny handle that makes people feel special.
Punch has a very interesting history, dating back to the 17th century by men working on ships for the British East India Company. It was invented as an alternative to beer because it would go bad on the ship. These men got access through their travels to more exotic ingredients like rum (which is a very common base to a punch) as well as citrus and spices. I wonder if these ingredients also helped them overcome some of their sea-faring health dangers like scurvy. The sailors brought their punch drink back to Britain and it spread on from there. Cocktail culture in the modern US revived the trend a bit and now you can enjoy it served in the most hipster of establishments.
Did you know that I study wine in school? I’ve been in school a long time for nutrition but I just really love learning and I especially love getting more education on wine. It’s so fascinating and includes information about travel, about history and about culture. I take a class at a local program here in Seattle whenever I can and I always pick up interesting tips. My food and wine pairing teacher taught us that punch is in. He gave my class the tip to stop by a second hand store to get a classic bowl for parties and guess what? I found one for SIX dollars and it’s fabulous. It’s heavy and beautiful adn I use it constantly. I highly recommend you try to find your own!
What I love about Cranberry Pomegranate Sparkling Punch is that you can really enjoy it any time of year. The color and flavors (and ease of serving) scream ‘holidays’ to me so I definitely took it to a White Elephant party this year for all to share. You can whip it up while you’re chatting with fellow guests and they’re always amazed at the ice ring. That’s a tip you could use for any beverage you’re wanting to impress people with.
Cranberry Pomegranate Sparkling Punch
What you want to do with this recipe is to start with the ice ring. It’s easiest for me to make the night before but you could also make it the morning of the event as it sets pretty quickly. Use a bundt cake pan – those circular ones with the ridges on them. If you don’t have one, you could so easily order one or pick one up at a kitchen store. I honestly use it al the time for my ice ring so it’s worth it for that alone in my opinion. You could also make cake out of it – I just did a tequila glazed lemon olive oil cake and it was awesome.
Pour your water directly into the pan then top it with cranberries. At the party, as the ice slowly melts, it will release some of the berries for a more festive flair. Get creative and fancy by adding in orange slices, herbs like thyme, pomegranate arils or any others that seem beautiful to you and that you have on hand. I’m all about making recipes easy and stress-free from on-hand ingredients.
Set it in the freezer and let it go for several hours. Mine always mysteriously bubble up and I stressed it at first but then I decided that it really doesn’t matter. In order to get the ice out without breaking (mine have never, ever broken), just flip the pan upside-down in the sink. Hold your hand over the opening so the ice doesn’t fall out then run warm water on the round bottom of the pan so that it loosens the ice. Once you feel that it can release, just set it gently in the punch bowl and then pour the other ingredients on top of it.
I like to start with cranberry juice then add the pomegranate juice. This combination is so vibrantly colored and beautiful. If you really wanted, you could use 100% of either one instead but I really think the combination tastes amazing. Once those are in, just top with the sparkling wine. I say sparkling wine rather than champagne because champagne comes specifically from that region in France and it’s often quite expensive. You really don’t need a fancy option for a punch like this and any dry option (Brut) will work for you. I like to bump up a couple levels beyond the very cheap stuff to something I know and trust because this flavor will definitely shine through. Try a Spanish Cava or Italian Prosecco – again, look for dry varieties – to treat your guests.
Finally, I like to add some soda water. I think it cuts the sweet a little bit and honestly, people can get pretty tipsy with punch so I find this mellows that out a bit. Drinks that are too sweet turn me off so you can add a little soda water, a lot of it or none. Up to you! In this recipe, I added just a cup to cut it a little.
Let me know if you try this recipe!
- Ice Ring
- 4 cups of water
- 1/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
- 1 cup
- 1 bottle (750ml) dry/Brut sparkling wine
- 1 cup sparkling soda water
- Make the ice ring the evening before your event. Pour water into a bundt pan, add cranberries and freeze. It may bubble up a bit in the freezing process but that's ok.
- Assemble the punch. Place the ice ring in your punch bowl by running warm water over the bottom of the bundt pan until the ice loosens. Pour the cranberry, pomegranate, sparkling wine and soda water on top, stir and serve with a punch ladle.
Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO
Thanks for visiting! If you’re like me: obsessed with eating, wine, going out and traveling, you’re in the right place. Champagne Nutrition® LLC is a Registered Dietitian-run concierge virtual practice helping clients look and feel better. On this blog, you’ll ﬁnd cocktails, mocktails, and plant-based recipes that are easy to make quickly at home and pack for leftovers on your adventures.