Sparkling Cranberry Cider Punch

Well, the good news is that this festive beverage is just as tasty as it is pretty.

And. Guess what? There isn’t any bad news to follow. Phew! With an intro like that, I’d be a little worried to hear the news that to get this lovely pitcher on the table, it would require a 3-day, intense process to brew my own ginger ale and grow organic, backyard cranberries (both of which would take far longer than 3 days now that I think about it). Nah. None of that nonsense here (especially since I clearly don’t know what I’m talking about with either aspect).

Sparkling Cranberry Cider Punch

This delicious fizzy concoction is festive and simple. We gulped this down on an average Saturday afternoon as I was playing around with quantities to get the flavor spot on and we all agreed it is a winner. Those cranberries. Seriously. They add just the perfect tartness to the zippy, lightly sweet drink.

My kids, deprived children that they are seeing as how they are only offered water or milk at dinner, basically think we ought to serve this cranberry apple cider punch at all meals from now until forever (yes, breakfast too). I crushed those dreams pretty quickly. But never fear, their tender souls were saved, evidenced by the cheering, when they found out it would be appearing again for Christmas Eve dinner. And yes, I am whole-heartedly giving thanks right this minute for children who have very low expectations about life and beverages; I’ve been forewarned that reality will not be this simple forever.

Sparkling Cranberry Cider Punch

One Year Ago: Amazing Scottish Shortbread
Two Years Ago: Orange Zested Cranberry White Chocolate Bliss Bars {A Slightly Lighter Version}
Three Years Ago: Rock Salt Roast Chicken {Basically The Best Roast Chicken Ever}

Sparkling Cranberry Apple Cider Punch

Yield: Makes about 2 quarts

Sparkling Cranberry Apple Cider Punch

The flavor of this punch is best using apple cider that is fresh-pressed, meaning, not the kind that is clear like apple juice - it should look slightly cloudy (but you could use the kind in the juice aisle in a pinch). Also if you can't find 100% cranberry juice, you can try using a blend but you might want to cut down on the sugar in the recipe. I like to use Vernor's ginger ale, it's less sweet and just a bit more spunky in flavor.

If you want to make some of this ahead of time, combine everything but the ginger ale in the pitcher and refrigerate for several hours. Add the chilled ginger ale when ready to serve.


  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cups apple cider (see note above), chilled
  • 2 cups ginger ale, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups cranberry juice, chilled
  • Crushed ice


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries and water and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the cranberries pop and split. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Let cool to room temperature (or chill in the refrigerator).
  2. In a 2-quart pitcher, pour in the cranberry mixture. Add the apple cider, ginger ale, lemon juice and cranberry juice. Mix.
  3. Serve in cups with crushed ice.

Recipe Source: inspired by this recipe from Martha Stewart and this one from How Sweet Eats and this one from Betty Crocker

17 Responses to Sparkling Cranberry Apple Cider Punch

  1. Ellen says:

    Ya, that would be my kids too, so don’t feel bad! And that punch! Lately I’ve been craving the Cranberry Sprite pop, but I imagine this punch will be only a trillion times better:)

  2. Laurel says:

    I am totally trying this. We have a big bottle from Costco of cranberry juice I’ve been looking for other ways to jazz up. this sounds heavenly! Thanks for another winner!!

  3. Angela says:

    Hi Mel,
    I’m curious – what’s on your Christmas Eve menu? And Christmas day? Please share!
    Happy Holidays!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Angela – good question! 🙂 We usually do lasagna (the classic Italian lasagna on my site and then usually one other one – this year my 8-year old is begging for seafood lasagna) on Christmas Eve with a yummy salad (probably the new pear one I posted a few weeks ago) and breadsticks and then creme brûlée for dessert. Christmas Day is pretty simple around here. I’m going to make the Brown Sugar Baked Ham in advance and pull it out on Christmas day to eat with rolls (probably in late afternoon). We always do cinnamon rolls for breakfast (this year I’m doing the new cinnamon twists I just posted) and I’m posting a recipe for the eggs we eat on Christmas morning too. Then after we open presents I pull out a big (super easy!) spread of crackers, cheese and fruit.

  4. Paige says:

    This looks so refreshing and delicious! I wish I was sipping on some right now!


  5. Jen says:

    Tried this today to have with dinner. It was very good although next time I will only put 1/4 cup sugar vs a half. My 3 year old loved it!

  6. Caiit says:

    I made the How Sweet Eats one for Thanksgiving and LOVED it! My kids may not have been as big of a fan of the spiced syrup, but I’m a flavor junkie and it felt like a fancy mocktail. This version looks more kid-friendly 🙂

  7. Susan says:

    YUM!! Perfect for my Christmas Eve gathering – so glad I stumbled on your recipe!

  8. Juanita says:

    I just made this punch and it looks like a dirty reddish brown instead of the pretty red that yours looks like. Any ideas why??

  9. Jen T says:

    Made this tonight for a Christmas party and it was a hit! So good! Thanks Mel!

  10. Holly says:

    This looks really refreshing! This will defiantly be on the menu for tonight!

  11. Linda_C says:

    This sounds so good. Did you use actual cranberry juice or a “cranberry juice cocktail” (like Ocean Spray’s brand, for example)?

  12. Jill Angell says:

    had this for Christmas dinner. everybody loved it!

  13. Gail says:

    Absolutely delicious and beautiful punch. A big hit on christmas eve, but kids take out the berries.

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