3 Healthy(er) Punch Recipes For the Holidays

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This holiday season, chances are high you’ll find yourself drinking a festive punch at some point. While punches can be delicious, they’re often weighed down by sugary mixers.

To save yourself the fate of drinking a calorie-laden mystery punch, try making it yourself. A good punch can be a great addition to any party, and because you can make it ahead of time, you’ll be free to enjoy the festivities with your guests.

For some pro tips on crafting a healthier holiday punch this year, we enlisted Elliot Clark, the man behind Apartment Bartender and a co-founder of Earn Your Booze, which encourages people to “earn” their drinks by living a fit and healthy lifestyle. See below for his punch-making tips, and keep reading for three recipes to try yourself.

5 TIPS FOR HEALTHIER HOLIDAY PUNCH

Bottled cranberry juice is barely juice, and sweet and sour is not a substitute for real citrus. So, whenever fruit is concerned, go the DIY route. “Juicing your own fruit might be an inconvenience, but using fresh-squeezed juice instead of store-bought juice makes a big difference in terms of taste and quality,” says Clark.

“Some of the best cocktails use fresh herbs like mint, rosemary, basil, sage, etc.,” says Clark. “Not only do they add different flavor profiles to a cocktail, they each also come with their own health benefits.”

Topping a punch with Sprite or another sweet mixer is a classic holiday move — but not a healthy one. You can get that same effect without all the sugar by turning to your trusty pal, water. “Holiday punches always benefit from a little added effervescence. Instead of using sugary options, opt for soda water or other sparkling water options,” suggests Clark.

“Just because you make a holiday punch, doesn’t mean that has to be the only thing you drink,” says Clark. He advises staying hydrated by drinking water throughout your holiday get togethers. A good rule of thumb is to have one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume. That will not only help you stay hydrated and ward off hangovers, but will also slow down your drinking.

“It’s easy to let the consumption get out of hand during the holidays,” says Clark. It’s even easier to lose track of serving sizes and consumption when you’re dipping into a delicious bowl of punch. “Just be aware of how much you’re imbibing, and limit yourself to one or two punch cocktails.”

COOPER & THIEF HOT TODDY
by Elliot Clark

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces hot water
  • 3 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce spiced wine syrup (see recipe below)

Directions

Combine bourbon, lemon juice and spiced syrup in a mug. Top with 4 ounces hot water and stir. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and lemon wedge. Multiply above ingredients to serve a crowd.

*Spiced Wine Syrup

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces red wine blend
  • 4 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1–2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1–2 star anise pods

Directions

In a saucepan, lightly simmer wine with broken cinnamon sticks and star anise until warm. Add equal part sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and strain.

POM POM PUNCH
By Jesse Powell

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces tequila
  • 1 bottle pinot noir
  • 9 ounces pear brandy
  • 8 ounces fresh orange juice
  • 2 ounces ginger beer
  • Orange wheels
  • Pear slices
  • Apple slices

Directions

Add all ingredients into pitcher or carafe and mix to combine. Pour over ice, garnish with fruit and serve.

THE HIPPOCRAS PUNCH 
By Sebastien Derbomez

Ingredients

  • 4 parts dry white wine
  • 2 parts gin
  • 1 part chamomile tea
  • 1 1/4 parts caster sugar
  • 1/2 pineapple, chopped
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 orange peels
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper

Directions

Multiply the liquid ingredients by however many guests you’re serving. Then combine all of the ingredients in a small pot and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Pour into a teapot and serve hot. Garnish with a pineapple slice.

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