Christmas Cocktails: Spiced Christmas Punch

How to make the Spiced Christmas Punch, a delicious Christmas cocktail that needs advance preparation but is well worth making.

Spiced Christmas Punch

The Spiced Christmas Punch (aka Santa Pants Punch) is our own creation. It has bourbon as the base spirit and comes laced with a rich syrup with all the flavours of Christmas. It’s a delicious holiday punch and an ideal choice when deciding what drinks to serve during the festive season and preparing cocktails for a crowd.

Making the Spiced Christmas Punch requires a little patience and advance preparation but it’s not difficult to achieve even for the home bartender. Simply follow the detailed instructions and take note of the timing of each step.

The first step is to create a spiced oleo saccharum with lemon and orange peel and Christmas spices such as clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and star anise. The next step involves turning the oleo into a syrup by adding port, fresh ginger and leaving it to infuse for 12 hours before straining and bottling. Port adds a rich, fruity note to the syrup and complements the spice notes while the fresh ginger gives the syrup a little more bite. The third step is to prepare the garnish by dehydrating the leftover citrus peel in the oven at low temperature and/or making dehydrated orange wheels.

The day before serving the punch, fill a plastic ice cream container with water and freeze it. A big block of ice will keep the punch chilled and dilutes at a much slower rate than ice cubes.

The Spiced Christmas Punch is best assembled just before serving. In a punch bowl, add a large block of ice, bourbon, spiced syrup, fresh lemon juice then gently stir in the ginger beer. The recipe below makes approximately 10 drinks and can easily be scaled up or down.

Spiced Christmas Punch Recipe (aka Santa Pants Punch)

Recipe by Cocktails & Bars

(serves approx 10)


For the Punch

  • 1x bottle (700ml) bourbon
  • 175 ml spiced port syrup*
  • 115 ml lemon juice
  • 1050 ml ginger beer

For the Spiced Port Syrup

  • peel of 1.5 lemons, white pith removed
  • peel of 3 oranges, white pith removed
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1/2 nutmeg, crushed
  • 2 cloves, bruised
  • 2 star anise, bruised
  • 1 cinnamon quill, bruised
  • 200 ml port
  • 2 thin discs of fresh ginger
  • splash of vodka (optional)

Equipment You Need

  • large glass jar with a tight fitting lid
  • cheese cloth
  • strainer
  • funnel
  • swing top glass bottle

Glassware: punch bowl and cups
Garnish: dehydrated orange wheels, or dehydrated lemon and orange peel from spiced syrup


For the Spiced Port Syrup

  1. In a small pan, lightly toast the bruised cardamom pod, cracked nutmeg, clove and star anise to release their aromas.
  2. In a large glass jar with a lid, combine the lemon and orange peel with caster sugar and spices to make oleo saccharum. Stir together, put the lid on the jar, shake well and leave for 24 hours, stirring the mixture every now and then.
  3. Add the port and stir to mix well. Leave to infuse for 12 hours or overnight.
  4. Strain the liquid through a cheese cloth and keep the solids.
  5. Bottle the syrup and store in the fridge until needed. It keeps for approximately 2 weeks. Add a splash of vodka to preserve it for up to one month. Makes approximately 300 ml.
  6. Using a dehydrator or an oven on low temperature, spread the used citrus peel and spices on a tray and dehydrate to use as garnish.

For the Punch

In a punch bowl, combine bourbon, spiced syrup and lemon juice. Stir well. Add ginger beer and gently stir the mixture. Garnish with dehydrated orange wheels or dehydrated citrus peel.

Photo by Cocktails & Bars – © Copyright: All rights reserved.

Christmas Cocktails: Spiced Christmas Punch was last modified: December 14th, 2017 by Corinne Mossati
Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of Cocktails & Bars and popular online magazine Gourmantic. She is named in the Australian Bartender Magazine Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The World’s 50 Best Bars Academy who judges the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions. Read the full bio here.