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Vanilla-Pear Holiday Punch

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naturally sweetened punch recipe

This holiday punch is unlike any I’ve ever had, and I think you’re going to love it. It’s not too sweet. It tastes like pear, vanilla, spice and everything nice. It’s a smooth, easy sipper, even with tequila inside. Yep, tequila!

This pitcher of cocktails was inspired by an oldie but goodie, my Pear Nectar Cocktails with Reposado Tequila. That cocktail is proof that simple ingredients can yield a delightfully complex cocktail. If you’re just making one or two drinks, follow that recipe instead.

You won’t need any fancy liqueurs for this holiday punch recipe, just some pear juice, reposado tequila, plus a few basic ingredients—lemon juice, club soda, cinnamon and vanilla extract.

holiday punch ingredients

I know we’re skipping the holiday parties this year, but I just couldn’t keep this recipe to myself until next December. If you’d like to batch some cocktails for your family, this punch is just the ticket.

Or you could drop off a jar of cocktails with friends or neighbors to share some holiday cheer. I wrote the recipe to yield eight drinks and you can divide or multiply as you’d like.

holiday punch recipe

Christmas Punch Ingredients

Pear Juice or Pear Nectar

I like Ceres brand of pear juice and R.W. Knudsen’s pear nectar. I can’t tell much difference between the two, so I don’t think “nectar” is categorically different from “juice.” Buy what you can find.

Reposado Tequila

Reposado tequila tastes quite a bit different from the blanco tequila used in margaritas. Reposado is Spanish for rested, which means that reposado tequila is aged for a short time (between two months and a year) in oak barrels. Bourbon is also aged in oak barrels, so naturally, bourbon and reposado tequila share some of the same oaky flavors. Reposado tequila is just more mellow.

Since we’re making a whole pitcher of drinks, yes, I’d say this cocktail is absolutely worth buying a bottle of reposado tequila for if you don’t have it at home. If you have a favorite bourbon, that’ll do, too.

Club Soda or Sparkling Water

Fizzy water offers some hydration and bubbles, both welcome additions in a cocktail.

Fresh Lemon Juice

Lemon juice really brings this cocktail to life.

Honey Simple Syrup

Pure honey doesn’t stir into ice-cold drinks very well, so we’ll make honey simple syrup. It’s super easy. We’ll just warm equal parts honey and water until the honey blends into the water. We’re using a small amount of honey simple syrup, almost more for the honey flavor than the sweetness itself.

Vanilla Extract & Ground Cinnamon

Just a tiny amount of two common baking ingredients makes this punch taste like the holidays!

Garnish with Fresh Lemon Rounds, Rosemary & Cranberries

The rosemary and cranberries are more for a festive appearance than for flavor. You could get by with one or the other, if you’re in a pinch.

holiday punch with cranberries and rosemary

Holiday Punch Variations

  • Swap bourbon for the tequila, to suit your preferences (I like tequila a bit better).
  • Omit the club soda or replace it with dry bubbly, if you dare.
  • Omit the cranberries for a cool-weather party drink suitable for game days, birthdays and the like.
  • Omit the honey simple syrup for a less sweet drink, though we aren’t using much as it is. With or without it, this drink is naturally sweetened.

pouring holiday punch

Please let me know how your drinks turn out in the comments! I love hearing from you and hope you’re enjoying the holiday season. It really snuck up on me this year.

festive holiday punch recipe

Vanilla-Pear Holiday Punch

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 drinks 1x
  • Category: Cocktail
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: American

Make this pear punch for your holiday get-togethers! It’s not too sweet, but full of cheer. Recipe yields 8 cocktails (about 48 ounces total). Divide or multiply the recipe as necessary (for a single serving, follow this recipe).


Scale

Ingredients

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 24 ounces (3 cups) pear juice or pear nectar (I like Ceres or R.W. Knudsen brands)
  • 12 ounces (1 ½ cups) reposado tequila (I like Espolón or Milagro)
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) club soda or sparkling water
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey simple syrup*
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Suggested garnishes: Lemon rounds, short fresh rosemary sprigs, ½ cup fresh cranberries
  • Ice cubes, for serving

Instructions

  1. Place the cinnamon into your pitcher or punch bowl. Add a splash of the pear juice and whisk until the cinnamon is mixed into the liquid.
  2. Pour in the remaining pear juice, tequila, club soda, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the honey simple syrup, and the vanilla extract. Gently stir to combine. Taste, and add the remaining simple syrup if you desire a sweeter or more mellow drink.
  3. Garnish as desired. Pour individual servings into glasses filled with ice. Cheers.

Notes

Recipe adapted from my Pear Nectar with Reposado Tequila.

*How to make honey simple syrup: We have to turn honey into simple syrup because it won’t stir into the liquid well on its own. Simply combine 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon water in a small, microwave-safe bowl or your smallest saucepan. Warm the mixture over low heat in the microwave or on the stovetop, just until you can stir the honey into the water. That’s it.

Change it up: Want it more boozy? Add more tequila. Outside of the holidays, simply omit the cranberries for a delicious drink that works from fall through winter. Alternative garnish options include cinnamon sticks and thin slices of pear (like this).

Make it vegan: Omit the honey, or substitute half as much maple syrup for the honey simple syrup. Verify that your choice of liquor is vegan.

▸ Nutrition Information

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. See our full nutrition disclosure here.

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