Hot cranberry orange cider is a delicious hot punch that is perfect for holiday parties in the Fall and Winter.
I love cranberries. I get so excited when I see them finally appear in our grocery store. Once Fall hits, I make a wide variety of cranberry foods. From cranberry-orange muffins to white chocolate and cranberry cookies, I love making things with cranberry. I’ve had this recipe for a few years and I’ve grown to love it. This recipe actually calls for cranberry juice which you can get year-round. However, I love to add a few whole cranberries to the punch when I serve it. We’ll get into all that later, but for now, let me tell you about this easy punch recipe.
We love entertaining around Christmas time. In fact, for the last seven years, I’ve been hosting Christmas for our family. I always set up an awesome hot chocolate bar that family and friends rave about! You can see my post on how to set up your own hot chocolate bar. I even have the best slow cooker hot chocolate recipe that you’ll ever try! Be sure to check those out before you leave.
How to Make Hot Cranberry Orange Cider
When I found this recipe years ago, it came with specific instructions to make over the stove. That is how I am going to share the recipe today, However, you can make the entire recipe in the slow cooker (e.g. crockpot) if you like. This recipe calls for several things, frozen concentrate and cinnamon imperials. Don’t know what those are? Cinnamon hard candy. Kind of like starlight mints except they are cinnamon flavored. You can find them at your local grocery store in the candy section.
This recipe calls for no actual sugar or cinnamon. Instead, it uses the sugar in the candies to sweeten the tart drink. The recipe instructions direct you to melt down the cinnamon candy by boiling it with the cranberry fruit cocktail which essentially turns the candies into a cinnamon syrup. Yes, the candies will still melt if done in the crockpot, but it will take a while. Until they are fully melted they can be a choking hazard, if someone doesn’t realize they are in there and they go for a cup before they are dissolved. Trust me, this can happen, even with adults. So I’d still recommend that you dissolve them on the stove. Then if desired you can transfer over to a crockpot afterward. I normally do just that, so the punch can stay warm as guests serve themselves. The recipe also calls for whole cloves, so you want to make sure you strain those out before serving. The stovetop method ensures your punch is ready in 30 minutes.
Serving Hot Cranberry Cider
When you serve it, you can serve it directly in your crockpot. I recommend providing a ladle and spoon rest so avoid your countertop or surface from getting sticky from the ladle. If you don’t want to serve it in a crockpot and want a more classy look, they sell chafing punch bowls on Amazon. They are way more sophisticated than crockpots for your holiday parties.
By the way, if you are using a crockpot, allow me to introduce you to my best friend. A couple of years ago I discovered the slow cooker liners and they are awesome. I don’t typically buy disposable stuff, but these are awesome especially around the holidays. During the holidays my crockpots are used almost on a daily basis. The only thing I hate about using them is all the soaking and scrubbing in between uses. This totally eliminates the need for both. Just take and toss when you are done and then wash your crockpot without the elbow grease.
When I serve it, I often serve it in my old depression glass punch bowl or in cute Santa mugs. These Santa mugs (below) are from Pottery Barn. They are exactly like my mother’s vintage ones in her kitchen. You can also put it in Mason jar mugs. Another favorite of mine. I serve the punch with whole cranberries which I put in the punch while being warmed and I garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Hot Cranberry Orange Cider
- 64 fl oz Cranberry Juice Cocktail
- 2 Cups Water
- ½ Cup Cinnamon Imperials (candy)
- 12 Whole Cloves
- ½ Cup Frozen orange juice concentrate
- ½ Cup Frozen lemonade juice concentrate
- Combine cranberry juice, water, cloves, and cinnamon candy into a large stockpot.
- Boil mixture until candies are fully dissolved. Reduce heat to low.
- Add lemonade and orange concentrates. Remove cloves.
- Transfer to a crockpot or heatproof serving bowl. Keep heat on low. Serve with heatproof mugs or punch cups. Garnish with cinnamon and whole cranberries if desired.