Holiday Punch

Lambrusco, Rosemary, and Citrus Punch

Lambrusco holiday punch in bowl with cups

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 2 mins
Chill Time: 12 hrs
Total: 12 hrs 12 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 Servings
Yield: 8 to 10 Servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
286 Calories
0g Fat
38g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 286
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 304mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 32g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 47mg 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 258mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Punch is a holiday party favorite for many reasons. Many punch recipes can be made ahead of time or have components that can be prepped ahead, sparing the host the stress of last-minute preparations. Punch also doesn't require someone to play bartender all night, allowing guests to serve themselves. Perhaps most importantly, there are fewer things more festive than a giant bowl of booze.

This jewel-toned holiday punch is perfect for your winter solstice party, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s gatherings, and any other wintery parties. Made with Lambrusco, Byrrh, and a spiced rosemary simple syrup, this recipe delivers rich, complex flavors and a gentle effervescence that will heighten the convivial spirit and give guests something to talk about.

For the curious, Lambrusco is a sparkling red wine from Italy's Emilia-Romagna region. Unlike many red wines, Lambrusco should be served chilled, making it ideal for a punch. I prefer a dryer Lambrusco for this recipe, but if you prefer sweeter drinks, you can use a sweeter Lambrusco and either reduce the simple syrup or keep it the same.

Byrrh, prounounced "beer," is a fortified wine that has also been aromatized with quinine. Quinine is derived from cinchona bark and you probably know it best as the ingredient that gives tonic water its bitter edge. Beyond quinine, byrrh is also flavored with orange and coffee, which add complexity and a distinct aroma. In this recipe, that subtle orange flavor is reinforced with orange liqueur.

This punch recipe easily doubles, as the simple syrup recipe provided is enough for two batches of punch. Otherwise, you can use the simple syrup to sweeten your morning coffee or to brush over cake layers and quick breads for added flavor and moisture.


For the Winter Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup light brown sugar

  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary

  • 6 cardamom pods, slightly smashed

  • 2 star anise

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • Zest of 1 orange

For the Punch:

  • 2 750mL bottles dry Lambrusco, such as Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Sorbara Vecchia Modena, chilled

  • 16 ounces Byrrh Grand Quinquina, chilled

  • 3 ounces Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur, chilled

  • 8 ounces chilled Winter simple syrup, or more or less to taste

  • 24 ounces (2 cans) club soda or tangerine flavored La Croix, chilled

Steps to Make It

Make the Winter Simple Syrup

  1. Gather the simple syrup ingredients.

    simple syrup ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Combine the water, brown sugar, rosemary, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, and orange zest in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

    simple syrup ingredients in sauce pan

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Whisk until the sugar dissolves and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

    simple syrup cooking over heat with wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely, leaving the rosemary, spices, and zest to steep in the pot as the syrup cools.

    simple syrup in pot off heat

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Place the cooled simple syrup in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use. Remove the rosemary, spices, and zest from the chilled simple syrup before use.

    simple syrup strained in glass container

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Make the Punch

  1. Gather the chilled ingredients.

    punch ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Combine the Lambrusco, Byrrh, orange liqueur, simple syrup, club soda, and cinnamon in a punch bowl.

    punch ingredients in punch bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Garnish with an ice mold or ice shards (see below) made using more of the same flavored sparkling water used in this recipe, and serve immediately.

    finished punch garnished with ice studded with cranberries, orange zest, and rosemary

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Ice Garnishes For Punch

Making the ice shards with the same flavored sparkling water used in this recipe will ensure that as the ice melts, the drink doesn’t get too watered down in flavor. Alternatively, you can use regular flat water. Stud with frozen cranberries, more fresh rosemary, and orange zest for color and flavor.

To Make Ice Shards:

  1. In a 15x10-inch baking pan place 1 cup whole cranberries, some orange peels, and/or fresh rosemary. Add enough orange or tangerine flavored sparkling water (not sweetened) to surround the garnishes, and just barely not cover the cranberries. Freeze for several hours or until firm.
  2. Use a mallet or rolling pin to break the ice into shards. Float shards in the punch bowl and/or place in the glasses surrounding the punch to serve.

What Is Byrrh Grand Quinquina?

Byrrh is quinine-infused aperitif (known as a quinquina) that drinks like a less-sweet cousin to port wine. It has notes of coffee, cocoa, and bitter orange. If you can’t find Byrrh brand, or another quinquina, you can substitute ruby port in this recipe. Because port is sweeter, start by reducing the simple syrup to 1/4 cup, taste, and add more until your desired sweetness is reached.

Sweet Lambrusco Variation

This recipe uses a dry Lambrusco, but any Lambrusco will work. Feel free to pull back on the amount of simple syrup you use at first and taste as you go, depending on how sweet your Lambrusco is and how sweet you want your punch to be.

Chill Punch Ingredients in Advance

To ensure a refreshingly cold punch, be sure to chill all of the ingredients in the fridge overnight prior to combining in your punch bowl.