This hot cranberry drink makes the perfect Christmas or Thanksgiving punch. Using the slow cooker makes the recipe super simple and not only does the flavor taste delicious, but your whole house will also be filled with the aroma of holiday spices. The presentation is absolutely beautiful and since it’s a mocktail, both kids and adults can enjoy it!
If you’ve had hot toddies in the past, you know they normally contain alcohol such as whiskey. But, today I am going to show you how to make a version the whole family can enjoy. To turn this recipe into a cranberry cocktail, you can use spiked apple cider in place of regular or add a few ounces of bourbon. Once you are finished and are looking for ways to use up the leftover cranberries, try my jello salad or sugared cranberries.
Need more holiday drink ideas? The Thanksgiving sangria is a good choice. It’s a little spicier because it uses ground allspice (contains cloves), ground cinnamon, and ginger, but still very tasty. Red wine sangria is a little more fruity and bold. For the kids, consider jazzing up hot cocoa with these fun hot chocolate bombs.
Why You’ll Love Hot Cranberry Punch
- Made in the slow cooker, so you can set it and forget it!
- The presentation is fantastic.
- All of the holiday flavors are combined into one hot drink.
- Can be served as a mocktail or as a spiced cranberry hot toddy.
What Ingredients do I Need for Hot Cranberry Drinks?
- frozen orange juice concentrate – or swap for regular orange juice
- apple juice or apple cider
- cranberry juice
- granulated sugar
- light brown sugar
- cinnamon sticks
- star anise
- whole orange
- fresh or frozen cranberries
- Orange slices, whole cranberries, star anise, and cinnamon sticks for garnish
Before You Start: Clean the oranges well and/or use organic fruit so that pesticides aren’t soaking in your punch!
How to Make Hot Cranberry Drinks in the Slow Cooker
PREP: Add the orange juice concentrate, sugar, sticks of cinnamon, and star anise to the crockpot. Pour in the apple and cranberry juice. Add the orange slices and cranberries, then cover.
COOK: Cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure the sugars dissolve.
SERVE: For the prettiest presentation, serve in glasses and garnish with extra fruit, star anise, and cinnamon sticks.
- If you are going to make half a batch, we still recommend using a full orange, 1 cup of cranberries, two cinnamon sticks, and star anise even if you reduce the sugar and juice.
- Remove the fruit and spices before serving. If they sit in the punch too long, the drinks will become overly spicy and the orange slices will be bitter. Garnish with fresh fruit and spices for individual servings.
- We love serving hot cranberry drinks, but they can be consumed cold as well.
- To make this a cranberry hot toddy recipe, add an ounce of bourbon to the glasses once they are served versus directly into the crock pot.
Did you know that cranberry is made up of 90% water? To make 1 pound, you would need 450 cranberries.
Remove the fruit and spices once the cooking time is up. Store the strained juice in the refrigerator for up to a week. Add fresh fruit, star anise, and cinnamon sticks to individual cups when you are ready to serve.
It really depends on what mixers are being used. Vodka, rum, bourbon, and brandy can all be mixed with cranberry juice to make a delicious drink with a few other ingredients.
Hot Cranberry Punch
- 6 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate or 2 cups orange juice
- 8 cups apple juice or apple cider
- 8 cups cranberry juice
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1-2 star anise
- 1 whole orange cut into slices
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- Orange slices whole cranberries, star anise, cinnamon sticks (for garnish)
- Add orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon sticks and star anise to the bottom of a slow cooker.
- Add the apple juice and cranberry juice to the crock. Add orange slices and cranberries and cover with the lid.
- Cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to ensure the sugars dissolve and disperse throughout the punch.
- Serve hot.