Spice things up this fall with this Warm Mulled Cranberry Punch. It has all the rich, fragrant depth of mulled cider, but the cranberry juice adds a touch of tartness. Tip: This punch is also delicious chilled. If you like, add a little club soda or sparkling wine to make it fizzle.
|2||(64-oz) bottles cranberry juice|
|1||(12" x 12") piece cheesecloth, folded in half twice|
|1||6" piece butchers twine|
|24||whole allspice berries|
|Zest of 2 oranges, removed with a vegetable peeler|
|Zest of 2 lemons, removed with a vegetable peeler|
|⅔||cup dried cranberries|
|1||vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and scraped|
|Orange slices (optional garnish)|
|Lemon slices (optional garnish)|
Pour the cranberry juice into a large stockpot; set aside. Lay the cheesecloth on a flat surface and place the cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, cloves, zest of the oranges and lemons, dried cranberries, and the vanilla bean with its scrapings in the center. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth together and tie with twine. Place the sack in the pot of cranberry juice. Bring the juice to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat enough to maintain a slow simmer. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Keep simmering for 15–30 minutes, depending on the desired level of spice. To add even more spice-flavor, refrigerate the juice (when cool) overnight with the spice sack. Before serving, remove the sack and squeeze out the excess liquid. Warm the punch and pour it into mugs or wine glasses. Garnish each glass with an orange or lemon slice, if desired.