Steeping fresh cranberries with juice, raisins, and cinnamon sticks starts things off for this mulled punch. But additions of red wine, lemon, almond flavors, and orange liqueur build an evener richer depth of taste. As warming holiday beverages go, this one's a stunner.
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 bottle (48 oz., 6 cups) cranberry juice cocktail
1/2 cup raisins
4 to 6 cinnamon sticks (about 3 in.)
2 bottles (750 ml.) fruity dry red wine such as Gamay Beaujolais, or 6 cups apple juice and 2 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
About 3/4 cup orange-flavor liqueur such as Cointreau or triple sec (optional)
How to Make It
Sort cranberries, discarding bruised and decayed fruit. Rinse berries and put in a 5- to 6-quart pan; add cranberry juice cocktail, raisins, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil over high heat; cover and simmer on low heat to blend flavors, about 20 minutes.
Add wine and 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, to taste. Heat until steaming, 5 to 8 minutes; do not boil.
Add almond extract and orange liqueur; keep punch warm over lowest heat and ladle into cups or stemmed glasses.
For a nonalcoholic punch, replace red wine with apple juice and omit liqueur.