English Christmas Punch: A Warm Holiday Party Tradition

English Christmas Punch
Served warm, this English Christmas Punch is a great addition to any holiday party. Fotosearch / Getty Images
  • 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 27 servings
Ratings (5)

This English Christmas Punch recipe is a traditional warm drink that is perfect for holiday parties. It is easy to make and the mix of rum, red wine, and the tea of your choice is fantastic against the citrus fruits.

Use your favorite dark rum and red wine for the punch because almost all of them will do fine. The real decision here is in the tea. There are many options available though I would suggest something universal. Most green and black teas would work perfectly (Earl Grey is a great example). An orange-based tea would be nice as well.

There are two methods used to make this punch. One simply warms everything together and the other involves a little showmanship. If you choose to light a fire in a ladle full of rum, be sure to use caution. Definitely do not be near the Christmas tree!

For both types of service, you will want to make sure that both your punch bowl and glasses are suitable for warm drinks. Most heavy glass bowls will work, as will stainless steel bowls or chafing dishes. Avoid acrylic bowls because most cannot handle the heat.

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What You'll Need

How to Make It

The No-Flame English Christmas Punch

  1. Heat (but do not allow to boil) all of the ingredients in a saucepan or chafing dish.
  2. Stir well until all of the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Pour the heated mix into a heat-proof punch bowl and add seasonal fruits like orange slices and cranberries.
  4. Serve warm.

The Flamed English Christmas Punch

  1. Heat (do not allow to boil) the wine, tea, and lemon and orange juices in a saucepan or chafing dish.
  1. Pour the heated mix into a heat-proof punch bowl.
  2. Place as much sugar as possible into a large ladle and any excess sugar into the punch bowl.
  3. Saturate the sugar in the ladle with rum.
  4. Ignite the rum and sugar in the ladle and pour it into the bowl while still aflame.
  5. Stir well and extinguish the flames.
  6. Pour the remainder of the rum into the punch.
  7. Stir well, ensuring the sugar is completely dissolved.
  8. Serve warm.

How Strong is the English Christmas Punch?

This is an important question because holiday punch is notorious for creating, shall we say, spectacles at office parties and other affairs.

Dark rum can be tricky because there are a number of over-proof rums available (these are best for flaming). For this scenario, we will do a comparison.

  • If using an 80-proof dark rum like Goslings Black Seal along with a 10% ABV red wine, then the punch would be around 19% ABV (38 proof).
  • If using an entire bottle of 151-proof dark rum with that same wine, the punch would be much stronger at 27% ABV (54 proof).
  • A happy medium can be found if we use 1 cup of 151 proof rum to get a great flame and use an 80-proof rum for the punch base. In this instance, the punch would come out to be about 21% ABV (42 proof).

As you can see, the rum you choose is going to make a significant difference and you may want to make some wise choices if Sam from accounting tends to go overboard at the holiday office party. In any case, this is not the lightest punch you can mix up.