This holiday punch is unlike any I’ve ever had, and I think you’re going to love it. It’s not too sweet. It tastes like pear, vanilla, spice and everything nice. It’s a smooth, easy sipper, even with tequila inside. Yep, tequila!
This pitcher of cocktails was inspired by an oldie but goodie, my Pear Nectar Cocktails with Reposado Tequila. That cocktail is proof that simple ingredients can yield a delightfully complex cocktail. If you’re just making one or two drinks, follow that recipe instead.
You won’t need any fancy liqueurs for this holiday punch recipe, just some pear juice, reposado tequila, plus a few basic ingredients—lemon juice, club soda, cinnamon and vanilla extract.
I know we’re skipping the holiday parties this year, but I just couldn’t keep this recipe to myself until next December. If you’d like to batch some cocktails for your family, this punch is just the ticket.
Or you could drop off a jar of cocktails with friends or neighbors to share some holiday cheer. I wrote the recipe to yield eight drinks and you can divide or multiply as you’d like.
Christmas Punch Ingredients
Pear Juice or Pear Nectar
I like Ceres brand of pear juice and R.W. Knudsen’s pear nectar. I can’t tell much difference between the two, so I don’t think “nectar” is categorically different from “juice.” Buy what you can find.
Reposado tequila tastes quite a bit different from the blanco tequila used in margaritas. Reposado is Spanish for rested, which means that reposado tequila is aged for a short time (between two months and a year) in oak barrels. Bourbon is also aged in oak barrels, so naturally, bourbon and reposado tequila share some of the same oaky flavors. Reposado tequila is just more mellow.
Since we’re making a whole pitcher of drinks, yes, I’d say this cocktail is absolutely worth buying a bottle of reposado tequila for if you don’t have it at home. If you have a favorite bourbon, that’ll do, too.
Club Soda or Sparkling Water
Fizzy water offers some hydration and bubbles, both welcome additions in a cocktail.
Fresh Lemon Juice
Lemon juice really brings this cocktail to life.
Honey Simple Syrup
Pure honey doesn’t stir into ice-cold drinks very well, so we’ll make honey simple syrup. It’s super easy. We’ll just warm equal parts honey and water until the honey blends into the water. We’re using a small amount of honey simple syrup, almost more for the honey flavor than the sweetness itself.
Vanilla Extract & Ground Cinnamon
Just a tiny amount of two common baking ingredients makes this punch taste like the holidays!
Garnish with Fresh Lemon Rounds, Rosemary & Cranberries
The rosemary and cranberries are more for a festive appearance than for flavor. You could get by with one or the other, if you’re in a pinch.
Holiday Punch Variations
- Swap bourbon for the tequila, to suit your preferences (I like tequila a bit better).
- Omit the club soda or replace it with dry bubbly, if you dare.
- Omit the cranberries for a cool-weather party drink suitable for game days, birthdays and the like.
- Omit the honey simple syrup for a less sweet drink, though we aren’t using much as it is. With or without it, this drink is naturally sweetened.
More Holiday Cocktails to Enjoy
Please let me know how your drinks turn out in the comments! I love hearing from you and hope you’re enjoying the holiday season. It really snuck up on me this year.
Vanilla-Pear Holiday Punch
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 8 drinks 1x
- Category: Cocktail
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: American
Make this pear punch for your holiday get-togethers! It’s not too sweet, but full of cheer. Recipe yields 8 cocktails (about 48 ounces total). Divide or multiply the recipe as necessary (for a single serving, follow this recipe).
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 24 ounces (3 cups) pear juice or pear nectar (I like Ceres or R.W. Knudsen brands)
- 12 ounces (1 ½ cups) reposado tequila (I like Espolón or Milagro)
- 8 ounces (1 cup) club soda or sparkling water
- 4 ounces (½ cup) lemon juice
- 1 to 2 tablespoons honey simple syrup*
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Suggested garnishes: Lemon rounds, short fresh rosemary sprigs, ½ cup fresh cranberries
- Ice cubes, for serving
- Place the cinnamon into your pitcher or punch bowl. Add a splash of the pear juice and whisk until the cinnamon is mixed into the liquid.
- Pour in the remaining pear juice, tequila, club soda, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the honey simple syrup, and the vanilla extract. Gently stir to combine. Taste, and add the remaining simple syrup if you desire a sweeter or more mellow drink.
- Garnish as desired. Pour individual servings into glasses filled with ice. Cheers.
Recipe adapted from my Pear Nectar with Reposado Tequila.
*How to make honey simple syrup: We have to turn honey into simple syrup because it won’t stir into the liquid well on its own. Simply combine 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon water in a small, microwave-safe bowl or your smallest saucepan. Warm the mixture over low heat in the microwave or on the stovetop, just until you can stir the honey into the water. That’s it.
Change it up: Want it more boozy? Add more tequila. Outside of the holidays, simply omit the cranberries for a delicious drink that works from fall through winter. Alternative garnish options include cinnamon sticks and thin slices of pear (like this).
Make it vegan: Omit the honey, or substitute half as much maple syrup for the honey simple syrup. Verify that your choice of liquor is vegan.
This looks great, just in time for Christmas. I’m excited to make it!
I hope you love it, Mandy!
You could float a cinnamon stick or two in the water for a festive look and to underscore the cinnamon flavor.
This sounds delicious! Think it would still taste good without the tequila for my pregnant sister in law? Maybe just add a little more club soda for hers?
Hi Abby! You could for sure try it. Let me know. Maybe try some mineral water.
Sounds and looks so yummy! I will definitely try this. You could also use agave syrup for a vegan version. I’ve used it before in a pinch when I don’t have simple syrup at the ready. It especially works nicely in tequila cocktails. :-)
Ordering ingredients for delivery right now, looking forward to trying this for sure.
Be sure to comment when you try it, Shelby! I hope you love it.
DE-licious!! I just made the single serving to try it out for tomorrow. It will be the “signature cocktail” for our very subdued 2020 family Christmas dinner. I will definitely be making a pitcher! I am in the process of making frosted cranberries (so beautiful!) and also have the rosemary sprigs ready. I will post a pic on instagram. Thanks for this wonderful recipe Kate, and happy holidays to you!
Thank you! I’m delighted you loved it.
Made it tonight for our Christnas eve family time and a virgin version for my kids. So wonderful! Sent a jar to a neighbor friend and got rave reviews. Will be making this for years to come. I did sub in bourbon because that’s what I had. Such a beautiful drink either way. Thank you!!
I love that! Thank you for your review, Malia.
Hi Malia, I was reading your post re the Vanilla- Pear cocktail, how did your virgin version turn out ? I’m looking to make a virgin for this years dinner. Thank you in advance . Pat
Pat, I had the virgin version along with the kids because I don’t drink. It was delicious!! Hope you enjoy. :)
These were delicious! Made a pitcher to have with Christmas dinner. Everyone loved them!
Hooray! That’s great to hear. Thank you for commenting, Karen.
Made this for Christmas dinner – so delicious, everyone loved it!
Wonderful, Anni! Thank you for your review.
Made this for just my husband and I, so I halved the recipe. He typically doesn’t love cocktails or tequila but he liked it! I really love how smooth it is.
Thank you for sharing! I’m glad it went over well, Jamie.
We made this (sort of!) for Christmas Eve. I couldn’t get pear juice so used orange juice that we had in the fridge, and my husband reluctantly allowed his precious Angels Envy to be used. I’m sure pear juice would have been more subtle, but it was still GOOOOOD!
I’m glad you loved it! Thank you for your review, Kate.
this is making me drool! any plans for a 2nd book? (sorry if you get asked this a lot)
Hi! Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t have one planned at the moment.
Very tasty with a nice blend of ingredients. I enjoyed this cocktail very much. It isn’t too sweet and the pear juice is interesting. I will say though, that I found the taste of cinnamon slight overpowering. The next time I make it, I will put 1/8 teaspoon instead of the recommended 1/4 teaspoon. Otherwise, a lovely drink which I am enjoying as I type. 4.5/5
This has to be our new FAVORITE cocktail!
Thank You so much Kate and Happy New Year!!
Yay! Cheers to a healthy and happy 2021, Alexandra!
This was a big hit over the holidays and I had a bit of leftover pear juice and patron so just made it again….Christmas in January? Smooth, complex, delicious and not too sweet. This is another keeper.
I think this makes a great drink in January too! Thank you for sharing, Paula.
This is what I’m looking for this holiday season! I’ll be doing this recipe and let my friends and family taste it.
where are these glasses from ?
Hi Lisa! They are vintage. But Crate & Barrel and West Elm have a lot of great options.
Please tell me where to find the glasses you use for the Vanilla-Pear Holiday Punch picture. I love them and haven’t been able to find them online.
Love this recipe!! the Punch looks so delicious and I can’t wait to try it!
Hi! I believe these ones are vintage. Sorry!
Julie B. Dunn
I made this punch “with tequila” and “without”. Both versions so good! I used the maple syrup because I was too lazy to do the simple honey. Next time (and I KNOW there will be a next time!) I will use the honey. I usually hate punches at parties because they are so sweet. This one is refreshing, festive and really yummy. Thank you for another great recipe. I can’t believe how good you are at so many different types of recipes!
Thank you for sharing! I’m glad it was enjoyed both ways.
Did a practice round this weekend to figure out if we wanted tequila or bourbon. Also did we want to use prosecco or clubs soda? They all tasted so good so we are going with all four options for Christmas Eve.
I love that you got creative! Thank you for your review, Shelly. Merry Christmas!
Just served it this evening and it was a hit! Really festive: I used the Rosemary and fresh cranberries as garnish following the recipe line by line. The hint if cinnamon and vanilla added warmth. I used tequila and a bit if bourbon since I didn’t have enough tequila. Really delicious!
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Elena! I appreciate your review.
Made this last year , instant holiday tradition. Everyone asking for it again this year . Love it!
That’s great, E! I’m glad you loved it.
Delicious holiday punch! All of the flavors are distinct – lemon, vanilla, cinnamon, pear – yet come together wonderfully. I made it non-alcoholic & placed the bottle of tequila nearby so folks could add as they liked. Everyone from teens to Grandma loved the punch!
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Lisa! I appreciate your review.
Flavoring for rims of glasses? I’m making this for a party in a few days and am looking to add an extra festive touch to the drink. What are some recommendations for flavoring for the rims of the glasses? Thanks!
This was a huge hit at our party! I did make a little too much, how long can it be kept in the refrigerator?
Hi! You can try to keep it in the fridge. Although, I haven’t tried storing it so I can’t say for sure. Sorry!
Made a batch of your Vanilla Pear Punch as a trial for our NYE party – will definitely use as our House Cocktail (doubling the vanilla & cinnamon;) A big winner! Thanks. Cheers
Great to hear, Ronda! Thank you for your review.