Recipe Royal: Christmassy Espresso Punch

Our Christmas Punch is a delicious hot drink with seasonal spices. The recipe breaks with tradition but still has a wonderfully spiced flavour and is perfect for keeping warm on those cold winter days.

Cinnamon, cloves and star anise are the spices of choice when the temperature outside drops below zero, replacing the fresh herbs we use in spring, summer and autumn. They don’t just grow in winter – these dried spices are available throughout the year, but their flavours are something that we mainly associate with winter, and especially Christmastime.

A classic punch with a twist

Cinnamon, cloves and other wintry spices are not only used in biscuits and brownies – they also add a touch of seasonal spice to drinks such as punch. A drink that is popular at Christmas markets, punch originates from India, and was brought to Europe by the sailors of the British East India Company in the seventeenth century. Traditional punch contains five key ingredients: the spirit arrack, sugar, lemon, tea and water. This is also where its name originates – the original name “panca” is Hindi for “five”.


Our recipe is a reinterpretation of the classic punch that remains true to the character of the historic original. We use brandy or cognac for the spirit base, and add a bit of seasonal flavour with cinnamon, cloves and an espresso syrup made with brown sugar and Café Royal Vanilla. Orange peel and cranberry juice are used in place of the lemon. This delicious drink is topped with plenty of whipped cream – we don’t do things by halves.

Ingredients for a Christmas Punch* (approx. 200 ml):

  • 40 ml Café Royal Vanilla
  • 40 g brown sugar
  • 30 ml brandy or cognac
  • 20 ml espresso syrup
  • 120 ml cranberry juice
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • Peel of half an orange
  • Cream (chilled)
  • Nutmeg

*) Ingredients for one portion. For more portions, simply multiply the amount of ingredients.

Preparation time:

  • Around 20 minutes


  • Kitchen scales
  • spoon
  • small knife
  • saucepan
  • sieve
  • cocktail shaker or whisk
  • punch glass or mug
  • nutmeg grater


Preparing the espresso syrup

  1. Mix the freshly brewed Café Royal Vanilla with the brown sugar.
  2. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. It will dissolve more quickly if you heat the mixture on the hob.


Preparing the punch

  1. Pour the espresso syrup and cranberry juice into a pan and add the cloves, cinnamon stick and orange peel.
  2. Simmer over a low to medium heat for 10 minutes until the flavour of the spices has infused into the liquid.
  3. Pour through a sieve into a warm punch glass or mug. Add the brandy or cognac.
  4. Whip the cream in a cocktail shaker or with a whisk for 30 seconds until it has a thicker consistency, and carefully place on top of the punch.
  5. Grate a little nutmeg over the cream to garnish.


Fancy a different flavour? Try making this delicious recipe using the Café Royal Caramel from our Flavoured Editions.

This spiced home-made punch is perfect to enjoy with a traditional Christmas singalong – or to help you survive it.

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