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Sparkling Christmas Punch

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            • 4 cups apple juice
            • 4 sticks cinnamon
            • 1 t. vanilla or 1 vanilla bean, split
            • 6 whole cardamom pods, broken
            • 2 – 12 oz bottles lemon-lime carbonated water
            • 1 large apple cored and sliced



Pour the apple juice into a medium saucepan. For spice bag, place the stick cinnamon, vanilla bean (if using), and cardamom on a double-thick, 6-inch-square piece of 100%-cotton cheesecloth. Bring up corners; tie with string. Add spice bag to juice. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool and refrigerate at least 4 hours or until thoroughly chilled.


Before serving, remove spice bag and discard. Pour juice into a large punch bowl . Stir in vanilla extract (if using) and the champagne or carbonated water. Add apples and cranberries, if desired. Add ice just before serving. Makes 14 (4-ounce) servings.

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