Simple Party Punch (Can be made Sugar Free!)


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With New Years Eve upon us, I thought this would be a great time to bring you an old fashioned, super simple punch recipe that is suitable for everyone. If you are hosting a party, having this punch on hand in addition to your other preparations would be a very gracious and welcoming gesture because….

Time to state the obvious but not obvious here : not everyone drinks alcohol. I used to think that most folks knew this was a given but more and more I find myself at places where people just assume everyone does. This is especially true, in my personal experience nowadays, with wine. I realize wine is a big thing right now. I realize it has been a “big thing” for centuries, but that doesn’t mean everyone enjoys it. Chitlin’s have been a “big thing” for centuries, too, but I’m not gonna put a plate of them up in your face when  you come to my house and expect you to eat them.

There are a whole slew of reasons why someone might choose not to drink alcohol, and those of us who don’t are surely happy with a glass of water, but it is always a gracious gesture to have an alternative to alcohol at a gathering – and this recipe for that gesture is DELICIOUS! :)

This is a I’ve been making since I was a teenager that is easily customizable. Today I’m going to show you how to make it using Splenda and Sprite Zero. This significantly cuts out the sugar and leaves the only remaining sugars to be the natural sugars in the pineapple juice. You can also use full sugar Sprite (or 7-Up, or the like) and real sugar if you like, or an artificial sweetener of your choice (I love Ideal brand sweetener when I can find it).

Now let’s talk about New Year’s Eve. I can tell you right now that I’ve got BIG plans with a capital B!

You see, my mother always said that whatever you were doing at midnight is what you’d be doing all year long. So every year, like clockwork when that ball dropped in Time’s Square, I knew exactly where my hard working mother could be found: Snoozing away, dead asleep in her bed.

My Mama has always been a smart lady. I’ve been out at midnight a handful of times in my life and have yet to find an experience that brought me more joy than avoiding the traffic and rawkus crowds and just snoozing away in the peace and warmth of my bed.

So guess where I’ll be when 2011 rolls into 2012? Yup. Dozing away. :)

OH! I forgot to tell you, the beauty of this punch is that you can change the flavor or color of it simply by changing one ingredient, and all that is required to make it is just pouring the ingredients into your punchbowl and stirring together. I served it on Christmas day to my entire extended family and everyone enjoyed it – not a drop was left!

Speaking of punch bowls, if you don’t have one now is the time to grab one in the stores! They are sometimes difficult to find throughout the year but pretty much every department and discount store stocks them around the holidays. You can generally get a pretty glass one with a ladle and eight glasses for under twenty dollars. Of course, if you’d like a more high end punchbowl, they’re certainly available. I’ve always wanted a pretty stainless steel one that looks like silver (without the maintenance) but I’m not ready to invest that much money in a single serving piece at this point in my life. A glass one suits me just fine :)

So you could head out today, buy the ingredients for this punch and a brand new punch bowl set for about $25.00.

You’ll need: Sprite Zero, Pineapple Juice, Splenda or sugar, and 2 packages of Kool Aid (or generic Kool Aid, like I’m using)

Nothing but the cheapest for my family! ~Grins~

You can also use 7-up or Ginger Ale if you like. I can’t drink ginger ale because it doesn’t like me :)

Pour your pineapple juice in a bowl. Add Kool Aid.

Add sugar (or Splenda)

Stir well.

Pour in Sprite. Gently stir again.

At this point, you can add an ice ring if you like. Instead of an ice ring, I just refrigerated all of my ingredients so the punch was good and cold. To make an ice ring, I’d make some kool aid ahead of time in whatever flavor you are using for the punch and put it in a jello mold or bundt pan. Freeze until firm and then dip just the bottom into warm water for five seconds before releasing it into your punch bowl.


 Can serve over ice, with an ice ring in it, or just serve cold!

  • 46 ounce can Pineapple Juice
  • 2 Liter Sprite Zero*
  • 2 Cups Splenda or Sugar
  • 2 packages flavored drink mix (such as Kool Aid)
  1. In punchbowl, pour pineapple juice. Add drink mix and sugar/Splenda. Stir until dissolved. Pour in Sprite and serve.
*Can use 7-up, Ginger Ale, or other clear carbonated beverage of your choice.

“What we do today, right now, will have an accumulated effect on all our tomorrows.”

– Alexandra Stoddard

Submitted by Christy Ryan. Thanks Christy (love your name)! Submit your quote by clicking here. 



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    • Carolyn Wilkerson says

      iI HAVE ALSO FROZEN fruit in fruit juie in a ring and floated it in the punch. I used to make one that was almost like alcoholic but wasn’t and it was the pineapple. It had frozen pineapple concentrate, limeaide in frozen and had 7 up or gingerale and then floated some orange and lime sherbet in it. I don’t recall if it also had orange juice or not but I think it did. I had so much punch and shrimp once when I was getting a little flu and was sick for over a week and it was a couple of years before I could eat shrimp or drink the punch, but it was fantastic punch. I should try to find that recipe again. I usually put fruit juice in the ring and floated cherries and orange slices in it. They did melt and had fruit floating in the punch and the sherbet had a foamy liquid on the top and it was really good. The pineapple did give it a kick though.
      Makes me wonder if this one does too. However this is much less expensive as it doesn’t use the fruits and the sherbet. I don’t even have my punch bowl anymore. I downsized and I got rid of everything I had stored in the shed for a couple of years.

  1. Linda says

    I am going to try this recipe. I have a big Mexican Fiesta every year and I provide tea, coffee and water. I do allow guest to bring their alcohol drinks if they like. I think the kiddos will love this. I really don’ t care for alcohol but sure have no issue if someone does. You are so right, when I go to those functions there is only water. Happy New Year to ll the Jordan’s.

  2. Sonya in FL says

    Midnight on New Year’s Eve usually finds me sleeping and my husband playing computer games! We were in Publix last night and my husband noted the champagne displays. I said, “Oh yeah, I forget that some people actually celebrate New Year’s!”

    I like wine, but my liver doesn’t so I drink maybe one glass at the most! I’ve never been anywhere that didn’t at least offer softdrinks for those who drink none or little.

  3. Sue says

    Christy, I’m with you on the alcohol thing. It seems be so accepted now and that one can’t even have a meal without it. I made a punch very similar to this for years at church — the only difference was 12 oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate (reconstituted) added and just one pack Kool Aid. I see folks occasionally from that church and they still talk about the “church punch”. So nice to have this to share and it seems to make an ordinary occasion a celebration when you serve it in punch bowl and cups!

  4. Sue says

    BTW, universal time is Greenwich Mean Time which translates midnight GMT to 6 PM Cental time. That’s when we celebrate. I can have folks come over at 5 or 5:30 to mingle and have appetizers. We can ring in the new year at 6 and then sit down to our meal of peas and greens and cornbread with whatever we want to go with it. Everyone seems to like it and it’s become a tradition for us! So fun with older folks or young kids who often aren’t into revelry at 12 M Cental time. I know I’m not! I’m under the covers, fast asleep~!

  5. says

    Thanks for the great recipe. I am going to be giving this one a try. I am right there with you about the alcohol for several reasons — we do not need it to have a good time, it makes you do stupid things, I have family members who are in recovery with years and years of sobriety, and most importantly, regarding my Christian faith, I would feel I am falling way short of where Jesus wants me to be. (I am just saying for me, what other folks do is between them and God). Anyway, thanks for the punch recipe. I will line this up on my island along with my Welch’s Sparkling Cider. :) Happy New Year!

  6. Nanee G says

    I’m with you Christy – I’ll sleep the old year out and the new year in, if I can sleep. You younger ladies may find when you hit menopause that sleep is harder to come by, so sleep while you can. I’m inclined to agree with a statement my dear Daddy used to say too – “anyone up past 9 o’clock, is up to no good.” Lord knows I’m too old to be up to no good now. Some days it takes more energy than I have to get up to something good!

    Wishing each and everyone of you a joyful, healthy and happy new year.

  7. Donna in SC says

    Love this Punch recipe! We drink mostly the generic brands of ‘Crystal Light’…whichever store brand you choose……so I am going to substitute 2 packets of one of those (omiting the KoolAid and Sweetener) when I host a large crowd (50) next month. Thanks for all the great recipes you share with us, and I wish for you and yours a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  8. Casey says

    I have made this punch for years but not usually on New Year’s. When my children were younger they each got to invite one friend (except the year when the boy my son wanted to invite had a twin, how do you invite just one?) to spend the night. I would make homemade pizza and other goodies. We would pile up in the living room and watch movies until midnight then we would stop the movie and watch the ball drop. My hubby and I usually turned in soon after and who knows how long the children stayed up. What better way to spend the year than with family, good friends and good food???

  9. elaine raye says

    I just wanted to mention that thrift shops often have punch bowl sets for under five dollars for the entire set. After the holidays might be a good time to get one as people often donate them rather than store them another year. Frequently one can get extra cups to supplement your existing set too. I LOVE THRIFT SHOPS.

  10. Carole says

    The best part about this recipe is that you can make the punch as it is and then provide vodka or gin “on the side” for those who want to add it. No worries about having two bowls of punch and someone getting the ‘wrong’ one by accident!

  11. Karen W says

    I like the idea of the vanilla ice cream in the glass before ladeling in the punch. I bet that would be great!

    I don’t like the taste of alcohol, not even wine (shudders…), so this punch looks like it might be good. Whenever I tell my buddies I’m hitting the hard stuff, they know I’m into the Sprite, lol.

    Thanks for another great recipe!

  12. Pam Sue says

    I make a similar punch for Christmas Eve, but it uses jello instead of Kool-Aid. Here’s the easiest part of keeping it cold. Make it a day (or more) ahead of time, ladle into zip freezer bags. I put one “batch” in 2 bags. I take them out a little while before serving, add the soda and you have wonderful icy slushes. My family like sherbet, so we add that. It is never leftover and I usually end up making more the next year.

  13. Becky says

    I make this same punch and put it in Gallon jugs in the freezer. Usually for 6 hours or until slushy. I shake it every couple of hours. We like it made with lemon-lime koolaide. When my boys were little they thought it looked like green slime ! Boy.. is it good!

  14. says

    Thanks for acknowledging the need for non-alcohol drinks at a gathering. I recently hosted a gathering which included no alcohol. My husband and I are non-drinkers and felt that since it was a breakfast meal, alcohol could be excluded. I found it tacky that my guests brought their own alcohol and slipped it into their own beverages. ugh!

    • Carole says

      I’ve got to agree with you there, Janice. My suggestion of alcohol on the side is for parties that are “mixed” drinkers and non-drinkers, including kids. But to bring your own to a party that is specifically non-drinking, and at breakfast even, that is just plain tacky.

  15. Sarah Jo Jackson says

    We’ve served a great punch during the holidays–very simple. Put vanilla ice cream in a punch bowl. Add eggnog and sprinkle a little nutmeg on top. You couuld use lighter ice cream and the light version of eggnog. So simple yet so decadent-tasting.

    • Gina says

      Hi Christy! Do you think this would taste good with strawberry ice cream or frozen yogurt instead of Kool aid? My kiddos can’t have artificial colors. Thanks so much! :) Can’t wait for your new book to come out. :)

      • says

        Hey Gina! The Koolaid gives it a wallop of flavor but replacing ice cream or frozen yogurt would give it mostly a different texture and little bit of flavor. It wouldn’t be the same recipe, but I do think it would still be good! I hope this helps!
        Another option is to find some dye free drink mix. I think an Earth Fare or sprouts type grocery store would have it. I’m not a Whole Foods gal but they may have something like that there, as well.

  16. Jamie says

    Here’s another good non- alcoholic punch that my husband’s grandparents would serve at the holidays. They had 5 children and tons of grandkids and great grand kids and they always had the big holiday dinners at their house. They are no longer with us, so we make sure to serve this when we have Christmas dinner. It is very easy: 2 cans of frozen fruit punch concentrate and 3 two liters of ginger ale. I’ve made it with 1 can and 2 two liters before and that works too. I’ve taken this to parties before and everyone asks for the recipe. Kids and adults like it.

  17. Lisa in Texas says

    I made this punch today for a retirement party at school. Just so you know … Mixed Berry Koolaid is NOT red. It’s blue. (and the party was about to start and I didn’t have time to go back to the store and get RED!!!) And when you put yellow pineapple juice in blue Koolaid — yep, you get this really nice TEAL color punch! It actually looked really nice with the yellow tablecloth, and they drank it gone, so you know it was good. But it was TEAL!! We did get a few comments on our “designer” punch.
    If you every find yourself needing teal punch, you know what to do! Haha!

  18. Sonja Welborn says

    Christy, I recall the only time my husband and I went out for New Year’s Eve. I bought a red velvet dress with sparkles that we didn’t have the money for, but since we had never been to a fancy dance on New Year’s Eve, we splurged. ( a lot) We drove a long time, couldn’t find a parking place, stood in line to pay for our ticket and get a stamp at the door, finally found an empty table, and wouldn’t you know someone whirled around and sat down on me ( drunk) just as I sat down and poured a drink on my beautiful dress! I started crying and we left! It was nothing like I had dreamed of. That was in 1970. Haven’t been out since!

  19. Jean Cowan says

    I totally agree with you about the alcohol & New Years Eve. We don’t drink alcohol and we like to stay home on New Years Eve. This punch will be great for showers & parties. I will print this for future use. Thank You, Christy!!

  20. Cynthia says

    I like to make this with lime Kool-Aid, and add a little almond flavoring. Makes it really special. When my children were small and I was an officer in the PTA I made it for all the officers meetings. When I run into people from those days they always mention the “PTA punch.”

  21. Melody P. says

    I am 13 weeks pregnant and even though I normally enjoy a little champagne on New Years Eve, that wasn’t an option for me. I made your punch recipe and it was delicious! Everyone enjoyed it and asked what was in it. I can’t wait to make it again, I just need to find a good excuse!

  22. Anita F. says

    I am in charge of food for a graduation reception and want to use this punch recipe. I need to know how many this recipe will serve. We are using 9 oz. cups.
    Any ideas? Thanks

  23. shelley says

    I don’t drink either…..I have no problem with anyone around me drinking, I just prefer to EAT my calories, not drink them!!! love a low calorie v*rg*n margarita! cranberry or strawberry…censored by me….hehe. went to a meet all the new neighbors party last Friday….beer or wine were all that was offered??? no thanks! just water….the host was puzzled…they were not prepared for just water….lol

  24. Vivian Foster says

    This punch looks great! I used to work at a school and our “go-to” punch was Cherry 7-up in a punch bowl! The kids thought it was extra special …. I guess you could put just about anything in a punch bowl and it would be festive! LOL

  25. MARSHA G says

    First off the picture of the family is simply GORGEOUS! Brady looks like his dad and Katie Rose like you. Such a beautiful family!!!!! Merry Christmas to the Jordan Family I truly hope your Christmas is filled with many blessings and enough beautiful memories to last a lifetime! I always call those beautiful memories mind movies as they can re-watched in your memory when you need a pick me up.

  26. Annette Crossley says

    Hi Christy, love your blog, i’m in the process of writing a cookbook of family favorites, do you have any ideas of how to get started? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank You!

  27. Amanda Patton says

    So I just have to tell you I served this punch at a baby shower that I hosted a few weeks ago. It got rave reviews and everyone loved it. I thought I was gonna make another batch but the shower was almost over so I didn’t but it was divine and I even had to give people the recipe. thank you!!! Have a great MLK day!

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