Warm Witch's Brew Recipe | Zero Proof

Christianne Winthrop

Whether you're taking to the streets or staying home to pass out candy, try stirring up a witch's brew in your cauldron this Halloween. Made with equal parts pomegranate and cranberry juices, this deliciously dark (but alcohol-free) concoction is perfect for sipping between trips to the front door or packed into a Thermos for a spooky night out with candy-seeking trick-or-treaters.

The secret to this warm brew is in the spice mixture—a slight variation on Chinese five spice that with a bit of fresh ginger and black pepper. Peppercorns might seem like an unusual choice for a sweet drink, but it adds a subtle warmth that is delightfully complex when mixed with the cinnamon and star anise.

I like to use unsweetened cranberry juice, which you can find in natural and health food stores and most well-stocked supermarkets, because it allows me to control the sweetness. However, if you're having trouble finding it, feel free to substitute sweetened cranberry juice and decrease the amount of simple syrup.

While this drink really doesn't need a garnish, an orange slice makes for a bright and colorful addition. You could also use eye of newt if you have some lying around.

Recipe Facts

Active: 5 mins
Total: 35 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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For the Simple Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 cup sugar

For the Warm Witch's Brew:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cranberry juice

  • 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice

  • 1 orange

  • 10 whole cloves

  • 2 star anise

  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

  • 5 black peppercorns, lightly cracked

  • 1 piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/4" chunks

  • Orange slices and star anise to garnish, if desired


  1. For the simple syrup: Combine sugar and water in the sauce pot and bring to a boil. Stir and let simmer until sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Pour into a separate container and set aside.

  2. For the Warm Witch's Brew: Pour juices into the sauce pot. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the outermost layer of zest from the orange, being careful not to get the bitter white pith. Add zest to the juices in the pot. Save orange to slice and use for garnish if desired.

  3. Add all of the spices and fresh ginger to the pot and let simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

  4. Remove the pot from the heat, add 1/2 cup simple syrup and stir. Pour the juice through a sieve into thermal pitcher or punchbowl and taste for sweetness. Add more simple syrup if desired. Serve warm, with desired garnishes.

Special equipment

2 quart saucepot, vegetable peeler, sieve

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
165 Calories
1g Fat
42g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 165
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 13mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 40g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 11mg 56%
Calcium 29mg 2%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 300mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)