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Pour the apple juice (or pear nectar) into a medium saucepan. For spice bag, place the cinnamon sticks, 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 pitcher or punch bowl. Stir in vanilla extract (if using) and the Champagne (or seltzer). Add apple (or pear) slices and cranberries, if desired. Add ice just before serving.