Ponche is a Mexican Christmas punch that’s served hot and full of the fruits and seasonings used to brew the batch.
This traditional holiday drink is sweet and comforting — most families have their own version of Ponche, adding or removing ingredients. You can add more piloncillo or water to make it more or less sweet.
- 1.5 gallons water
- 2 to 4 8 oz ea. piloncillo brown sugar (aka panela), to taste
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 cup dried jamaica hibiscus, lightly packed
- 1 cup of pitted prunes optional
- 1 cup raisins
- 15 tejocote aka Hawthorne apples, tops and bottoms trimmed
- 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
- 6 to 8 large guava halved
- 4 yellow apples such as Opal or Golden Delicious, quartered, cores removed
- 16 oz. peeled sugar cane cut into thin sticks
- 1 orange with peel sliced off so no white pith remains
- 4 to 5 tamarind pods aka Tamarindo, husked and cut into small pieces
- Add water to a large stock pot; cover and bring to a low boil over high heat. Add the piloncillo, cinnamon, jamaica and hibiscus. Reduce heat to medium-high and allow mixture to simmer until the piloncillo has dissolved. Optional: remove the hibiscus flowers.
- Add the prunes, raisins, tejocote, pineapple, guava, apples, sugar cane, orange and tamarind to the pot. Gently stir then cover and simmer for at least 30 to 40 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the fruit is mostly submerged.
- Serve ponche warm with a scoop of the fruits in the mug (warn those who partake that some of the fruits, such as the tejocote, contain seeds. Guava seeds are edible). If desired, top off the mug with rum or brandy.