If you, like me, live outside Mexico, especially in the United States, and want to make Mexican Ponche for the holidays, this recipe is for you! As you well know, it can be difficult to get fresh Mexican fruits for this festive beverage, most especially guayabas and tejocotes (and my mom says if you don’t have tejocotes, it’s not ponche!). So this recipe is adapted to give you the rich flavor of ponche with ingredients that you can find in the USA.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying Mexican ponche before, I will tell you a bit about it. Ponche is an exquisite drink, warm and full of flavor. Generally, in Mexico, it’s prepared for Las Posadas (celebrations that go for 9 days before Christmas), Christmas, and sometimes for Three Kings Day. It’s not an alcoholic beverage, like many believe, but you can add a touch of rum or brandy when your serve it if you wish.
I’ve shared a recipe for ponche before, Mexican Christmas Ponche like we make it in Mexico, but by that was meant, if by chance, you had all the fresh ingredients straight from the produce market. This one today is adapted to be more user-friendly in the USA. Some ingredients like the guayabas and tejocotes in syrup you can find in the Hispanic foods aisle at your supermarket. I found these in a Food 4 Less store, they also are commonly found in Food Max stores. Vallarta Markets or other markets that serve Latinos are good possibilities, too. Look for the Tamarind in the Mexican spice section, generally they sell them in bulk.
A special recipe for those who live in the United States.
Serves approx 20 delicious cups
- 24 cups of water
- 2 cups of sugar
- 2 piloncillos (coned-shaped, mexican rock sugar) – you can substitute with 2 cups of brown sugar
- 7 apples, cored and chopped
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 cup of raisins (sometimes I use different types)
- 10 tamarind pods, peeled and seeded
- 20 tejocotes in syrup cut in half and seeded
- 1/2 cup of tejocote syrup
- 1 (800 gr / 1 lb 12 oz) can of guavas in syrup (also know as guyabas mexicanas)
- (My friend Hilda, from Guatemala, also adds pineapple and probably other delicious things, too)
Pour water into a very large pot and place on stove over high heat. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer for 30-40 minutes until the apples are cooked. Stir occasionally.
You can serve it immediately, however, I like to let it rest for a few hours to let the flavors combine, or even make it a day ahead of time. You can reheat it if you like, but it is also as tasty cool as it is hot.
¡Felices fiestas! Happy Holidays!