My favorite beverage during Christmas is called Ponche or Mexican Christmas Punch. Many families in Mexico begin preparing it as soon as The Posadas begin (9 days before Christmas). It’s the perfect beverage for cold nights– sweet, delicious and warm. A couple of years ago, I shared a ponche navideño recipe made with tamarind0 and piloncillo. Today, I would like to share another recipe made with sugar and jamaica.
But before I do that, I want to share a secret I learned from one of my aunts. When buying apples, she says to buy the ones that look oldest, that is to say, the ones whose skins look a little wrinkled, they are sweeter. When you buy the guayabas, buy the ones that are ripest, some will have brown spots and are very soft to the touch.
The following recipe is enough for 30 servings, if you don’t need that much the recipe is easily halved. It’s delicious warm, but taste great cold, too.
Ponche Mexicano Navideño-Mexican Christmas Punch
Yields about 10 liters (a little over 2.5 gallons)
- 5 large apples or 10 small apples cut in quarters
- 10-12 guayabas cut in half
- 20-25 tejocotes cut in half
- 1-2 sugar canes (ask for them to be cut in to pieces, each will give you approximately 5-6 pieces of (20 cm or 8 in) each
- 1/4 kilogram (about 1/2 lb) Prunes
- 2 handfuls of dry jamaica
- 5 large sticks of cinnamon
- 1-1/2 kilograms (about 3 lbs) sugar (if you want it to be sweet)
Peel the sugar cane pieces and split them lengthwise (see photo)
Place all the ingredients in a large pot (it needs to hold about 4 gallons)
Fill the pot to near the top with water and heat on high. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes or until all the fruits are cooked and have changed color completely.
Here the fruit still looks uncooked.
Here all the fruit looks cooked.
When it’s ready, turn the heat off and let it rest with the top on for at least 4 hours. (In reality, you can drink it when it is finished cooking, but if you let it sit for the full 4 hours, it will be much tastier. We prepare it in the mornings, and in the evenings, before the Posadas or on Christmas Eve, we heat it up and enjoy it!