A very traditional part of Christmas for us is the mulled wine – there’s nothing like coming in from a frosty stroll, only to indulge in a tasty hot beverage. In Mexico, they prepare a drink called Ponche Navideño, also know as Christmas Punch.
Similarly to mulled wine, the sweet tipple contains cinnamon and citrus fruit. It also contains traditional ingredients of tejocotes (a small yellow fruit that resembles crabapples), piloncillo (raw sugar cane), sugar cane sticks, seasonal fruits include guavas, apples, pears, oranges and dry fruits, too. The punch might have different ingredients depending on the region in Mexico. You can find punch with acid fruits like oranges, Mexican sweet lime or pineapple. And as far as spices go, besides cinnamon, some cooks will also add anise star and chamomile.
Here’s a recipe if you want to recreate the traditional Ponche Navideño yourself.
- 4 quarts of water (1 gallon)
- 1 large piloncillo cone (12 oz) or brown sugar
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 lb Tejocotes*
- 1 1/2 Lb. guavas (about 12 guavas)
- 1 1/2 cup apples, chopped
- 1 cup pear, chopped
- 3/4 cup prunes, chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 3 sugar cane sticks about 5 inch long, cut into four pieces each.
- Rum to taste
- * If you do not find all the ingredients like the tejocotes, you can still make this drink without them.
- ** Other dried fruits can be used as a substitute.
- 1. Place water in a large stockpot.
- 2. Add the piloncillo (or brown sugar) and cinnamon to cook for about 15 minutes. If you are using fresh Tejocotes, add them with the piloncillo and cinnamon since they take longer to soften.
- 3. Add the chopped guavas, apples, and prunes along with the rest of the ingredients like the sugar cane sticks, tamarind pods or hibiscus flowers. If you are using the canned version of the tejocotes then add them in this step.
- 4. Simmer for about 1 hour. Serve hot in mugs, ladling some of the fruit in and adding rum to your liking.