Ponche Navideño (Christmas Punch) is a warm tropical-fruit punch, it’s traditionally imbibed in Mexico during Christmas. Vendors sell it at night near the sidewalk Christmas markets. It’s also served with buñuelos during the posadas.
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No one seems to know exactly how and why Mexican ponche materialized. In general, historians seem to agree that the punch concept originated in India, where English sailors took a liking to it and brought to Europe. The Spaniards (or the French?) must have carried the tradition to Mexico.
Today, the base of Mexican ponche comprises piloncillo, a dark-brown unrefined cane sugar, mixed with water and cinnamon sticks. To that, you can add pretty much any winter fruits you want: apples, oranges, guavas, tejocotes. (SRC: Lesley Téllez, a food writer and culinary guide)
¾ pound small apples or tejocotes, peeled and sliced
10 guavas, halved
½ pound raisins or prunes or a mixture of both
6 oranges, scrubbed and sliced with rind
1 cup jamaica (dried hibiscus) flowers
4 pieces sugar cane stalk, peeled and cut into strips (see note)
3 sticks cinnamon, each about 6 inches long
7 quarts water
sugar to taste (the usual proportion is 1/3 cup to each quart of water)
brandy, rum or red wine to taste (optional)
Place the apples, guavas, raisins or prunes, oranges, sugar cane and cinnamon in a large stockpot with the water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add sugar to taste, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. If adding brandy or other alcohol, add and simmer a few minutes longer. Serve hot in mugs. Serves 16-18.
Note: If sugar cane is unavailable, increase the amount of sugar added.