Mexican holiday punch: Ponche navideño

mexconnect.com-In addition to being served in Mexican homes during the Christmas and New Year holiday poncheseason, hot Mexican holiday punch, or ponche navideño is sold at night by street vendors who ladle it out from steaming cylindrical vats. The tejocote is a small fruit, golden in color when mature, similar in taste to an apple, but with a pastier texture. It is not easily found outside of Mexico, but apples make a good substitute. In Michoacan, a piece of beet is often added instead of jamaica to color the punch.

Ingredients

  • 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 wine to taste (optional)

See Directions