Ponche Navideño (Hot Christmas Punch)

Oaxaca: home cooking from the heart of Mexico ponche navideño hot christmas punch recipe in book

From the cookbook OAXACA: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico

This hot fruit punch, traditionally enjoyed over the holiday season throughout Mexico, is a testament to the power of food and memory. This version is packed with lots of fruit and sugar cane because chewing on it is the best part. This punch resonates with love, family, and memories. 

Serves 8

½ cup piloncillo (Mexican-style unrefined brown sugar)

¼ cinnamon stick

⅓ cup dried hibiscus flowers

1 oz tamarind, seeds and skin removed

1 cup cubed apple

½ cup cubed fresh quince

1 cup peeled and cored tejocotes

¼ cup raisins

½ cup pitted prunes

6 oz fresh sugar cane, cut into 1-inch pieces

⅔ cup cubed fresh guava

½ cup granulated sugar

Oaxaca: home cooking from the heart of Mexico ponche navideño hot christmas punch recipe in book

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine the piloncillo, cinnamon stick, and 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the hibiscus, tamarind, apple, quince, tejocotes, raisins, prunes, and sugar cane. Simmer, covered, for another 20 minutes. Stir in the guava and granulated sugar and turn off the heat. Serve very hot.