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Hispanic Holidays: Tired of egg nog? This Mexican Christmas punch with a splash of Tequila can spice things up

Ponche Navideño gives your holiday a Latin American taste.

ARLINGTON, Texas — On a cold Christmas night, you’re probably used to drinking hot apple cider or egg nog with a little splash of whiskey, but this year, why not try adding some Latin American flavor to your holiday?

Ponche Navideño or Mexican Christmas punch, is a lot like cider, except instead of just apples, you need tropical ingredients and Tequila.  Here’s how you can add some Latin flavor to your holiday. 

Ingredients

  • 1x 8oz. Unrefined Cane Sugar (Often sold as “Piloncillo”)
  • ½ cup dried Hibiscus
  • 8-12 Guavas
  • 7 oz. Tamarind
  • Sugar Cane
  • 4-5 small to medium apples (Any kind of red apple is fine. Pick your favorite.)
  • 4-5 small to medium pears
  • Tejocotes (2 cups)
  • Changungas (1 cup)
  • Tequila (optional)

You might be familiar with most of the items, but unless you’ve spent time south of the border, it’s likely you’ve never heard of Tejocotes and Changungas. You can make a pretty good ponche without them, but if you really want the authentic flavor, you can find these at most Hispanic grocery stores. 

(Don't be nervous. Just tell them you're making Christmas punch and they'll help you out, I promise.)

Don’t worry about being too precise. Recipes vary from region to region, and even town to town and household to household. 

If you can’t find an ingredient, be creative! Adding guavas and tamarind will give you a more tropical taste, more apples and pears will make it less tart. 

Just be careful not to use too much hibiscus. A little goes a long way.

Recipe

  • Peel the hard shell off the tamarind and sugar cane.
  • Chop apples and pears into quarters.  Chop other ingredients into similar-sized pieces
  • Boil ingredients (except unrefined cane sugar) for two hours in 2 gallons of water
  • After two hours, add the unrefined cane sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
  • The resulting liquid should have a fruity taste, but not too sweet.  If it's too sweet add more water. Not sweet enough? Add more sugar.  There's no wrong way to make it!
  • Serve hot, directly from the boiling pot, straining out the fruit chunks.  Garnish with a stick of sugar cane.

You can serve Ponche Navideño with or without alcohol but a shot of tequila will really give you the authentic Mexican flavor while also keeping you warm on a cold Christmas night.