Ponche Mexicano Navideño

This Ponche Mexicano Navideño will melt your heart, whether you share it with your friends or family, its sweet aroma and flavor can make those special moments with our loved ones warmer still.

Mexican ponche Navideño served on clay cups and some Christmas lights in the background.

Now that the days are getting colder, I can’t wait for punch season to come. Its aroma and sweet flavor bring us memories of our family and friends. This is not simply a hot drink made of fruits, it is a heartwarming holiday tradition that provides us with sweet memories shared with those we love. 

What is Ponche Mexicano?

Ponche Mexicano Navideño (Mexican punch) is a seasonal hot beverage enjoyed during December. Its main ingredients are, sugarcane (caña), guayaba, tejocote (Mexican hawthorn), piloncillo, prunes, tamarind pods, apples, and cinnamon.

It’s a traditional posadas drink. Posadas are parties that take place nine days before Christmas. Families and friends gather to sing songs celebrating the birth of Christ, followed by the breaking of a piñata and partaking of punch.

Ponche Navideño served in a clay cup and some Christmas ornaments scattered around.

Although this ponche Mexicano is traditional of Las Posadas, it can also be enjoyed during cold days when the seasonal and typical fruits are available.  Sharing it with the family is always a pleasure, you don’t have to celebrate posadas to relish this delicious drink.

As a kid, I used to spend Christmas season with my grandma Julia who lived in a small town called Zacoalco, in Jalisco. Coming from a tropical state as Colima is, that place seemed always extremely cold for me, so I remember surviving on any hot drinks my grandma would make for me, such as ponche, atole, or champurrado.

Ponche Mexicano (aka Mexican Christmas punch) served on clay cups and seen from above.

If I was asked to name one aroma I associate with Xmas, I would have to reply it is one of a delicious ponche Mexicano, simmering on the kitchen stove, wafting and filling every corner of the house.

The Origin

Punch is a hot beverage that came from India, its name páñca means “five” referring to the 5 original ingredients: water, sugar, alcohol, tea and lemon.

After the conquest of Mexico, the punch beverage, which had been introduced by the Spanish, was adapted to Mexican customs. Some ingredients were substituted, such as alcohol and lemon and some tropical and local fruits were added, giving birth to ponche Mexicano.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Traditional ponche Mexicano requires several tropical fruits that can be difficult to find in other countries. In some cities you can find the canned fruits at the specialty Mexican stores, or order them through the internet.

Ingredients for Mexican ponche displayed on a colorful tablecloth.

Although, if you prefer fresh fruits, here are some options to substitute some of the hardest ingredients to find:

  • Sugar Cane: Whilst munching the sugar cane is one of the charms of having ponche navideño. It can be one of the hardest ingredients to find, if you can’t get it, skipping it shouldn’t be a problem. The cinnamon, the fruits and the brown sugar are enough to sweeten this drink.
  • Piloncillo: It gives a particular flavor to this drink, however, you can also use brown sugar and molasses to achieve a similar taste.
Two cones of Mexican piloncillo placed on a small basket.
  • Guava: One of my favorite fruits and although I feel that nothing can replace it, the truth is that prunes or peaches may be good options if you can’t find fresh guavas (guayabas). If you can find store-bough guava juice at your local supermarket, you’re lucky because this is also a nice substitute.
  • Tejocote: Know as Mexican Hawthorn fruit, it has a similar texture as crabapples, making them a good substitute.
  • Tamarind pods: Using hibiscus flowers (jamaica) instead of tamarind pods is an option. Although some people like to add both, if you only have one of the ingredients, it should be enough. For flavor, you can add tamarind and/or jamaica concentrate too.

You can also buy a jar of Ponche Navideño en almíbar, which is basically the traditional fruits in syrup, a perfect choice to achieve the particular flavor and aroma on this recipe. Those jars are widely sold in Amazon and Latin American stores.

So, gather all your ingredients, choose the winter fruits you’d like to add and make this delicious, hot beverage. The recipe is simple, easy, and a perfect idea to surprise your family and guests in this season.

How To Make It

In a large stockpot add piloncillo, cinnamon, and hibiscus flowers. Pour in about 1 gallon of water and bring to a boil. Stir from time to time to allow piloncillo to dissolve.

The ponche mixture in a pot.

Once the water start to boil, set heat to medium and add the fresh fruits. I used various types of apples and fresh prunes.

Fresh fruits cut into chunks added to the pot.

Bring to a gently simmer and allow to cook for 45 minutes. Add the jar of Mexican punch fruit to the pot, then simmer for another 15 minutes. Adjust sugar to taste and serve.

Ponche Navideño in a pot.

How To Serve

To serve, add some fruit to a cup, if you have Mexican clay mugs (jarritos) use those. Fill cups with ponche Mexicano and serve. For a boozy drink, add a splash of rum or brandy, mix and enjoy a ponche con piquete, as its called in Mexico.

Notes

  • If you using Hawthorn fruit (tejocotes), make sure to add first those and allow to cook for 5 minutes before adding the rest of your fruit.
  • You can add other seasonal fresh fruits, such as pears, kumquats, and even cranberries.
  • To add some flavor, pour in 2 cups of guava juice.

Make Ahead

Want to serve this ponche Mexicano in a party? No problem! Make it one day ahead and store in the fridge. Reheat when need it or, for a practical serving, pour it in your slow cooker and reheat at low for one hour, this method is fantastic as the slow cooker can also keep the drink warm for hours.

Watch How To Make It

More Mexican Christmas recipes

Mexican ponche Navideño recipe.

Ponche Navideño

Mexican Ponche Navideño is a hearty, delicious, and hot drink perfect for the holidays. Serve in your parties an enjoy this easy drink during those cold nights.
PREP 10 minutes
COOK 1 hour
TOTAL 1 hour 10 minutes
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 8
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 1 – 32 oz jar Mexican punch
  • 1 lb fresh fruits cut into chunks (apples, pears, prunes.)
  • 9 oz piloncillo
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 8 cups water

Instructions

  • In a large stockpot add piloncillo, cinnamon, and hibiscus flowers.
  • Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Stir from time to time to allow piloncillo to dissolve.
  • Once the water start to boil, set heat to medium and add the fresh fruits.
  • Bring to a gently simmer and allow to cook for 45 minutes.
  • Add the jar of Mexican punch fruit to the pot, then simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Adjust sweet to taste and serve.

NOTES

  • If you using Hawthorn fruit (tejocotes), make sure to add first those and allow to cook for 5 minutes before adding the rest of your fruit.
  • You can add other seasonal fresh fruits, such as pears, kumquats, and even cranberries.
  • To add some flavor, pour in 2 cups of guava juice.
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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I had this punch so many times while I lived there, but I had no clue what was in it! I am so making this punch for the holidays! Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    Exploring other country’s food is like exploring culture! I will surely try this with my family. Thanks for sharing!