Ponche Navideño- Mexican Christmas Fruit Punch

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Christmas is going to be here in 5 days, and probably everybody have a menu for Christmas day. I haven’t decided one yet. I and my kids are sick with a bad cough, fever and headache. My son is taking antibiotics and my daughter is taking prescription strength medication for her cough, and I am on antibiotics too for bronchitis. According to Indian folk medicine that I know some homemade drinks could help in reducing its effect of common cold. So when I saw this Ponche Navideño – Mexican Christmas fruit punch recipe in a book My Sweet Mexico by Fany Gerson borrowed from library I got excited and decide to give it try, as it has cinnamon and cloves in it.
Like any other traditional recipe, it requires few ingredients must, like tejocotes (Crataegus Mexicana) is a species of hawthorn and other names are manzanita, tejocotera and Mexican hawthorn. I found them in Fiesta store; and it was for $ 6.49 a pound, so bought only 12 of them.

Then you need guava, my hubby loves guava so when I am buying it he was happy.

Then there is fresh sugarcane, I bought a large sugarcane stick at the store also. I made fresh sugarcane juice with 90 percent of the stick and with rest I made this hot ponche. I also used Mexican cinnamon and Mexican brown sugar Piloncillo, (which taste similar to our Indian jaggery). I also used fruits like apple, pear and orange, along with dried fruits raisins and prunes. In the recipe for the tanginess you can add either tamarind or hibiscus flower. I had bought some fresh tamarind pod for making margarita some time ago.

I think you need to let it few hours infuse the flavor may be overnight. When we tasted just after boiling everything with fruits and spices, it was delicious only with touch of alcohol. But on second day it taste really delicious without any booze. Indian friends will be reminded of the taste of panagam with slight tangy taste. If you are adventurous, just like me, try it. You don’t need to worry much about the recipe, just fruits and spices boiled together with some brown sugar.
This traditional drink served in Mexican homes during Christmas time as well as New Year eve. Here comes the recipe. You can serve as hot or cold. I like it hot though.

Ponche Navideño- Mexican Christmas Fruit Punch

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 65 minutes

Yield: 6 serving

Traditional Mexican Christmas fruit punch with lot of fruit and spices


  • Ingredients:
  • 5 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon sticks (Canella)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2long tamarind pods, husk removed, and seeded or boil the entire pod to make removing easier
  • 6 tejocotes or crab apples, left whole
  • 2 large guavas, peeled and cut into large bite-size chunks
  • 1 red apples (of your choice), peeled, cored, and cut into small bite-size chunks
  • 1 pear (of your choice), peeled, cored, and cut into small bite-size chunks
  • 1 (4-inch) sugarcane sticks, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 4 pitted prunes
  • 1/8 cup dark raisins
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 .25 ounce of piloncillo, chopped or 2 tablespoon of dark brown sugar
  • 1 ounce brandy or tequila per cup (optional)


  1. In a large pot, over high heat, boil water, cinnamon stick, cloves, tamarind, and tejocotes. After it starts to boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 25minutes until the tejocotes are soft.
  2. Remove the tejocotes from the heat, peel, remove hard ends, cut in half, and deseed. Return them to the pot.
  3. Add guavas, apples, pears, sugar cane, prunes, orange slices, and piloncillo.
  4. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring gently in between every 10 minutes.
  5. Ladle into cups, making sure each cup gets some chunks of fruit. I think you will get full flavored tasty drink only after set aside for overnight to sweep the flavors into the drink.
  6. Add brandy or tequila to each cup (optional).


This recipe is adapted from My Sweet Mexico

Copyright ©2013 Zesty South Indian Kitchen by Swathi( Ambujom Saraswathy) All Rights Reserved

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  1. Meena Kumar says

    The drink looks awesome I love panagam, will look for crab apple next time.
    Get well soon Swathi and kutties.

  2. says

    So sorry to hear that you and the kids are under the weather. :( I hope you have started to feel better. Hopefully this drink has done the trick and brought you all back to health! Look at all of those unique ingredients! Where on earth did you find sugar cane? I use to be able to get it in Louisiana, but not here in New Mexico. The drink is quite amazing!
    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Holiday Season!

    • Swathi says

      Thanks MJ, I think in Houston lot of Hispanic populations are there so I can get all most everything That is why I was able to find Sugarcane. Love this drink too. Hope you had merry christmas and wonderful Holidays.