The Steaming hot Noche Buena Ponche (Punch) consist of its the signature warm flavors of tejocotes (fragrant Mexican hawthorn fruits) caña (fresh sugar cane) and tropical guavas. You can add other ingredients like tamarind pods, dried hibiscus flowers or a variety of dried fruit to customize it to your liking. You can add chopped nuts give it a delicious bite, and if you’re feeling festive, you can make this into a party drink by adding a shot of rum or tequila. (Yum!)
1 hr 10 mins
8 ounces tejocotes (Mexican hawthorn fruit), scored, or crab apples, peeled and scored
1 cup (1/2 ounce) packed dried hibiscus flowers (flor de Jamaica)
1 cup (6 ounces) finely chopped piloncillo or brown sugar
1/2 cup dried prunes or other dried fruit such as figs
1/4 cup golden raisins or dried cherries
6 tamarind pods, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 large guavas, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Three 6-inch sugarcane pieces, peeled and cut in half
2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large Medjool dates, pitted and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
One 4-inch cinnamon stick, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, optional
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Combine 2 quarts of water and the tejocotes in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the tejocotes start to soften, for about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tejocotes to a medium bowl and let cool. Reserve the cooking liquid. When the tejocotes are cool to the touch, remove and discard the skins, stems and pits and tear the fruit in half with your hands. Set aside.
Meanwhile, add the hibiscus flowers to the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the flowers and discard or save for another use, such as a second infusion for a jamaica agua fresca.
Add the tejocotes, piloncillo, prunes, raisins, tamarind, guavas, sugarcane, apples, dates, cinnamon and vanilla, if using, to the pot. Lower the heat and gently simmer until the fruit is softened and the mixture is reduced slightly, about 30 minutes.
Pour the hot ponche into mugs, scoop some fruit into each and garnish with a cinnamon stick or Sugar Can pieces. Serve with spoons.