Holidays mean large gatherings of people, calling for an even larger punch bowl. The traditional version of this Christmas drink from Mexican chef Abi Sanchez of Manta in Los Cabos uses tejocotes, but he says you can swap for pears if you don't have access to the Mexican fruit. It also calls for hibiscus, which you can emulate by steeping two hibiscus tea bags in a pot for five minutes. Also, we use dark brown sugar in place of piloncillo, a type of unrefined cane sugar—but if you can find it, we highly suggest chopping it up and using that instead.
Despite the substitutions, it's a crowd-pleasing drink—especially once you add in the tequila or mescal.
Ponche de Frutas (Mexican Christmas Punch)
Recipe adapted from Abi Sanchez, Manta, Los Cabos
Yield: 24 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
2 gallons water
6 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon cloves
½ cup tamarind seeds
4 pears—peeled, cored and halved
½ cup guava paste
4 small golden apples—peeled, cored and diced
½ cup prunes
1 cup dark brown sugar
Tangerine slices, for garnish
Tequila or mescal, as desired
1. In a large pot, bring the water, cinnamon sticks, cloves and tamarind seeds to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the cinnamon sticks start to soften, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the pears, guava paste, apples, prunes and dark brown sugar. Simmer for at least 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Ladle the punch into mugs, making sure each cup gets some fruit. Garnish each with a tangerine slice and 1 ounce of tequila or mescal, then serve.