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How to Prepare Traditional Mexican Christmas Punch (Ponche Navideño)

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Another year has gone by and Christmas is around the corner! A great way to start feeling festive and in tune with the holidays is to prepare and explore new Christmas classics. Therefore, trying traditional drinks and dishes from other countries can add an extra excitement to your typical family holidays. This year, try something new and learn how to prepare traditional Mexican Christmas punch (Ponche Navideño).

Like in many houses around the world, Christmas Eve is a big day in Mexico. It starts with something called a “Posada”, which is a reenactment of the pilgrimage to Bethlehem by Mary and Joseph in search of a room — it includes breaking a piñata too! This celebration starts nine days before Christmas Eve “Nochebuena”. You pray, sing Christmas carols, and walk door-to-door carrying a candle and knock on your neighbor’s houses looking for a posada (inn) to stay the night.

Mexican Christmas

During this tradition, there is a lot of food involving tamales, buñuelos, empanadas, atole, and Mexican Christmas punch. This Mexican Christmas punch consists of a hot beverage made by simmering different fruits with water, sugar, and cinnamon; you can also add some brandy and tequila to create an alcoholic version of this drink. This delicious drink originally created in India, was brought to the country by the Spaniards, who created a different recipe mixing European and Indigenous ingredients.

In Mexico, there are more than 100 different recipes, but they all include tejocotes, sugar, apple, guava, sugarcane, hibiscus flower, tamarind, and cinnamon. According to the region, the ingredients change. In Mexico City you will find it with pineapples, prunes, oranges, and limes, while in Oaxaca you can find it with milk, eggs, sugar, and some extra cinnamon.

Mexican Christmas punch

Additionally, this classic beverage is packed with tons of vitamins including A, B and C, so it is perfect for keeping your immune system healthy. Also, the heavenly aroma of the cinnamon and hibiscus flower permeates throughout your house with such a pleasant smell, setting the atmosphere for the holidays.

How to Make Your Own Mexican Christmas Punch

It can be hard to find all the ingredients in your regular supermarket, but if you go to a Latin or international market, you won’t have any problems. This recipe is a traditional one, but keep in mind there are several recipes out there according to the region or city. In this recipe you can add some extra tropical fruits, cinnamon sticks, cloves – also some tequila or brandy to spice it up.

Christmas punch

One of the main ingredients for the ponche navideño is tejocotes. A small orange-yellow fruit similar to tiny apples. Their original taste is a little bit bitter, but when they are cooked, the flavor changes to a sweeter one. They can be hard to find, but you can get them in the Mexican/Latin aisle in your grocery store. The rest of the ingredients are super easy to get.


  • 16 cups of filtered water
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 tamarind pod, husked and seeded
  • 2 cups of drained Tejocotes
  • 6 big guavas, peeled and quartered
  • 3 peeled and diced red apples
  • 2 medium-sized peeled and diced pears
  • 4 sugar cane sticks
  • 1 cup of prunes
  • ½ cup of raisins
  • 2 medium-sized oranges
  • 1 pilloncillo cone (or 1 cup of dark brown sugar if you can’t find piloncillo)
  • Optional → add some brandy or tequila
Ponche navideño

Let’s Start Making your Mexican Christmas Punch!


  1. Place the water in a large stockpot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add cinnamon sticks, cloves, tamarind pod, and tejocotes inside the pot and let them boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer until the tejocotes get softer (around 10 to 15 minutes).
  4. Take out the tejocotes from the pot with a slotted spoon. When they get to room temperature, start to peel them, trimming the ends, removing the seeds and cutting them in half.
  5. Return the tejocotes to the pot.
  6. Add the extra ingredients: guavas, red apples, pears, sugar cane sticks, prunes, raisins, oranges and the piloncillo or the brown sugar.
  7. Lower heat, cover and simmer for up to 45 minutes and mix occasionally.
  8. You can also add a handful of hibiscus flowers to the pot, this will add a beautiful red color.
  9. Take out the cinnamon sticks and the cloves.
  10. It is ready to go! Serve the Christmas Mexican punch in coffee cups or mugs, make sure that each mug gets different pieces of fruit.
  11. For some extra spice, add one ounce of brandy or tequila to each mug.

Now, you have one of the tastiest and most traditional Mexican Christmas drinks, perfect for pairing with some pozole or tamales. This hot fruit punch will add some extra holiday spirit to your family reunion; you can even try to put together a Posada and immerse yourselves in one of the most interesting and joyful Mexican Christmas traditions. Please, let us know how this recipe goes in the comments below if you are planning to add it to your Holiday menu.


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