Traditional Mexican Fruit Punch - Ponche Navideño, is a traditional hot drink during the Christmas Holidays, it is made using water, fresh and dried fruits like tamarind, prunes, hibiscus, sugar cane, cinnamon, and sweetened with Piloncillo. You can serve it with or without alcohol.
3sugar cane sticks, about 5-in. longcut into four pieces each
1cupof Tamarind podspeeled (or 1 cup of Hibiscus Flowers)***
Rum to taste
Place water in a large stockpot.
Add the piloncillo (or brown sugar) and cinnamon to cook for about 15 minutes. If you are using fresh Tejocotes, add them with the piloncillo and cinnamon, since they take longer to soften. Ponche Navideno
Add the chopped guavas, apples, and prunes along with the rest of the ingredients like the sugar cane sticks, tamarind pods or hibiscus flowers. If you are using the canned version of the tejocotes, then add them in this step.
Simmer for about 1 hour. Serve hot in mugs, ladling in some of the fruit and adding rum to your liking.
*In some of the central states of Mexico, like Puebla, Hidalgo & Estado de Mexico, the Tejocotes are precooked in water to help remove the skins and seeds. Then, they are added to the rest of the ingredients to finish cooking.If you do not find all the ingredients like the Tejocotes, you can still make this drink without them.** Other dried fruits can be used as a substitute.*** Sometimes I just add the tamarind pods and other times just the Hibiscus flowers. I rarely use the 2 in the same punch and it still comes out really tasty.