Getting reviews...
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 12 servings
The traditional elements that give the steaming hot Noche Buena punch, known as ponche, its signature warm flavor are tejocotes (fragrant Mexican hawthorn fruits that become tender when cooked), caña (fresh sugar cane to gnaw on) and tropical guavas. You can add other ingredients like tamarind pods, dried hibiscus flowers and your favorite dried fruit to customize it to your liking. The 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.



  1. Combine 2 quarts water and the tejocotes in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the tejocotes start to soften, 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Pour the hot ponche into mugs, scoop some fruit into each and garnish with a cinnamon stick and chopped pecans. Serve with spoons.