Christmas Ponche — A La Americana

Well, while Dustin was studying recipes for Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza, I had a recipe search of my own.  I love hot drinks, but with a cold and sore throat, I have been trying to avoid milk-based drinks.  After a while, plain black tea or even herbal and flavored teas get old to me.  I had a taste in my mouth for PONCHE NAVIDEÑO, a hot fruit punch served at Christmas in Mexico.

I had looked around for recipes, and all or most called for the traditional ingredients of tecojote (a small fruit similar to crabapple) and cana (small pieces of sugarcane) among other things.  Needless to say, I had neither on hand, nor do they grow in our garden! –Not only would they probably not survive in the south-eastern Pennsylvania climate, but neither do we have a garden or yard outside our house!

I had read in one recipe that if you did not have a specific ingredient, it might be omitted from the recipe.  So I decided to simply try a punch with the fruits I had on hand.  I had about a pint and a half of mango syrup/juice from canned mangoes, a few frozen peach slices, some frozen blueberries, a chopped apple and a chopped pear, juiced one pink grapefruit and two large oranges, made a concentrated quart of cranberry-jamaica tea, and used one cinnamon stick.  I placed all the ingredients into a medium crockpot and turned on high since it was already after dinner, and I wanted to try some before the evening was over.

After about 2-1/2 hours, it was bubbling around the edges, and I decided it was ready.  After a quick taste, I decided to add a little brown sugar, and —Hmmmm!  It was yummy!  Even Dustin really liked it, and he is a bit leary of eating new things!  So instead of trying to search for all of the traditional Mexican ingredients, now I know you can use whatever fruit you have on hand, some cinnamon, and sugar or honey to taste!  (I would definitely advise using some kind of apple(s) for the rich, tart flavor, and a good amount of citrus juice at least, along with whatever other fruits you decide to add; and for myself I decided not to use rasberries or blackberries because of their seedy properties!)  

To serve, you may strain out the fruit pieces or serve them in the glasses as well!