She Made/Ella Hace: Ponche Navideño de Manzana

Growing up, Christmas with my grandparents was always Tamales, Buñuelos and Ponche.  Here in Mexico with Hubby's family, things are a little different.  The menu for our big Christmas Eve dinner changes from year to year.  One year we'll feast on my suegra's amazing Pozole.  And the next year might be an Asian inspired potluck.  This year the menu will include smoked turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy, rice, Ensalada Navideña, crescent rolls and Ponche.

Over the years, the only constant has been Ponche.  Whether it's the festive Ponche de Jamaica made with hibiscus flowers, or the slightly tangy Ponche de Tamarindo that my sister-in-law makes every year, or my grandmother's Ponche de Manzana, Christmas wouldn't be the same without a steaming mug of fruit laden Ponche.

That's why Girlichef and I thought it was the perfect recipe to share for this month's installment of She Made/Ella Hace.

With my grandmother's recent passing, there was really only one Ponche I wanted to abuelita's.  The best Ponche in my book.  Gramm made her Ponche at least once a week in December and it was always a treat.

I've made a few changes here and there, like substituting apple nectar for apple cider and adding guavas and pecans for added flavor and texture.  But it still tastes just like Gramm's.  One sip was like a hug in a cup.

Ponche Navideño de Manzana
(Hot Apple Cider Punch)

  • 4 cups apple nectar or cider
  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 Apples (2 red/2 green)
  • 2 Pears
  • 6 to 8 Guavas
  • 6 oz. sugar cane, peeled
  • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • Tequila or Rum

Pour the apple nectar, juice and water into a 4-quart pot.

Chop the apples, pears, guavas and sugar cane into bite-size pieces.   Add them to the pot along with the cinnamon sticks and cloves.  Simmer over medium-low heat for 40 to 45 minutes or until the fruits are tender.

Remove from heat and stir in the raisins and pecans.  (Adding the pecans at the very beginning can make the Ponche bitter.)  Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.  Ladle into coffee mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick.  Enjoy!!!

*For a grown-up version of this Ponche, add a shot of tequila or rum to each mug before serving.

Be sure to check out Girlichef's Ponche!

  Also linking up with:



  1. A hug in a cup sounds perfect to me!!! I love the idea of adding Pecan halves:-) This seriously sounds, and looks amazing! Hugs, Terra

  2. Oh, I would love to try your abuelita's sounds amazing!  I've never tried a version with nuts, but I think I'm going to have to very, very soon!  I wish we could get together and share some spiked ponche ;) .  But I will settle for raising my cup to yours virtually. Salud! 

  3. This ponche looks delicious, I am sure I will love it! The pizza in the header looks scrumptious!

    Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas :)

  4. This ponche looks incredible! Love the pictures, Leslie. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I might try it this weekend...

  5. Interesting. I've never heard of this kind of ponche! Dominican ponche has chocolate milk, eggs,'s almost like hot chocolate!

  6.           What a lovely way to remember your Grandmother by.  I will have to try it as a change up from my usual Christmas cheer.

  7. ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh this is a hug in a cup! 

  8. Me encantan los ponches y esa receta me ha llamado mucho la atención! Si me queda tiempo al final del día, te mando la foto de la receta!

  9. I love this ponche and so happy it's your gramm's recipe!! A delicious way to honor her in Christmas season. Leslie i love the addition of PECASN!!! My family is arriving on Friday and I need to make both the she made/ella hace versions. How fun!! Thanks!! 

  10. Hi Judy!  What is your "usual Christmas cheer"?  

  11. Thank you, Monica!  If you do make it, I hope you love it as much as we do!  And I'm so glad that you were able to comment. :)  

  12. Muchisimas gracias, Mari!  I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas too! :) 

  13. Most of the ponches I've tried here in Mexico have pecans.  I love pecans and the texture they add so I always add some to my ponches. :)  

    I wish we could share some spiked ponche too.  Cheers! :)