Mexico’s quintessential Christmas beverage will be celebrated at the first annual Feria del Ponche Tradicional (Traditional Ponche Fair) in Tepoztlán, Morelos, on December 14.
Traditional Mexican ponche is made with fruits such as apples, guavas and tejocote (Mexican hawthorn), and cinnamon, sugar cane and piloncillo (made from sugar cane juice). It is usually served hot in a clay mug.
However, each family has their own recipe for the beverage, making it unique at each Christmas party and family get-together.
Ponche has its roots in India. Its name in Sanskrit — pañc — translates to “five,” in reference to the five traditional ingredients: alcohol, sugar, water, lime and tea or other spices. From India the beverage made its way to England, spread through Europe and was brought to Mexico by the Spaniards during the conquest.
Here, it took on uniquely Mexican ingredients, lost the alcohol (though some recipes still call for it) and became the drink people across the country use to warm their bones in winter. It is also renowned for its supposed healing properties, as it is packed full of vitamins.
The fair will serve over 10 traditional ponche recipes that have survived for generations, such as versions with milk or alcohol (con piquete). There will also be lots of food, as well as dance presentations, traditional costumes, live music and a piñata competition.
Visitors should take their own mug to the fair. In an effort to generate less waste, organizers have asked attendees to bring their own mugs, which can afterwards be donated to the recycling and waste reduction campaign Recapacicla.
The fair will be held at the municipal building at San Andrés de la Cal. It runs from 4:00pm-9:00pm and admission is free.