Ponche de Frutas de Guatemala (Hot Fruit Punch)

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Guatemalan ponche de frutas, or Christmas fruit punch, is the ultimate hot holiday drink! This Guatemalan recipe for fruit punch is very similar to Mexican ponche de frutas. This traditional Guatemalan recipe made with fruits, sugar, and spices is prepared during the holiday season and served for Las Posadas, Christmas, and even for Three Kings Day. This ponche navideño is an essential part of Guatemalan holiday traditions. So if you’re ready to welcome the holiday season, grab a punch bowl, fill it with this delicious ponche navideño, and enjoy the holidays with a hot cup in the company of family and friends!

Guatemalan ponche de fruitas Christmas fruit punch

The temperature is dropping, and all the streets and stores are decorated for the holidays. It’s beginning to look a lot like Navidad, so I thought I would share my favorite hot drink: ponche de frutas or ponche navideño.  I love to enjoy it while I sit by the fire or on my favorite couch listening to my favorite Christmas song or canciones navideñas. Sipping ponche de frutas takes me back in time to so many beautiful memories of Christmas time in Guatemala as a kid. 

Ponche de Frutas, A traditional Guatemalan Holiday Drink

In Guatemala and Latin American countries, a wide array of colorful traditions and flavorful foods and drinks characterize Christmas time. For example, Guatemalan fruit punch is a traditional drink for Noche Buena, Christmas Eve. Still, many families, including mine, like to start preparing it as soon as the weather starts getting a little chilly. And it’s the perfect drink to serve during Las Posadas Navideñas.

Guatemalan ponche de navidad

The Christmas punch is served hot; cinnamon and spices give it a special touch and complement the sweetness from the fruit.  Even though Guatemala is the land of eternal spring, it still gets a little chilly during November and December, especially in areas high up in the mountains like Guatemala City. So when the temperatures drop and the holiday spirit is in the air, it’s a perfect time to make this Christmas drink.

What is a Guatemalan Ponche de Frutas?

Ponche (ponche navideño, ponche de frutas, or hot punch) is a popular Guatemalan drink made from fresh and dried fruits, sugar, and spices simmered down into a delicious hot beverage. It is full of warmth and infused with a fragrant aroma, perfect for those cold winter nights. 

Ponche de navidad or Christmas fruit punch from Guatemala

This delicious punch is part of Guatemalan traditions, like posadas navideñas and Christmas dinner. In addition, Guatemalans love serving it as a hot beverage to warm up your heart as well as your tummy! 

What is Fruit Punch Made of?

I was very excited to learn that I could easily find most ingredients for this traditional Guatemalan fruit punch in Florida. I can buy dried fruits like raisins, apricots, prunes, and apples at my regular supermarket. At the same time, fresh papaya and pineapple are also easy to find. 

You will find different recipes for the same hot drink. Some Guatemalans add cinnamon and allspices, while others prefer the unique taste of anise. Alcohol is optional, and rum is usually the top pick. Its sweet flavor goes great with fruity drinks. I like adding an orange peel and cloves for extra tanginess and flavor. I love simple and easy recipes, so it all comes down to personal tastes and whatever I have at home! 

Who invented Ponche?

Ponche de frutas or fruit punch probably had its origin in a similar drink consumed by the Persians called “panch,” or “pãc,” meaning five. It refers to the number of ingredients used in the original recipe prepared with lemon, herbs, sugar, water, and rum.  European countries like Spain later adopted this, the drink evolved, and the name changed to ponche.   

It was brought to Guatemala by the Spanish, and now each country gives ponche a special touch. For example, many countries add milk, eggs, and rum.  In Guatemala, there are many versions, some of them including tropical fruits like papaya, mango, and coconut. It is served hot, with a spoon to scoop out all the delicious fruit.  

Christmas punch or ponche navideño Guatemala

Recipe For Guatemalan Ponche de Frutas:

Ingredients

  • 1 box of raisins, soaked in water
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • ½ cup dried prunes
  • 1/2 cup dried apples, and cubed apple pieces
  • 1 small papaya or dried papaya (optional)
  • 1 pineapple, finely chopped
  • 1 orange peel
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon of allspice
  • 1 teaspoon of cloves
  • Sugar to taste
  • 10 cups water
  • ¼ cup rum (optional)

How to Make Fruit Punch:

  1. Chop the dried fruit and the pineapple into fine cubes. Put all the fruit in a large pot and pour in the water till it covers everything. Add the cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. 
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 45 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and add the sugar to taste (depends on the ripeness of fruit). Add a couple of spoons at a time to not over-sweeten the punch. Add rum if desired.
  4. To serve: fill cups with punch and pieces of fruit. Put a small spoon in the cups to eat the fruit.

Guatemalan ponche de frutas recipe

Tips For Making the Best Ponche Guatemalteco

  • Smaller is better: I dice the fruit into smaller sized-cubes because the best part about finishing your drink is eating the fruit at the bottom of the mug. So always serve the ponche hot and with a small spoon on the side.
  • Easy on the sugar: I like my punch fruity and on the tarty side. So, it is better to add one cup of sugar at a time, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Of course, you can always add more sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Are you cooking for a larger crowd? No problem! This delicious recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled. Place it in a large punch bowl or leave it in the pot while serving your guests.

Christmas ponche de frutas navideño

Make Ahead of Time

Can you make this delicious hot drink before time? Definitely yes! The longer this fruit punch sits, the better! The flavors set in and gain a more Christmassy taste.  I like making this Christmas punch a couple of days ahead of time and keeping it in a large glass pitcher in the refrigerator. It frees more time to make incredible holiday crafts with my kids, like our traditional mini piñata Christmas tree ornament

If I plan to serve this hot fruit drink to adults, I don’t add the rum until reheating. Then, I pour the beverage on a large pot and reheat it on low for about 45 minutes. Just remember to put aside a glass of alcohol-free ponche de frutas for the kids, so they can also enjoy this heartwarming traditional Guatemalan drink.

Can You Freeze Ponche Guatemalteco?

The short answer? I wouldn’t. If kept too long, the citrusy flavors in the drink turn a little sour. And since most of the ingredients used in this recipe are dried fruit, you don’t need to freeze anything. And believe me, this Guatemalan hot drink is so good, you won’t have any leftovers!  

What To Serve with a Traditional Guatemalan Ponche?

This heartwarming drink is, in general, reserved for wintertime, especially during posadas and Christmas Eve. However, alongside traditional Guatemalan foods like tamales colorados, chuchitos, and pan dulce (sweet bread), it has become an essential part of Christmas traditions. In most households, you will find hosts offering you a steaming cup of ponche navideño while singing Canciones Navideñas, Guatemalan’s Christmas carols.

Guatemalan Christmas foods

Traditional Guatemalan Food to Enjoy During Christmas: 

  • Chuchitos Guatemaltecos: Learn how to make these delicious traditional tamales at home! A smaller type of Guatemalan tamal is filled with pork or chicken and a tomato-based recado or sauce and wrapped in corn husks.
  • Tamales Colorados: Made with corn masa and a chicken or pork filling wrapped in fresh banana leaves, this Guatemalan food is based on my grandmother’s recipe. I have come up with the best recipe for Guatemalan tamales with some personal tweaks, including easy step-by-step instructions.

tamales guatemaltecos recipe

  • Jocotes en Miel: A traditional Guatemalan food commonly served around the Day of the Dead celebrations. Cooked in a bubbling sweet syrup, these juicy jocotes (hog plums) are full of heavenly spices.
  • Champurradas: A super easy recipe that will surely be a total success with everyone in the family! A scrumptious giant cookie with the perfect level of crunch to dunk in your morning coffee!

Best recipe for Guatemalan champurradas, champurradas de Guatemala

  •  Canillitas de Leche: Try a quick and easy recipe for canillitas, a delicious 10-minute dessert that uses only three ingredients you already have in your pantry.
  • Atol de Elote: Corn atole is a hot drink of fresh corn. This traditional drink has its origin in the Mayan culture, perfect for cold weather, posadas, and Christmas time.

Christmas is, without a doubt, my favorite holiday. I love seeing my home filled with decorations we made with the kids and the food we cook together. The delicious aroma of Guatemalan ponche de frutas is an essential part of our holiday season. Fruit punch or Christmas punch (ponche Navideño) is the perfect hot fruit drink to sip by the fire while reading a book or to share a family meal. It’s part of Guatemalan Christmas traditions and a must-try if you have never had it before!!

Guatemalan ponche de fruitas Christmas fruit punch

Ponche de Frutas, Guatemalan Hot Fruit Punch

Yield: 12 portions
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

A traditional Guatemalan hot drink made with fruit, sugar, and spices prepared during the holiday season

Ingredients

  • 1 box of raisins, soaked in water
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • ½ cup dried prunes
  • 1/2 cup dried apples, and cubed apple pieces
  • 1 small papaya or dried papaya (optional)
  • 1 pineapple, finely chopped
  • 1 orange peel
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon of allspice
  • 1 teaspoon of cloves
  • Sugar to taste
  • 10 cups water
  • ¼ cup rum (optional)

Instructions

    1. Chop the dried fruit and the pineapple into fine cubes. Put all the fruit in a large pot and pour in the water till it covers everything. Add the cinnamon, allspice, and cloves.
    2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 45 minutes.
    3. Remove the pot from the heat and add the sugar to taste (depends on the ripeness of fruit). Add a couple of spoons at a time to not over-sweeten the punch. Add rum if desired.
    4. To serve: fill cups with punch and pieces of fruit. Put a small spoon in the cups to eat the fruit.

Notes

Cooking for a larger crowd? No problem! This delicious recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled. Simply place it in a large punch bowl or leave it in the pot while serving your guests.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 cups Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 98

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4 thoughts on “Ponche de Frutas de Guatemala (Hot Fruit Punch)”

  1. Gracias, la receta del ponche esta muy buena, yo tênia en mente algunas cosas pero su receta me ayudo a mejorar y esta vez mi ponche estará mas rico.

    Reply

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