By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
With Mexico’s Christmas posada season now in full gear, here are a few tried-and-true holiday punch recipes that are guaranteed to warm the soul and gladden the heart of both unexpected and expected holiday guests.
Hot or cold, these holiday favorites are sure to please and are a quick and inexpensive way to satisfy a thirsty brood of Yuletide drop-ins.
The first recipe, a traditional navideño fruit punch, is a bit more time consuming than the others in terms of preparation, but is a wholesome and natural Christmas treat that is as solidly Mexican as tamales and atole.
Mulled wine, while a far more gringo option, is quicker and easier to prepare, and can definitely stave off the cold on a chilly winter’s night.
If you are really short of time, the Christmas strawberry champagne punch, which is served cold, can be a last-minute lifesaver when you find yourself in a pinch and in need of an emergency party-pleaser.
2 liters of water
4 sticks of cleaned fresh sugar cane
½ kilo unpeeled crab apples (tejocotes)
2 red apples, sliced into bite size
8 guavas cut in quarters
2 large pears, sliced into bite size
¼ kilo dried hibiscus flowers (flor de jamaica)
½ kilo brown, unprocessed sugar (piloncillo)
4 cinnamon sticks
½ cup raisins
1/2 cup prunes
rum or brandy to taste
Place all ingredients in a large pot and let simmer at least one hour over a medium flame. Sweeten to taste. Add additional rum or brandy, if desired. Serve warm.
One bottle of fruity red wine (Beaujolais or Cabernet Sauvignon work best)
½ cup sugar
2 dozen whole cloves
3 sticks of cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon or orange peel
½ cup almond slices
Heat well over a low fire, but do not bring to a boil. Serve hot with slices of lime or orange.
Strawberry Champagne Punch
One large bag of frozen strawberries
Two bottles of champagne or other sparkling white wine
Place the frozen berries inside the center of a large punchbowl and then pour the wine over the berries. The concoction will give off a smoky white vapor as the frozen berries melt and blend with the champagne. Serve immediately.