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Ponche Villa

Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields Makes 25 cocktails
Ponche Villa
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

For the ponche

1

In a medium, heavy-bottom pot, mix together the tejocotes, piloncillo, prunes, sugar cane, canela, guavas, pears, apples, tamarind pods, water and hibiscus blossoms. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the liquid darkens and reduces by about half, about 1 hour.

2

Remove from heat and pass through a mesh strainer to make the ponche (the mixture will not be entirely clear). Discard all the ingredients except the ponche and the tejocotes. Place the simmered tejocotes in a small bowl with ponche to cover and chill; these will be used as a garnish in the final coctels. Cool the ponche and refrigerate for one night to mature the flavor. This makes a generous 1 1/2 quarts ponche.

Cocktail assembly

1

In a cocktail shaker, combine the ponche, mezcal and bitters. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the skewered tejocote, persimmon slice and tamarind bean.

Adapted from a recipe by John Rivera Sedlar with Julian Cox. Sedlar writes, “I’ve always enjoyed this classic holiday ‘ponche.’ I like how it doesn’t have that cloying over-spiced sweet character of the usual holiday spice drinks. The tejocotes really add depth and character to the beverage.” Sedlar prefers jarred tejocotes from Guelaguetza, which he says are not too sweet. He also prefers Del Maguey’s Crema de Mezcal. Piloncillo is Mexican brown sugar; it and sugar cane, tamarind pods and dried hibiscus blossoms are available at Mexican groceries.

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