Pomegranate Punch: Ponche de Granada
This recipe, from the state of Jalisco, is usually served as an aperitif before a fiesta meal. In Mexico, the word ponche is most often used to mean a fruit-based alcoholic beverage. Upon aging, this drink becomes similar to a fortified wine like Madeira.
I usually squeeze a large quantity of pomegranates during September when they are at the height of their season here. I have very good results with a manual lever-type orange squeezer, such as those used by the women selling orange juice on the streets in Mexico, cutting the pomegranates in half horizontally first, as for an orange.
- 4 cups fresh squeezed pomegranate juice (or use a good brand such as Odwalla from a health food store) strained to remove any pulp
- 2 - 750 ml. bottles of sugar cane alcohol or a good white tequila (from pure agave)
- ½ to 1 cup simple sugar syrup
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Add more juice, tequila or sugar syrup to taste if necessary.
Pour mixture through a funnel into clean glass bottles, and top with corks. Leave the bottles standing up in a dark, cool place (not the refrigerator) for 3 to 6 months. The punch will show sediment on the bottom and develop a "mother" just as vinegar does. When serving, do not pour the last inch or so, or whatever amount has the sediment or mother. Many people in Jalisco let this age for a few years before serving.