Guava Ponche with Sweet Vermouth

Ponche Navideño is a Christmastime spiced tropical fruit punch that's served warm with a shot of tequila in Mexico. Paola Briseño González's chilled riff on this holiday classic pays homage to her love of vermouth. Light and fragrant with perfectly balanced bitterness, it's refreshing and bright thanks to hibiscus, guava, apples, and mint.

Guava Ponche with Sweet Vermouth
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 35 mins


  • 6 medium-size ripe yellow guavas, unpeeled, stemmed, and halved

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 ounce edible dried hibiscus flowers (about 1 cup)

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 (2-inch) cinnamon sticks

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sweet red vermouth (such as Bèrto)

  • 1 small Granny Smith apple, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, plus lemon slices, for garnish

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) Fernet-Vallet or Fernet-Branca (optional)

  • Topo Chico, for serving

  • Mint sprigs, for garnish


  1. Combine guavas, 3 cups water, hibiscus flowers, sugar, and cinnamon sticks in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, until guavas are slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Proceed immediately to step 2, or, for a more intense guava flavor, transfer to a medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

  2. Pour guava mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl. Using the back of a spoon, lightly mash guava mixture to release all of the juices; discard solids.

  3. Stir together guava mixture, vermouth, apple, lemon juice, salt, and, if desired, Fernet in an ice-filled pitcher or bowl. Garnish with lemon slices. Serve in chilled cocktail glasses. Top each glass with a splash of Topo Chico, and garnish with mint.


Dried hibiscus flowers can be purchased at Mexican grocery stores or online.

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