Poncha da Madeira
One of the first things I can remember from visiting Madeira is stopping to drink the famous Poncha. The drink packs a punch with it's strong alcoholic content off set by a generous amount of honey. Poncha was first enjoyed by the fisherman before venturing out to sea, because the Vitamin-C from the citrus was thought to keep up their immunity on the long voyages. So it's basically healthy right? We will cheers to that!!
The best place to enjoy this is of course where it originated in Madeira. You can find it all over the island but the hot spot is called: Taberna da Poncha*. Peanut allergies beware! Guests sip on this sweet drink while munching on peanuts, as the day goes on you can measure how busy business was that day but the amount of peanut shells found on the floor. If you can't make it there follow these steps to enjoy at home! A tool called a Caralhinho, which essentially looks like a large honey dipper, is used to mix the ingredients. If you can't find one a whisk will work. In Madeira, they use aguardente de cana, which is a distilled alcohol from sugar cane, but rum can be substituted in a pinch.
For 2 servings:
1/2 cup honey
1 cup aguardente de cana
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1) In a large pitcher, mix the honey and the lemon until the honey is completely dissolved.
2) Pour the aguardente into the pitcher and stir constantly.
3) Pour the mixture into serving glasses. Serve on ice if desired.
*Find yourself in Madeira? Visit: Taberna da Poncha, Sitio da Lage, Serra d'Agua, 9350-309 Ribeira Brava, Madeira, Portugal.