The Story Behind The Ponche de Mezcal

For many, the Hot Toddy is one of winter’s best cocktails. Equal parts warming and delicious — and perhaps able to fight off a cold — the cocktail is wonderful in its original form, but a little riffing couldn’t hurt. Created by Mauricio Santana of The Clover Club in NYC, the Ponche de Mezcal serves as a Mexican-inspired Hot Toddy, combining the smoky, agave-based spirit with lemon juice and a house-made tropical fruit and spiced tea, the latter of which was inspired by the traditional Mexican holiday punch, Ponche Navideño.

Santana’s ponche, made from orchard fruits, tamarind, hibiscus, and guava, gives the cocktail a robust, fruity essence that fuses with the vegetal and grassy notes of the mezcal at the cocktail’s base. With a bit of lemon juice added to the mix for a refreshing brightness, the Ponche de Mezcal is a soul-soothing sipper that reminds Santana of home with every taste.


  • 4 ounces homemade Ponche*
  • 1 ½ ounces mezcal
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • Garnish: sugar cane stick, tejocote fruit (optional)


  1. Heat Ponche until steaming; pour into a Hot Toddy mug.
  2. Add mezcal and lemon juice to mug and stir.
  3. Garnish with sugar cane stick and tejocote fruit.

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Updated: 2023-12-08

*Ponche Ingredients

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 apple, cubed
  • 1 pear, cubed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup tamarind fruit
  • ¼ cup hibiscus flowers
  • ½ small guava fruit, cubed
  • ¼ cup raisins

*Ponche Directions

  1. Combine ingredients in a pot and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Allow to cool.
  3. Strain and store in a sealed container.
The Ponche de Mezcal