Poncha | Madeira Island’s Cocktail

Poncha is a traditional alcoholic drink from Madeira Island, Portugal. Poncha is made fresh with citrus juice, honey and aguardente or rum. The drink is strong and thought to cure the common cold. Give it a try.

Poncha cocktail from Madeira Island Portugal in jar next to a lemon and bottle of rum

Poncha | Madeira Island's Cocktail

Poncha is a traditional alcoholic drink from Madeira Island, Portugal. Poncha is made fresh with citrus juice, honey and aguardente or rum. The drink is strong and thought to cure the common cold. Give it a try.
(aguardente: água (“water”) +‎ ardente (“fiery”) = Fire Water!
In Madeira most of the aguardente from the region is made from sugar cane.
4.57 from 16 votes
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Portuguese
Servings 5 3oz glasses


  • 1 cup Aguardente, Cashaca or Rum
  • 2-3 tbsp honey
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange


  • Juice the lemon and orange and set aside.
  • Cut the lemon and orange peels into slices. In a large jar, muddle the peels. Add in the honey. Muddle. Add in the the arguardente (rum) and the juice of the lemon and orange. Let ingredients steep in the jar for 2-4 hours.
    mixolot poncha Madeira Island day 2 gondola cock lavada hike 9320
  • To serve, strain the peels from the liquid. Traditionally, Poncha is served chilled with no ice.
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Try this other well-known Madera cocktail.....Nikita!
Nikita cocktail from Portugal, in glass with pineapple wedge. White wine and beer bottles in background

Sao Domingos Bagaceira Aguardente

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The most unique place to get a Poncha is Calhau da Achadas da cruz.
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You need to take an extremely steep gondola ride to Achadas da Cruz.
It's one of the most beautiful places on the island. And if you're lucky you'll find this tiny "restaurant" open -Calhau da Achadas da cruz. Andréinha is the owner chef & bartender.
When you get to the bottom of the gondola. Walk along the main brick path that is by the ocean east.
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But as he walked back in a westerly direction take the path that leads inland a little bit. There you will find this hidden gem.
Poncha restaurant
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+351 969 291 185
Taberna da Poncha
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Aside from the drink this taberna is worth visiting for its quirkiness as much as its tradition of making the drink itself, which is done by hand in front of our eyes. Nestled in the stunning gorge of Serra de Agua, this very famous tavern, produces superb poncha. Park across the street.
Laje Serra De Agua Laje Ribeira Brava, Serra de Agua, Ribeira Brava, Madeira 9350-309 Portuga
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Madeira Island Pictureshttps://justcookwithmichael.com/madeira-pictures-2-july-2022/
madeira poncha espetada bolo caco 0249 espetada BBQ beef meat Madeira 12 Espetada Madeira Portugal 9

Espetada | Portuguese Beef Skewers

Poncha is a traditional cocktail from Madeira consisting of sugar cane spirit (aguardente de cana), fresh citrus juice, and honey. The drink is traditionally made with lemons, though modern variations often opt for oranges, tangerines, or other fruit.
Poncha is made by mixing lemon juice and honey and then adding aguardente. Optionally, citrus fruit can be muddled with honey, and the drink is then topped with sugar cane spirit and citrus juice. The ingredients are traditionally mixed with a wooden muddler called caralhinho or mexelote.
It is believed that Poncha originated in the 18th or 19th century and that its origin was influenced by a similar Indian drink called panche. This Indian version, whose name translates as five ingredients, probably included arrack, lemon, juice, spices, and water.The drink originated at Câmara de Lobos, but it is now enjoyed everywhere in Madeira. It is said that the Brazilian national cocktail Caipirinha was modeled on Poncha.
Production method: In addition to Rum da Madeira PGI, this liquor commonly uses other ingredients that provide unique characteristics, namely bee honey and a variety of fruits produced exclusively in the region, individually or in combination, resulting in a flavor harmony and unique tastes.
Distinctive features: Poncha da Madeira PGI is a liquor which has some flexibility with respect to the selection of its ingredients. The only required ingredient is the Rum da Madeira PGI which determines its typicality.
It is important to note that the quality of this spirit is not only on the ingredients used – which much appreciated by the people of this region and its visitors, such as the Rum da Madeira IGP, regional fruits and, in some cases, Laurissilva honey - but also on the accumulated know-how transmitted over generations. In fact, much of the quality relies on the talent of combining ingredients to obtain the traditional final product.
Production area: The geographical area of production of Poncha da Madeira PGI covers the Madeira and Porto Santo islands.
History: The Poncha da Madeira PGI is a traditional product rooted in the culture of the Madeira people, who over generations have given life to this iconic drink. Its existence goes back to the nineteenth century as an adaptation of a drink known as "panche" brought from India by the British travelers in the eighteenth century.
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Keyword cocktail, Madeira, Madeira island beef, Madeira Island Drinks, Poncha, Portuguese Cocktail, strong cocktail from Portugual
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Hello, I'm Michael!

I aspire to share recipes that you and your family can enjoy while also learning about cooking fundamentals along the way. I attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, CA and now enjoy cooking as a hobby.

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