Poncha da Madeira
The typical drink from Madeira ready to be consumed! Poncha is a traditional and emblematic drink from Madeira, composed of sugar cane brandy, bee honey and lemon juice.
The origin of “Poncha da Madeira” goes back to the XIX century, with the adaptation of the drink called “panche” brought from India by English travelers in the XVIII century.
This revolution has no known author or date. But everything indicates that the first “Poncha” to appear in the island is the same one that is still known today as “à pescador”, in which it was originally created by fishermen to warm themselves during the cold nights in Câmara de Lobos, the village known as “fisherman’s house”, assuming also that it was there that the first proposals using tangerine, or orange, started to appear.
Although it is typical of the Câmara de Lobos district, poncha is known and appreciated all over the island, and the offer is multiplied in the old part of Funchal, in Serra de Água, Encumeada. It was then exported to Brazil, Africa and the Caribbean, on the other side of the Atlantic.
There are also versions of poncha, either in Brazil in the form of caipirinha (made with cachaça, sugar, lime, and ice) or in Cape Verde, where it is called “grogue”.
Whatever the origin, “Poncha” is the most traditional drink in Madeira, who goes to Madeira and doesn’t drink poncha, doesn’t know a part of the culture of the pearl of the Atlantic, after all it is not only a drink, it has also become a history that goes back to the last years. But here the fame of the drink continues and some people say that this is the place where you drink one of the best ponchas in the region, accompanied, as is tradition, by peanuts and lupins.
The “Poncha” has become an emblematic product of the island, in such a way that, according to the Regulation (EC) 110/2008 of the European Parliament and Council, 15th January, it is now a product with protected geographical indication status, i.e., a drink recognized nationally as typical of Portugal, in order to protect the regional product and, above all, the local production of “rum”.
The “Poncha da Madeira” has a certain flexibility in the selection of its ingredients, being the obligatory component of the true “Poncha” the “Rum da Madeira”. The other ingredients such as honey, citrus and sugar can be modified according to individual tastes.