Madeira poncha drink


Madeira Poncha - the island's popular cocktail

One of the best things about visiting new countries and cultures is the experience of tasting delicious typical foods and drinks and learning how they are made. For example, the traditional Madeiran poncha is an exotic drink with a special taste that practically everyone loves when they try it for the first time. 

What is Poncha?

Poncha is a drink made primarily from sugarcane liquor, sugar and lemon juice. Originally it was used to preserve lemons in pots to prevent the occurrence of scurvy in sailors during their long voyages. This syrup was then mixed with sugarcane distillate (rum) and sugarcane molasses to make the poncha mixture.

In the sixteenth century, this drink reached India and Brazil, with some variations in preparation in each location. In Brazil, for example, it was the beginning of the famous Caipirinha . Over the centuries, there have been very few variations in the mixing of ponchas in Madeira. Today, one third of molasses or sugar, one third of sugar cane liquor or Madeira rum and one third of lemon juice are usually used.

Quality control in the production of poncha

The Madeira Poncha Regulation Law of 2014 regulates both the production and trade of poncha and is intended to protect the drink as a local heritage as well as its production method. As before, the drink must contain Madeira rum in its composition. Only then will Poncha be recognized as a protected geographical indication. In addition, both the equipment and the manufacturing processes are regulated by law to preserve its original taste. These unique flavours and aromas are the result of the selected fruits used in the production of the Poncha. To make the drink as tasty as possible, the fruits must be ripe. 

Poncha recipe


2 lemons

2 oranges

1 and ½ tablespoons white sugar

Bee honey to taste

Madeira cane liquor

Near Porto da Cruz - Madeira - north coast