Meet Ron Ponche, Your New Favorite Winter Cocktail

If whipping up some homemade eggnog is one of your favorite holiday traditions, then there's one cocktail that just might change your whole winter. It's called ron ponche, and it's a perfect beverage for anyone who loves sipping on something thick, sweet, and a little spicy. In Latin America, folks drink ron ponche around the holiday season instead of eggnog on los Tiempos de Navidad and Año Nuevo.

Ron ponche is essentially the Panamanian version of eggnog, but there are a few noteworthy differences. For one thing, eggnog isn't always alcoholic, but every iteration of ron ponche includes rum — the drink's name is pronounced like "rum punch," after all. While eggnog fans will likely taste major similarities to their favorite holiday drink in ron ponche, this Panamanian cocktail has plenty of other similar versions that are popular in different countries. Coquito is the Puerto Rican version of the drink, which includes coconut. Chile has Cola de Mono, Mexico has Ropope, and the Dominican Republic and Venezuela have their own version, simply called Ponche.

Ron ponche requires time and patience

Like with eggnog, there are different ways to prepare ron ponche, but most recipes combine condensed milk, egg yolks, evaporated milk, milk or cream, vanilla extract, and spices, like nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. This cocktail may not be quick or easy to whip up, but it's well worth the wait. It's cooked on low heat for around 45 minutes before being refrigerated overnight. The result is a creamy, chilled, extra-thick beverage that's perfect for a holiday party or a cold winter evening by the fire.

Ron ponche probably isn't the holiday cocktail for you if you aren't willing to put in some time, effort, and diligence. Not only does this drink require a uniquely long cooking and refrigerating process, but it needs to be stirred fairly consistently while it cooks. That said, you can make a batch ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to two days before serving, as long as you keep it sealed. Because of the spices mixed into this decadent, dessert-y drink, garnishes are the perfect cherry — or, rather, "cinnamon stick" — on top. A generous sprinkle (or stick) of cinnamon and a cheers to good health will make this cocktail complete.