In this version of Madeira’s signature drink, a bit of lemon zest is added to the traditional ingredients of rhum agricole, citrus juice and honey.In Ilda Marques’ words, the ingredient lends the drink a bit more “creaminess,” and it provides an additional hit of citrus tartness and aroma to counter the sweetness of the honey.
On Madeira, ponchais made exclusively with locally made white rhum agricole. This recipe was made using Branca 40 percent, made by Engenhos do Norte, a standard product on the island. In the U.S., Madeiran rum is nearly impossible to find, so look for any other unaged rhum agricole between 80 and 100 proof.
It’s also unlikely you’ll be able to find an authentic caralhinho, the wooden tool used to “whip” the drink, but a wooden spoon does the job.
In a heavy pint glass (or small glass pitcher, if making more than one drink), muddle the lemon peel and sugar, pounding and grinding until you have a uniform paste.
Add the rhum agricole, lemon juice, orange juice and honey. Holding a caralhinho (or wooden spoon) between your palms, insert it in the mixture and spin it until the ingredients are integrated and frothy.
Taste, adding more lemon juice or honey depending on the flavor of your ingredients; it should be just barely sweet followed by tart and fragrant flavors.
Strain the mixture through a sieve into a small, stemmed glass or alternatively, over ice into a tall glass.